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Plugged Heater Tube

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Pannalal Chakraborty 11 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #4346

    coker squirrel

    We have a plugged heater tube that is plugged with tar and coke. We are trying to prepare the heater for pigging by hydroblasting the tube. We are also detergasal washing it to try to clear it of the tar. Is there a better way? Any suggestions?

  • #7798

    I suppose you are talking of more than one tubes. Does it have only plugs or does it have bends like modern DCU furncaces do ?

    Pigging is effective in case of straight tubes but faces difficulties at return bends/headers. We have earlier done turbining (a mechanical turbine operating on compressed air) and switched to steam-air decoking some twenty years back. Only problem with S/A decoking that it makes the un-opened plugs loose as well. At present some Cos. claim to clean any tube with hydrojet blasting operating on principle of hydrokinetics – basically different vibration range for metal tubes & deposits along with high pressure water jet. They claim to clean heater tubes as well along with condensers etc. I do not have any 1st hand experience with their heater cleaning. An net search with hydrokinetics may give you some direction.

    ‘Hope it helps


  • #7797


    In what you are describing you are approaching the problem in the best manner. As long as there is a plug in the tube you are unable to pig. Once there is a open passage through the furnace pass and a positive water flow has been established then pigging can commence. To remove the tar from the pass once the plug has been removed an option is to steam the unit out before pigging.

    Roman Korpus

  • #7796

    Linc Drynan

    As my good friend Roman explained, steam is a very good option, but an even more efficient method is to inject a chemical with the steam (vapor phase cleaning). This not only quicker, but breaks up any of the residual pitch that may be left in the heater. This is a good idea when preparing for ANY pigging project. Pitch / tar is the real ‘killer’ of a successful pigging operation.

    Pigging technology today is such that u-bends and plug headers ‘normally’ do not pose a problem as Chakra mentioned in an earlier posting. The only time that we have trouble negotiating plug headers is when they are of the ‘rolled’ variety, and even some of these are piggable.

    Good luck with your tube blockage issue. If we cn be of any assistance, please call.

    Linc Drynan
    Pinnacle Pigging Systems
    1-403-341-9034 (Linc cellular)

  • #7795

    coker squirrel

    I did look up hydrokinetics on the net. There is a company nearby that does this process. We are probably near completion with the hydroblasting by now but this hydrokinetic process may be a good option to look at the next time. Thanks for the advise!

  • #7760


    call chris Boase he is with ICE they should be able to help you out
    1 713 292 8265

  • #7759

    Roman Korpus

    Depending on the situation on the plugged tube there are a couple of ways to address this. If a plug header configuration the plugs can be removed. If u bend this is more difficult. Hydro Lazing, Aqua drill can be used with limitations.Last resort is to cut. Let me know if I can assist. Roman Korpus D.D.Technology Fired Heater Pigging 713-206-6112

  • #7711


    Could you let me know how effective is Decoking via Hydrokinetics Cleaning on Coker Units?

  • #5105

    zhiwen yu

    I thought you have done the best,I may have a try the idea you told above.thanks!

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