Cleaning Ethylene Radiant Furnace Tubes

Pyrolysis Furnace Emergency Response

In the aftermath of an explosion caused by a leaking valve, the refinery was looking for solutions to cost-effectively come back online. “Four pyrolysis furnaces were damaged and were stopped without purging and decoking procedures. There was no possibility to clean them in a traditional way.” – said refinery’s process engineer. IGS Tube Tech was initially enlisted to inspect and clean the radiant tubes within the furnace.

Technical Expertise: Tube Inspection and Cleaning

IGS Tube Tech’s inspection utilized a steerable camera, entering through outlet flanges. This approach facilitated an internal assessment, revealing deposit types and severities.

Radiant Coil Type 1: Identified a hydro-wax deposit, complicated by water in the bottom sections. Applied a specialized cleaning process to address hydro-wax deposits, ensuring contaminant removal.
Radiant Coil Type 2: Uncovered hard coke deposits, presenting blockages and solid obstructions. Managed severe coke deposits with meticulous precision, ensuring complete removal without causing additional damage.

Additional Scope: Transfer Line Exchangers

Refinery’s general contractor has attempted to clean the TLEs as part of their scope, but were unable to effectively remove the deposits which appeared to be an iron ferrite material. IGS Tube Tech have agreed to add TLEs to their scope and developed a custom cleaning solution, targeting fouling and deposits to reinstate optimal heat exchange efficiency.

Refinery’s Process Engineer Gives Feedback After Application

“After the incident in September, IGS Tube Tech promptly addressed our refinery’s urgent needs. Within three weeks of initial contact, their team conducted a video inspection, followed by a complete cleaning team on site on the 12th of October.

Their execution was precise, tackling not only the radiant tube as part of their initial scope but also cleaning six Transfer Line Exchangers (TLEs). The entire operation concluded seamlessly by the end of October.

The team was quick and well prepared. This experience has left us thoroughly impressed, leading to our interest in further collaborations with Tube Tech on upcoming cleaning projects. Their commitment to excellence and quick problem-solving makes them a valuable partner in our pursuit of operational efficiency.”

—Refinery’s Process Engineer

Commercial Impact: Savings of Over 6 Million Dollars

Executed over a month, the cleaning operation not only averted replacements but also yielded substantial savings. IGS Tube Tech’s expertise and cost-effective cleaning solutions enabled the refinery to recover over six million dollars in replacement costs.


Conclusion: A Testament to Collaboration

This case study underscores the collaborative efforts between IGS Tube Tech and the refinery. It exemplifies the critical role of innovative cleaning solutions in overcoming unforeseen challenges, demonstrating IGS Tube Tech’s commitment to operational efficiency and engineering excellence.

Contact our team for maintenance advice within just 24 hours