Combined Service Extracts Huge Volumes of Coke At Refinery in Turkey

11 April 2024

Cokebusters operators have just returned from the İzmit Refinery in Turkey, where they successfully delivered a combined service on a large 8 pass heater with tubes ranging from 4″ to 10″.  Having not been cleaned in five years, the heater was heavily fouled and our skilled team worked very hard pulling out 6m3 of fine fouling, including a heavy amount of exceptionally large pieces of coke with individual piece sizes at 70mm and larger in cases.

Cokebusters mechanical cleaning extracts large pieces of coke at Turkish refinery

The Challenge of Carbonisation
Occasionally when coke is left lining a tube wall for a prolonged period carbonisation can occur, meaning the coke becomes harder than the metal itself.  When this happens it makes thorough cleaning almost impossible and it is usually considered best practice to replace that length of tube.  There were isolated areas in this heater where carbonisation had occurred and so our expert operators deemed that to continue the mechanical cleaning process in these areas would risk damage to the tubes.  This emphasises the importance of including mechanical decoking as a regular part of a furnace maintenance program.

Locating Obstructions in the Tube
Whilst our operators were carrying out their work, the client informed us that a competitor had experienced problems on a 4″ pass on a separate heater, with multiple pigs becoming stuck.  Despite these repeated challenges that contractor had ensured the client there were no restrictions.  Our operators were able to locate the restriction and share its exact location with the client immediately.  It was a mule ear/deflector plate which had been installed in the incorrect orientation.  The client appreciated this information as it gave them an opportunity to rectify the problem and in doing so improve their own process efficiencies going forward.

The Benefits of Combined Service
Using our trademark combined service of mechanical cleaning and piping inspection, our team was able to highlight areas which required additional attention to target and clean the stubborn fouling from each pass.

Our patented intelligent tools are not only deployed to routinely inspect the whole system after mechanical cleaning has been completed.  The data they deliver enables our operations teams to then redeploy the mechanical pigs to concentrate specifically on those areas which have been identified as having patches of stubborn fouling.  This alternation between mechanical scraper pigs and intelligent pigs with no downtime is unique to the Cokebusters combined service and ensures the best possible cleaning service for our clients.

Cokebusters combined service pigs for mechanical cleaning and piping inspection

Overall this was a challenging job with a successful outcome.  The client was very pleased with the Cokebusters service they received and we look forward to working with Tupraş again soon!