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Boiler tube cleaning equipment to the rescue

Boilers have to be cleaned regularly to keep power plants and other equipment operating efficiently because ash build-up forms slag deposits on the boiler tubes, acting like a layer of insulation, says local high-pressure jetting equipment manufacturer Werner Pumps MD Sebastian Werner.

More fuel is required to get the boilers up to temperature and produce the same output. It also results in higher carbon dioxide emissions because of the additional fuel use.

Werner says boilers use fuel to heat up and create steam – if the tubes are not cleared of the build-up, it will require more fuel to be burned to achieve the same result.

Werner Pumps is supplying trailer-mounted, high-pressure cleaning equipment to help power utilities and their contractors, among others, to keep their boiler tubes in peak working condition.

Werner says the equipment has proven to be successful at mines and in the manufacturing sector, with the 1 000 bar and 1 200 bar V8 trailer units ideally suited to scale and slag build-up cleaning applications.

Water pressure jet cleaning is also used for condenser applications, and often used in underground mines. Owing to the high-volume pumps and jets, with relation to size, the company can reach the full distance of the boiler tubes.

Scale deposits on firetubes are often worsened by the burning of lower-quality fuels or by incinerating materials that do not burn cleanly such as medical waste incineration applications.

Therefore, it is important to clean tubes regularly for optimum heat transfer, he adds.

Werner Pumps’ units can be ordered in either an electric or diesel version, which offers flexibility for customers. They can also be skid-, trolley- or trailer-mounted, depending on customer requirements.

The company also stocks a range of specialist nozzles to ensure that it provides the best solution for each specific application, Werner enthuses.

The same type of equipment can also be used to clean the rubber lining of pipelines, while the larger 2 800 bar Werner Pumps unit is ideal for paint- and rust-removal applications.

During a recent cleaning operation at Hendrina power station, in Mpumulanga, the boiler tubes were more than 9 m long, with an inside diameter of about 23 cm. Werner says the company’s units were able to run for more than 20 hours at a time, for what is known as ‘online cleaning’, which is cleaning while the boiler is in operation.

Although this is a delicate operation, there is no downtime for the plant.

“We were glad to hear from the contractor that Werner Pump’s equipment, which is 100% locally manufactured, was able to run longer and more efficiently than similar equipment available on the market that they had been using.”