Multiple Furnace Fouling Removal Success at South African Petrochemical Firm

Tube Tech was contracted by an international integrated energy and chemical company in South Africa to remove fouling from five of its 10-year-old furnaces.

The Challenge

The firm was experiencing a costly drop in production as the furnaces were having to burn longer to achieve temperature. 

  • Limited access (only 500-mm x 500-mm windows) 
  • Different types of bundles (finned, serrated, and bare tubes) 
  • No personnel access possible 
The Solution

The plant was directed to Tube Tech’s Robotic Convection Bank Technology by the furnace OEM and this technology was chosen for an in-depth clean. 

The technology is globally proven to remove more fouling from heat transfer assets than any other available technology on the market. It can remove fouling from anywhere in the convection section, with arms which reach between the tubes to all levels with pinpoint accuracy. 

The four-day operation per furnace comprised of a three-strong Tube Tech team. Throughout the process, our technicians monitored the effluent and ensured furnace integrity was maintained.   

The Results
  • Primary Benefit: Design specifications restored (10% additional fresh ethane cracking capacity unlocked) 
  • Secondary benefit: 12% less waste energy (i.e., 12% more energy recovered in the convection bank) 
  • 10% to 20% decrease in stack temperatures post project 

Monetary benefits: 

  • Improvement of 1.04 tonne per hour per furnace 
  • 5 x furnaces 
  • £600 per tonne per hour per furnace. Total recouped: more than £20,000,000 GBP per year 

Tube Tech is a heat exchanger heat transfer restoration specialist. If fouled heat exchangers are impacting your process performance, contact us to increase your throughput and profit today.