Restoring Efficiency in Petrochemical Heaters through Robotic Cleaning

Oleflex Unit Fouling

A leading Saudi petrochemical producer in Jubail, renowned for its commitment to innovation and sustainability, faced a challenge with three of its platforming charge heaters in the Oleflex (polypropylene) unit. An evaluation revealed that the primary issue was convection section fouling caused by the accumulation of refractory fibers and other debris.

The Solution: IGS Tube Tech Robotic Convection Section Cleaning

Recognizing the need for a reliable and efficient solution, the company sought an approach that would not only address the immediate problem but also contribute to the overall reliability and optimization of its operations while aligning with its focus on innovation and sustainability.

The petrochemical company partnered with IGS Tube Tech, a specialized robotic and field-applied industrial solutions provider. Tube Tech proposed deploying its robotic convection section cleaning ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to remove the accumulated fouling and restore the heaters’ efficiency.

Key Advantages of Robotic Fouling Removal

  1. Effective Fouling Removal

The ROV, equipped with a high-powered cleaning lance and advanced maneuverability, could effectively dislodge and remove the refractory fibers and debris from the convection sections.

  1. Improved Safety

By utilizing a remotely operated robotic system, the cleaning process eliminated the need for personnel to enter the potentially hazardous heater convection sections, enhancing overall safety.

  1. Sustainable Approach

Aligning with the company’s sustainability commitment, the robotic cleaning process generated minimal waste; the flow rate of the jetting arm is only 24-l/ min, and the flush bar is 67-l/min.


Implementation and Results

The IGS Tube Tech team carefully deployed the robotic convection section cleaning ROV, navigating through the three affected heaters. The robotic system effectively dislodged and removed the accumulated fouling, restoring the heaters’ convection sections to their design specifications.

The targeted and thorough cleaning process effectively removed 90-95% of the accumulated deposits, restoring the heaters to their design parameters, and improving overall plant performance and productivity. Furthermore, the sustainable and safe nature of the robotic cleaning solution aligned with the company’s commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.


The successful implementation of the IGS robotic convection section cleaning solution at the petrochemical company’s facility demonstrated the power of innovative and sustainable approaches to addressing complex industrial challenges. By leveraging advanced robotic technology, the company efficiently restored the efficiency of its platforming charge heaters while aligning with its strategic objectives of continuous improvement and environmental stewardship.

This case study was originally published here on the Integrated Global Services (IGS) website.

Speak with a Tube Tech professional