Productivity and Savings in the Operation of Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers in process industries and refineries use a significant proportion of the total energy consumed in the plant, reaching 50% or more in some cases. Interference in heat transfer caused by fouling of heat exchanger tubes is the main reason for plant downtime, increased energy consumption, arbitrary greenhouse gas emissions, and higher maintenance and operating expenses.

Fouling in industrial processes

Fouling is accumulated in the interior of heat exchanger fluxes when the cooling fluid experiences a thermal shock. As fluid temperature increases, disolved solids contained in the fluid get deposited in the internal surface of the pipes. Heat exchangers are affected in two ways:

  1. The fouling layer has low thermal conductivity. This increases the resistance to heat transfer and affects the operation of heat exchangers, resulting in a decrease in the efficiency and productivity of the process.
  2. As deposition occurs, it reduces the diameter of the cross section through which the fluid passes, causing a pressure drop across the device resulting in increased energy consumption and wear of machinery.

Costs Due to Fouling

  1. Additional costs of energy (fuel or electricity) consumed by compressors, motors, furnaces, and boilers to overcome the low heat transfer effected by the accumulation of fouling.
  2. Production losses during the planned plant shutdowns for cleaning of buildup.
  3. Maintenance costs – According to researchers Pritchard and Thackery of the Harwell Laboratories in England, approximately 15% of maintenance costs of a process plant can be attributed to the heat exchangers and boilers, and of these, half are probably caused by fouling.
  4. Capital expenditures, which include:
  • Investment in the excess heat transfer surface required to maintain a minimum average productivity (10-50%, averaging around 35%).
  • Investing in stronger foundations and additional space.
  • Costs of transportation and installation.

Automatic On-line Cleaning of Heat Exchangers

The most effective solution to optimize the operation of heat exchangers and achieve a prolonged economic life is to keep them clean of fouling.

CQM provides automated solutions that operate on-line for constant cleaning of heat exchangers, ensuring their efficient operation and keeping them clean of deposits and incrustations at all times, without unwanted stoppages in their operation and without the need of chemicals.

Satisfied Customers

CQM’s patented, environmentally friendly and low maintenance technology, provides the most efficient fouling cleaning solution for energy consumption optimization. Thousands of CQM installations around the world benefit users with significant savings in energy and with environment friendly solutions that prevent the use of chemicals in the operation and maintenance of their plants.

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Benefits of Automatic On-line Cleaning

  • Increased productivity of process machinery.
  • Significant energy savings.
  • Drastic reduction of time lost in stoppages / suspension of operations.
  • Reduction of maintenance costs.
  • Ecological solution that does not require handling and disposal of chemicals.
  • Return on inverstment in just a few months.


One-pass and recircula-
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