In Texas City, Texas, a petrochemical plant had a 600-tube exchanger with a majority of its tubes blocked—many for over 10 years. The culprit was a core of catalyst surrounded by crystallized coke. Previous attempts to drill through the blockage had resulted in nine drill bits being lost inside. The efficiency of the entire exchanger was so poor, the plant decided to replace the unit. Then they called us.
After initial evaluation and set-up, we cleaned all 600 tubes in five hours. We found the nine missing drill bits, plus some lost brushes and stainless-steel plugs that were inside. In less than a day, the unit was back online and operating at peak efficiency. We saved our customer the $500,000 they would have spent on a new exchanger, plus thousands more in downtime, labor and installation.