Top 10 Cleaning and Inspection Challenges: No. 3

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Understanding the Importance of Cleaning to IRIS Standard

Discover the most common cleaning and inspection challenges faced by refinery operators worldwide, as documented by Tube Tech. This comprehensive article sheds light on these crucial concerns and their impact on the performance of the industry.

Based on an extensive survey of 500 refinery operators, cleaning equipment to IRIS inspection standards ranks third among the most prevalent cleaning challenges. In this in-depth discussion, we will explore the significance of cleaning for IRIS inspection and its advantages in maintaining refinery integrity.

Cleaning for IRIS Inspection: Insights and Benefits

The Internal Rotational Inspection System (IRIS) is a non-destructive testing (NDT) method. It is an ultrasonic immersion pulse-echo technique known for its exceptional accuracy and sensitivity. Unlike other inspection techniques, IRIS uniquely enables the heater inspection of both ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic tubes, providing a three-dimensional depiction of defects. Furthermore, the results obtained from IRIS inspection are easier to interpret, ensuring enhanced assessment precision.

However, it’s important to note that IRIS inspection demands tubes to be meticulously clean. While other tubing inspection techniques tolerate some degree of scaling, IRIS inspection requires tubes to be cleaned almost down to the bare metal. This strict requirement has led to a recurring scenario in many refineries worldwide:

  1. Cleaning contractor performs initial cleaning of the heat exchanger in preparation for IRIS inspection.
  2. IRIS inspector discovers inadequately cleaned tubes, rendering inspection impossible.
  3. Cleaning contractor is called back to re-clean the tubes to meet the higher standards.
  4. IRIS inspector returns to re-inspect the tubes, leading to additional downtime and financial implications.
Understanding the Implications of Cleaning to IRIS Standard

At Tube Tech, we classify cleaning to meet IRIS inspection standards as “enhanced” cleaning. We recognize the criticality of achieving the desired cleanliness level during the initial attempt. By emphasizing the importance of proper tube cleaning for IRIS inspection, we aim to minimize the financial impact caused by repeated cleaning and inspections, thereby reducing downtime, and enhancing the overall efficiency of refineries.

The Challenge and Solution

Standard cleaning contractors often fall short when cleaning tubes for inspection, relying on traditional high-pressure water jetting methods that may not effectively remove deposits in every tube. The solution lies in Tube Tech’s enhanced tube cleaning service, which guarantees tube cleanliness standards suitable for IRIS inspection, regardless of the scale or deposit within the tubes.

Tube Tech’s bespoke remote control IRIS standard cleaning technology is the key to achieving these results. It allows for drilling, descaling, polishing, and flaw detection of tubes, even through the smallest diameter manway or nozzle. With access to manways and nozzles positioned at right angles to the tube sheet on the fully welded header, Tube Tech can achieve a bare metal clean, surpassing industry standard.

The benefits of Tube Tech’s IRIS cleaning service go beyond cleanliness alone. As a North American turnaround block coordinator points out:

“The efficiency and effectiveness of Tube Tech’s approach eliminate the need for rework, saving both time and money.

“Unlike on-site cleaning processes that often require repeated cleaning and additional resources, Tube Tech gets it right the first time. This translates to significant cost savings, not only for the cleaning company but also for all the other resources involved in the cleaning activity.”

Tube Tech takes pride in offering a guaranteed Enhanced Tube Cleaning service, ensuring tube bore cleanliness that meets the requirements of IRIS inspection. Trust in Tube Tech’s expertise and innovative cleaning technology for exceptional results every time.

Contact our team today to see how you could benefit from this service.