Boiler tube cleaning is one area, in particular, where the automated technologies that we use here at Thompson Industrial Services have made a fundamental change in maintenance downtime. The biggest reason for this is the incredible difficulty of cleaning boiler tubes that are irregular in any way—that is, bent, warped, heavily plugged, or difficult to reach—using manual equipment. But manipulating cleaning equipment with remotely controlled robotic positioners instead eliminates many of the difficulties, as a recent successful project illustrates:
Thanks for the Referral!
The more clients we serve, the more the word gets around about the power, creativity, and speed of our industrial services teams. It’s always a special privilege when a company we’ve worked with in the past recommends us to a new client, and that’s what happened at a South Carolina automotive parts manufacturer. The plant needed to accomplish extensive maintenance on a boiler, which was inhibited in large part by heavily plugged and damaged boiler tubes. A service provider working on the project had worked with Thompson Industrial Services in the past, and they recommended that the plant have one of our teams come in and accomplish the necessary, long-overdue boiler tube cleaning. Fortunately, the plant managers took the advice and gave us a call to see what we could do.
|Our boiler tube indexing system is incredibly fast—and incredibly accurate.|
A Difficult Situation
To start with, the boiler tube cleaningwould require a lot of power. The tubes were severely plugged and dirty, suffering from the buildup of tough scale that was restricting flow and diminishing the equipment’s efficiency. As in many cases, access to the boiler tubes was very difficult, requiring technicians to work in a confined space. This is where the automated approach of Thompson Industrial Services really shines. For the first step of the boiler tube cleaning process, inspecting and indexing the tubes, our team used our remote control camera system, allowing them to get a clear picture of the situation extremely quickly, without having to obtain confined entry permits and have a technician work under difficult conditions.
Speed and Accuracy
The speed of the camera inspection was just the beginning. Our team then put our automated boiler tube cleaning technology to work, removing the toughest scale deposits with incredible speed and accuracy. One of the most valuable benefits of our system is the fact that we use flexible lances, which are able to easily clean boiler tubes that are warped or bent. Many of these tubes spend years or decades without being cleaned, because manually manipulated rigid lances cannot reach past a certain point along a warped tube’s length.
When the plant managers saw the results of our team’s boiler tube cleaning work, they were very happy with them, to say the least. In the past, a project of this scale would have required several shifts of work, with five or six technicians working on each shift. Even then, if some of the boiler tubes were irregular in shape, 100% cleaning could not be guaranteed. The team from Thompson Industrial Services was able to accomplish the project with 100% removal of debris in all boiler tubes, and they were able to do it in just over one shift. The total time needed for the project was reduced by 30-40%, which meant a much shorter downtime requirement for the client’s equipment. Finally, because the equipment our team used was fully automated, only three technicians were needed on a shift, as opposed to the typical five or six. The reduced personnel, shortened downtime, and complete boiler tube cleaning all combined to save the client a large amount of money compared with other cleaning options.
Thompson Industrial Services: The Boiler Tube Cleaning Experts
At Thompson Industrial Services, we have been accomplishing boiler tube cleaning, boiler chemical cleaning, and other specialized tasks for decades. Our focus on automation has saved downtime and money for clients across the country, and we continue to enjoy recommendations from those satisfied clients to new contacts that have similar issues in their facilities. We hope you will get in touch with us for fast, accurate, and safe industrial services from aerial drone inspection to in-situ SCR catalyst component cleaning, as well as safe pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation.