Condensers in chillers consist of many tubes for cooling and condensing the exhaust steam. Due to its heated surface, dissolved hardness in the cooling water ends up as scaling and fouling on the condenser tubes. These deposits reduce the ability of heat to transfer from the condenser tubes to the cooling water. As a result, the cooling system’s capacity decreases and reduces the chiller’s efficiency.

Why is condenser tube cleaning important?

Clean condenser tubes and effective heat transfer are essential for the condenser temperature, pressure, and overall efficiency of the cooling system. To ensure the optimum heat transfer through the condenser tubes, suitable measures and regular maintenance cycles must be added to minimize the extent of fouling. That’s why condenser tube cleaning is an essential part of keeping your chillers unit running as efficiently as possible.

What are the best methods for condenser tube cleaning?

Up until now, chemical-based water treatment was used to minimize these buildups and other scaling problems, but the difference was minimal. Even though the makeup water was softened and cycles of concentration (CoC) were kept low, deposits and blockages still accumulated in the condenser tubes. Additionally, there was always a concern over the use of hazardous treatment chemicals, and the plant still faced difficulties in treating some of the chemicals used and discharged in the blowdown.

Most modern technology used today for round-the-clock cleaning of condenser tube cleaning is our Automatic Tube Cleaning System (ACCS). This automatic method of cleaning heat exchanger tubes occurs while the equipment remains in operation and full production. It also eliminates downtime while optimizing energy utilization of water-cooled heat exchangers, including chillers.

What is an automatic tube cleaning machine?

This is an automatic tube cleaning machine that infuses some slightly oversized elastomer balls periodically to the condenser tubes and keeps the tubes free of fouling 24×7. A ball collector is fitted at the water piping from the condenser to collect the balls for re-circulation in the system. With this ball trapping technology, there is absolutely no need for system shutdown for descaling and as a result, the chiller operates at top performance and efficiency.

How does condenser cleaning balls work?

Condenser cleaning balls technology in an automatic tube cleaning machine is the process started by injecting the balls from the ACCS ball collector to the mainline connected with a heat exchanger. ACCS balls travel along the mainline to reach the condenser’s main header. The balls are randomly distributed across the condenser tubes, automatically keeping heat exchanger tubes perpetually free from effects of scaling and particulate fouling.

The system water pushes the ball through the tubes and these balls clean up any residual like scale, dirt, or biofilms attached to the tube before they have a chance to stick to the tube walls. Once the balls exit the condenser they are collected in the uniquely designed ball trap that does not allow balls to escape. The controller directs the collection valves to open and the balls are pushed back to the ball collector where they are rinsed well and wait for the next cycle to start.

The entire cycle takes less than three minutes and cycles are programmed to take place automatically every 20 to 30 minutes. The process assures that fouling does not develop on the internal tubes allowing optimization of the heat transfer process, as a result, the heat exchanger operates at top performance, contributing to the prevention of unnecessary energy loss and low total-cost-of-use.

Conclusion

The growing environmental effects of global warming demand more green technologies to ensure the efficient operation of HVAC systems in the years ahead. This calls for the maintenance of condenser performance since condensers have an enormous impact on power generation efficiency and with our automatic tube cleaning machine, we can help you mitigate or reduce the negative impact and loss of production due to fouling and scaling.