Rover Restores Primary Reformer Convection Section Efficiency


Tube Tech was contracted by a fertiliser production plant based in Holland.

The convection section of its SMR/ Primary Reformer Furnace was heavily fouled as it had never before been cleaned and fouling was affecting efficiency.

Tube Tech was able to implement its innovative ROV fouling removal system to penetrate and clean deep between each tube row whilst causing no refractory damage. We were able to access 95% of the surface area of the asset, restoring stack temperatures and removing more than 90% of fouling.

Efficiency of the assets dramatically improved leaving the client very satisfied with the results.

The Challenge

A fertiliser production plant in Holland was suffering from heavy fouling of the convection section of its Primary Reformer Furnace. The outlet stack temperature was running at 170 degrees Celsius, 30 degrees above the design stack temperature figures, due to the level of fouling present.

The asset had never been cleaned before, so the client called upon Tube Tech to resolve the issue after previous impressive cleaning results on other assets at the plant. After careful planning and consultation, a date to commence cleaning was set.

The Solution

Tube Tech mobilised four teams of cleaning specialists. Two teams worked during the day and two at night to complete the job within 48 hours. To remove the build-up of fouling and restore the primary reformer convection section efficiency, the teams used the innovative ROV cleaning system; a semi-autonomous rover and lance that is pre-programmed with the dimensional data of the asset and can access more than 90% of the surface area to be cleaned.

The patented ROV system is the only technology able to penetrate deep between each tube row and guarantee to remove more than 90% of fouling. Deposits were successfully removed from the tube surfaces, within the allocated time and within budget.

The Benefit

Our unique rover system can access areas that traditional cleaning methods simply cannot. The level of fouling present was the result of years’ of debris build-up which had a negative impact on the stack temperature and the ultimate productivity of the asset. Left uncleaned, the fouling would have cost the plant millions of euros in lost revenue over the course of a year.

We are proud to report that the stack temperatures have been restored to design efficiency and the client is delighted with the results. CO2 emissions have also reduced as less fuel is being burnt to produce the same results.

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



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