How to Prevent Fouling in Industrial Equipment?

Last Updated on by John Merrick

Fouling in a heat exchanger before cleaning and maintenance

Industrial equipment is expensive, and proper maintenance is important to keep it working properly. Part of the reason that routine maintenance is so important to industrial equipment is that it helps to prevent bacteria and other contaminants from accumulating on surfaces, a process that is referred to as fouling. Fouling in industrial equipment can cause issues for the proper function of the equipment, and time and money can be lost as equipment is completely cleaned and sanitized again. Ideally, fouling should be avoided at all costs so that equipment can function properly.

Technicians performing condenser tube cleaning using metal projectiles to clean the tubes of any scale or deposits.

Biological Fouling

When organisms grow in a liquid that runs through the condenser tubes, biological fouling can result in the growth of living contaminants being deposited onto the walls of the heat exchanger.

Corrosion Fouling

Corrosion fouling can occur when built-up fouling creates an extra layer of material. This additional layer can often be made up of thermal resistance material and may cause issues in the performance of the heat exchanger if not removed.

Deposition Fouling

Keeping the velocity of the condenser tube liquid at a proper level is extremely important in reducing the occurrence of deposition fouling, which is caused when the velocity falls to a low level.

Chemical Fouling

Chemical fouling is caused when a fouling layer forms on the surface of a condenser tube. This is typically the result of chemical changes, and the fouling that is deposited will need to be cleaned properly.

Fouling before pipe cleaning and after pipe cleaning

Preventing the Occurrence of Fouling

Fouling can be caused by design flaws or improper or irregular maintenance. Fouling that is left unchecked can cause a myriad of problems for heat exchangers and can result in costly repairs. Performing regular heat exchanger maintenance will help to reduce incidents of fouling on industrial equipment. Proper condenser tube cleaning can decrease the likelihood of issues that can arise from fouling and prevent long-term damage such as the build-up and hardening of material that is common with corrosion fouling.

Although there are many different kinds of fouling and the reasons why fouling occurs can vary greatly, scheduled cleanings can considerably reduce the likelihood that fouling will occur. Because fouling often involves the gradual build-up of debris or organisms, which have been deposited on the surface of the condenser tube, performing scheduled maintenance is an excellent way to prevent the accumulation of unwanted materials.

At The Merrick Group Inc., our professionals are highly trained to deal with issues, such as fouling. We specialize in cleaning and performing regular maintenance on industrial equipment so that it can function at peak performance. To learn more about preventing fouling and to schedule a cleaning, contact us today!

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