Abstract

A heat exchanger is a critical component in oil and gas process. The proper performance of shell and tube heat exchangers within a process can affect the cost of the final product, or even the production rate. Unfortunately, heat exchangers are prone to fouling caused by fluids flowing within and over the tubes, and the reduction in heat transfer that results, almost invariably has an impact on production cost. To reduce this impact, heat exchanger performance should be intelligently monitored and the tube cleaning is required to remove fouling and increase the heat exchanger performance. The existing tube cleaning method is Manual Water Jet Cleaning. Generally the Manual Water Jet Cleaning requires an operator to manually feed the nozzle. Holding on to a hose while high pressure water rushes through it can lead to operator fatigue over time and there is a risk to operator controlling the high pressure water jet near the water blasting and it can be time-consuming because there is only one nozzle to clean one tube at a time.

Robots have served in various industries for many years, but now the science of robot is developing at such a rapid pace that robots have become far more diverse, infinitely smarter and are being used in ways that we would not have dreamt possible as few years ago, especially in the offshore oil and gas industries. In keeping with modern trends, the team has developed the heat exchanger cleaning method through the application of the Robot system. The system can clean 3 tubes simultaneously, providing the highest level of productivity. Robot also provides the most protection and comfort to the operator because the lateral movements of the flexible hoses and the vertical movements of Robot can be controlled remotely. The original design of the Robot structure cannot be installed at the offshore location because of the limited area. Therefore the team has had an innovative idea to redesign the Robot structure in order to extend the cleaning space by mounting it on the scaffolding. This is a new structural design for oil and gas offshore operation.

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