Important Maintenance Services for Exchangers

May 10, 2016

At many industrial facilities, heat exchangers are a vital piece of equipment. They are used both for heating and cooling in different industrial processes and help industrial worksites to operate more efficiently. They are also crucial for safety. For this reason, it is very important to ensure that heat exchangers remain in good working order at all times. Regular maintenance, occasional repair and retubing services, as well as full scale replacements and installation of new exchangers when necessary, are crucial.

Complete Retubing and Repair of Heat Exchangers

The tubes in a heat exchanger are used to transfer and cool fluids, making them one of the most important components of the equipment. Sometimes tubes will become damaged and require repairs. Other times, tubing may suffer from pitting, wall loss, or leaks so damaging that they prevent repair of the existing tubes. Once this occurs, the heat exchanger will need to have a complete retubing. Retubing not only extends the life of the equipment, but also improves performance.

Repairing the Cooling System in Heat Exchangers

The cooling system on a heat exchanger consists of several components, including the transfer line exchanger (TLX), fin fans, condensers and chillers. Each of these components must be in good working order for a heat exchanger to remain safe and effective. TLXs are used to cool very hot gas very quickly in extremely harsh conditions. Despite advanced technology, the transfer line exchanger system is prone to corrosion that will build up and damage the equipment over time. Proper maintenance eases this problem and keeps the TLX in peak working condition. Fin fans are used to cool the hot tubes, but are not safe or effective when not properly maintained to ensure no loose pieces. Condensers, which change gases to liquids within the exchanger, require regular maintenance, as do the chillers, which use water as a cooling medium. Proper maintenance of chillers ensures they keep the water temperature low enough to cool the medium without freezing the water.

Bundle Extracting for Heat Exchangers

As with any heavy machinery or equipment used on industrial worksites, sometimes heat exchangers must be cleaned. The most effective way to do this is through the process of bundle extracting. Most common is tube bundle extraction, which is performed on a turnaround or during a shutdown. The process must be quick and efficient in order to minimize downtime and prevent stalling productivity. Some bundle extractors require cranes to use properly, but it is becoming more common to see truck-mounted bundle extractors. These extractors save time and money by eliminating the need to rent cranes and makes the process of cleaning heat exchangers less complicated overall.

Heat Exchangers Ferrule Replacement

Ferrules are tube inserts for heat exchangers that protect the tubes from receiving damage due to turbulence created by hot fluids moving through them. Ferrules are vital for worksites who wish to remain as productive as possible. Ferrules can be made of thick metal, ceramic or epoxy coatings. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and will depend on the type of liquids the plant or refinery works with. For example, ceramic is known to perform very well in very high temperatures, but could break when transferring certain types of liquids. Over time, ferrules will deteriorate like any other component. Ferrule replacement ensures the heat exchanger remains safe and productive.

Bolt Torqueing and Stud Tensioning on Heat Exchangers

All heavy machinery requires proper torque for the bolts and other small pieces to hold the equipment together and heat exchangers are no exception. Bolt torquing, the process of fastening and securing bolts using the correct torque, should be done regularly in order to ensure proper tension and to prevent leakage. Stud tensioning is similar to bolt torqueing in that it is the process of fastening and securing stud bolts in order to prevent leakage. However, stud tensioning is more of an automated process resulting in a higher degree of accuracy.

An industrial plant or refinery that wishes to remain productive and safe for everyone working in the area must hire a professional company they can count on to perform routine maintenance and inspections on all heat exchangers.