BUCHEN’s cleaning specialists have developed a bespoke solution for one of their clients – an innovative, closed loop system for cleaning tube heat exchangers that is practically emission free.
The task the company was given to solve was both exciting and challenging: a vertical tube heat exchanger containing an environmentally hazardous product needed to be cleaned using a process that was safe, efficient and in line with the strictest of safety conditions – and preferably one that caused no emissions whatsoever.
The engineers at BUCHEN UmweltService’s branch in the German city of Stade approached the problem from a completely new angle and came up with the successful concept of creating a closed loop system. This automated system consists of a clever combination of cleaning and extraction processes that enables the heat exchanger to be cleaned so that there are practically no emissions. What’s more, the heat exchanger does not need to be dismantled beforehand – it can remain on site in the plant. Thanks to this new method, the operatives do not have to wear full-body hazmat suits with self-contained breathing apparatus.
An automated device with flexible lances is placed on top of the heat exchanger which is then used to clean the inside of the tube bundle. The problematic water-product mixture generated by this cleaning process is simultaneously suctioned out of the heat exchanger using a closed loop process – reducing potential air emissions to an absolute minimum.
Besides suctioning out this mixture, a vacuum is created around the whole of the heat exchanger’s lower dome further reducing the risk of gas or the product-water mixture escaping into the atmosphere. Both material streams (product mixture and exhaust air) are then fed into an exhaust air scrubber via a vacuum/cleaning unit with a water-ring air pump.
Cleaning the inside of the heat exchanger
A further advantage of this closed loop cleaning system is that it has hardly any impact on the immediate surroundings. This means that it is no longer necessary to set up scaffolding covered in tarpaulin around the heat exchanger to prevent the area from being contaminated by water spray. The time-consuming work of cleaning the surrounding area is also a thing of the past.
The BUCHEN experts are able to adapt this innovative process to suit the exact requirements of their customers
This environmentally friendly closed loop system is suitable for cleaning all types of heat exchangers – horizontal or vertical – where it is essential that the gas or water-product mixtures do not escape into the environment. The BUCHEN experts are able to adapt this innovative process to suit the exact requirements of their customers.
Extracting the mixture from the base of the heat exchanger
This automated system consists of a clever combination of cleaning and extraction processes that enables the heat exchanger to be cleaned so that there are practically no emissions. What’s more, the heat exchanger does not need to be dismantled beforehand