Unblocking, Cleaning and Inspection of Texas Tower VCFE (Vertical Combined Feed Exchangers) - Tube & Shell Side

The Texas Tower / Vertical Combined Feed Exchanger (VCFE) is an unsung hero of many refineries and due to its innovative design it rarely causes concern to those involved in maintenance/asset management.

Texas Towers are designed as a relatively ‘clean’ exchangers and are often only cleaned once every 7-10 years – some have been in operation for longer without showing a noticeable decrease in performance. When the performance starts to drop it is usually a gradual process which goes largely unnoticed to begin with but can then become a real problem.

As VCFE/Texas Towers are designed not to foul and they are cleaned infrequently operators can be unsure of who to ask for advice on the best cleaning methods as standard cleaning contractors will rarely have cleaned a Texas Tower/VCFE.

Challenges faced by those cleaning VCFE/Texas Towers include fouling location, unknown deposit characteristics, accessibility, safety, associated costs,etc. Since Texas Towers / VCFE are cleaned so infrequently it is essential that when they are taken off line for cleaning they are cleaned fast, safely and most importantly effectively with the “right methods and technologies” to suit their specific design.

Tube Tech has cleaned both the tube and shell side of many Texas Towers/VCFEs across the world and is able to provide solutions to the most difficult cleaning challenges.

Please review our case studies which highlight a selection of our numerous successful VCFE cleaning experiences.

For all Texas Tower / Vertical Combined Feed Exchanger (VCFE) cleaning enquiries please contact us using the form below.

VCFE / Texas Tower Shell and Tube Side Cleaning, France The deposits removed from the shell and tube sides were shown to contain a great deal of iron oxide and heavy hydrocarbons. The shell and tube side clean has seen a dramatic improvement in the heat transfer rate between the two vertical combined feed/effluent exchangers.

Operations Engineer

Exxon Mobil

This is exactly what we were looking for, the DP on the exchanger with the heater circuit is 20 lbs. Which would put the exchanger at around 10 lbs. We appreciate the good work you and your crew did for us and are very pleased with the results. You saved us. It was incredible when you calculate that you cleaned about 60 miles of tube.

Holly Frontier

Texas Towers 25m vertical exchanger: IRIS Standard Tube Polishing and Inspection. Including unblocking and descaling When you do IRIS testing and you do it the first time and there is no rework then there is no added cost. You have made your mark here.

Turnaround Block Coordinator


VCFE / Texas Tower Cleaning, Dominican Republic We planned the clean of the Texas Tower carefully to minimise downtime, but we did not expect the number of tubes that were found to be constricted or blocked when the exchanger was opened. Once support services had finished modifying the scaffolding and supplies to Tube Tech’s requirements, cleaning progress was very good. Tube Tech showed great resourcefulness in adapting to the situation. Our VCFE was cleaned and inspected to production standard without overrunning the shutdown period.

Turnaround Co-ordinator


The service they provide, in my opinion, is second to none. Technically and technologically Mr Watson’s knowledge surpasses any company I have personally come into contact with that supply this kind of service.

To stay ‘ahead of the game’ Tube Tech invest well in the latest technology to be able to supply a service which, to the refiner, is more cost effective as the equipment they use is better than the competition’s at providing the desired results.

I have personally used Tube Tech over many years on long term contracts for both hands on cleaning and consultation services and find them efficient, reliable and knowledgeable.

Specialist Engineer


Case Studies

Read our latest case studies to find out how we use our unique cleaning solutions and specialist knowledge to tackle some of the world’s toughest fouling challenges.

5 days Rapid Clean Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) in Philippines via Narrow Access

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Texas Tower (VCFE Catalytic Reformer) Tube Side Clean in Germany

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) Cleaning Improves Heat Transfer In Saudi Arabia

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) Cleaning Time Reduced by 75% in France

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) x2 Combined Feed and Effluent Exchangers Cleaned Shell and Tube Side

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) Drilled From Below in Dominican Republic

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Texas Tower Mechanical Drilling of Vertical VCFE Texas Tower Tubes

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) Mechanical External Shell Side Cleaning – World First!

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Remote Technology Clears Severely Blocked Tubes in the Far East

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Three Days. Three Texas Towers. No Problem for TTIL.

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Texas Tower (VCFE Platformer) Tube Side Clean in Holland

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Send us your enquiry below and a Tube Tech International specialist will respond within 24 hours. Regardless of your industry sector or severity of fouling, we will have a solution to deliver guaranteed results.