All sugar factories around the world face the same challenge in cleaning their big heat exchangers. The most used heat exchangers in sugar industry consists of 500 – 2.000 tubes with a diameter of approx. 1 inch and 5 -7 meters length.
During the production process, these tubes get more and more clogged due to the deposits of the fluid running through it. If not cleaned within the right time, the tubes will be completely blocked. But even before they are completely blogged, the thermal efficiency decreases dramatically resulting in an excessive increase of energy needed to keep the process going. Obviously the production output will decrease dramatically due to narrow, or even worth, completely blocked tubes.
A very common way to clean these tubes is by using chemicals to soften the scale and then use rotating brushes or drilling bits to remove the material deposited in the tube. This procedure is very time consuming: approx. 2 -3 days per heat exchanger. That is one of the reasons why a lot of sugar mills only take time to clean the heat exchangers during the annual maintenance breakdown. This is normally after the production season and results in cleaning the heat exchanger only once a year.
As far as the scale can be found in the tubes after a few days of production already the production efficiency will drop within a few days. If only 50% of the tubes are completely blocked, production turnout will be much less than 50% due to the fact, that the thermal efficiency has been dramatically reduced by the first thin layer of debris inside the tubes.
To avoid this drop of efficiency, regular (much more often than once a year) cleaning with a KAMAT high pressure system only using water, is a more and more popular and efficient way to solve this problem. In addition production costs will decrease as less energy is needed to heat tubes with clean surfaces.
With a KAMAT high pressure system, supplying 30 – 50 l/min and creating a pressure of 900 – 1000 bar, about 3.000 tubes can be cleaned within a day, if the scale is not too thick already. Even complete blocked tubes can be cleaned with water pressure only. To prevent the scale from getting to thick, cleaning should be done every three to five weeks, depending on the individual production process
We often hear the argument, that cleaning once a month is not possible due to running production and waste of turnout result. We feel and it is easy to calculate, when running a heat exchanger for 28 days with high efficiency you don’t waste anything compared to running a dirty heat exchanger for 30 days with an efficiency of only 60 – 80% or even less after two or three month without cleaning.
Besides the advantage in production turnout you also have to take into account, that the quality of the tubes will not be harmed by cleaning with water. When cleaning with rotating brushes or drilling bits, you will always cause little scratches within the tube. As a result of this scratches, the next scale will appear much faster and is much more difficult to remove. Besides that, also the lifetime of the tube and the complete heat exchanger will decrease massively. Tubes can be damaged by the drills/brushes. These tubes must be blocked to keep the heat exchanger running. But less tubes means less efficiency and more energy usage
By using chemicals you also have another work step after cleaning is done. The complete heat exchanger has to be flushed with water to make sure all parts of the chemicals are washed away.
At the end, by using water instead of chemicals you can do a lot to protect the environment and protect the health of your employees!
The KAMAT high pressure cleaning system can also be used in many other areas of a sugar mill! During the annual maintenance period a lot of pipes and tubes have to be cleaned and also storage tanks, silos or even the crusher for the sugar cane and other parts of the machinery has to be derusted and descaled!
HOCHDRUCK Machinery and Spares as local distributor of high-pressure technology by KAMAT GmbH & Co. KG is only one phone call away!