Gulf Coast Chemical Plant Turnaround Performed Touch Free

Port Arthur Turnaround


Automated Solution Protected Workers and Increased Productivity
A major chemical processing customer with global operations scheduled a five-year turnaround at its facility in Texas. Fifty heat exchangers (the equivalent of 600,000 tubes) were scheduled for cleaning, and as the site-based industrial service provider, Veolia was given a four-week period to complete the work.

In the final stages of turnaround planning, Veolia was challenged to deliver cleaning activities with 100% Touch Free technologies to help the plant comply with a new corporate mandate. This would be the first time that automated cleaning technologies would be used at this plant. There was also a very small footprint to work within, since the entire plant was down for its five-year turnaround. 


Drawing from its 20-year working relationship with this facility, the Veolia team proposed two of the company's proprietary Touch Free hydroblasting technologies.

The units would be used to clean the heat exchanger faces and exteriors with water pressure and GPM rates significantly higher than manual methods. They would be used to remotely lance the 600,000 exchanger tubes. The combination of these technologies could achieve the standard of cleanliness the customer requires on its exchangers, while working within the tight space constraints of the cleaning area.

In total, there were six eight crews assigned to the project, and these teams worked around the clock for two weeks to complete the job.

Because of different labor rules for contractors using automated technologies, Veolia was able to reduce the required manpower for the project from three employees per crew down to two employees per crew. Even with a smaller team, the turnaround cleaning work was completed in just two weeks, compared to the four weeks it had historically taken using manual cleaning methods. The faster cleaning pace helped keep the turnaround from going into critical path scheduling and opened up additional room and time for other contractors to work.

Ultimately, running the technologies resulted in a highly effective and more consistent cleaning of the exchangers, and required 30% less manpower to accomplish the project. Veolia's automated solution saved this customer two weeks in turnaround time and reduced the total cost of the exchanger cleaning by $1.2 million in time and labor.

“Using Veolia's Touch Free technologies resulted in a highly effective turnaround that saved this customer two weeks in turnaround time and reduced their hard costs by $1.2 million.”  - Regional Sales Manager


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