Heat exchanger maintenance procedure

What is a heat exchanger ?

A heat exchanger is an apparatus where the exchange of heat energy occurs between two different fluids at different temperatures.
The most used  is what is known as “tubular beam and cloak exchanger“, as its large surface structure allows to exchange large quantities of heat.
This type of exchanger has a cylindrical shape, formed by a container called the mantle, where a bundle of tubes passes through each of them, both of which are crossed by the fluids.

The most common malfunction is called Fouling.

Fouling is the deposit of solid material inside the pipes, transported by fluids or precipitation products such as limestone, this clogging of the pipes leads to a reduction in the heat transfer coefficient and in conclusion a worse performance of the exchanger itself.
heat exchanger fouling

What to do?

Periodically maintain a heat exchanger maintenance.

What is the maintenance of the heat exchanger ?

Maintenance consists in cleaning the bundle of inner tubes and the outer cleaning of the cloak.

The maintenance procedure is carried out in three phases:

  1. extraction 
  2. transport
  3. cleaning
  4. insertion

1 – extraction procedure

The bundle extractor or bundle puller consists in extracting the exchanger from its shell through the
Ad hoc machines, called aerial tube bundle extractor having a variable pull power, depending on the size of the exchanger itself.

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heat exchanger extraction

2 – transport procedure

The transport procedure can be carried out in two different ways, depending on the height where the exchanger is located.
For large heights the transport will be carried out first by using cranes and later with ad hoc called straddle carrier cars, for lower heights it would be enough to use truck mounted or self propelled.

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self propelled

self propelled

straddle carrier

straddle carrier

truck mounted

truck mounted

3 – cleaning procedure

The cleaning process of the tube bundles consists of the pulp of the same thanks to robots that wash away the deposits both internally and externally, through high pressure jet jets.

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4 – insertion procedure

The insertion of the bundle consists in re-inserting the exchanger into its own shell through the aerial bundle extractor  themselves after the cleaning phase.