US 2685293 A
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Aug. 3, 1954 Filed Dec. 31, 1948 E. E. DAUPHINEE ETAL APPARATUS FOR CLEANING TUBE BUNDLES 2 Sheets-Sheet l FIdvf Enna E'. Daaphzlneen Stanley V. dnerzbrzg big/LU, Gttorneg Bru/enter Aug' 3, 1954 E. E. DAUPHINEE 'x-:T Ar. 2,685,293
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING TUBE BUNDLES Filed Dec. 31, 1948 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 E'rzna EDGU hLnee Stanley V. Gnabringnventors 225 (ZU, Gtbrornec Patented Aug. 3, 1954 UNITED STATE APPARATUS FOR CLEANING TUBE BUNDLES ration of Delaware Application December 31, 1948, Serial No. 68,492
This invention relates to a novel method and apparatus for cleaning the exterior surfaces of a plurality of tubes arranged in the form of tube bundles.
Groups of tubes arranged as bundles are frequently used in chemical manufacturing processes. For example, heat exchangers are frequently made up of many tubes conveniently positioned in the form of bundles. Again, reaction zones are frequently made up of tube bundles so that catalysts, or liquid reactants may circulate within the tubes and so that cooling, or heating media may be circulated on the outside of the tubes. In all the applications of tube bundles it is desirable to maintain the exterior surface of the tubes as free of deposits and scales as possible. This is true for the reason that tube bundles are used to secure heat exchange through the tubes so that it is important to maintain the surfaces of the tubes as clean as possible in order to realize the optimum heat transfer coefficients. In accordance with this invention, therefore, improved means are disclosed for periodically cleaning the exterior surfaces of tube bundles of the character indicated.
As indicated, it is important in maintaining tube bundles in the best operating condition, to periodically clean these bundles to free them of incrustations, or deposits. These deposits may vary widely in character dependent upon the particular fluid which is circulated around the tubes. For example, in a heat exchanger employing cooling water on the exterior side of the tubes, the deposits encountered may be due to foreign material carried in the water, or may be due to the deposition of salts from the Water, crystallized out on the tubes as the result of the contact of the water with the hot surfaces of the tubes. Again, if an oil is circulated around the outer part of a tube bundle, deposits of carbonaceous material may form on the tubes, or resin-like materials may be precipitated on the tubes, In any case the problem of cleaning deposits from tube bundles is best attacked by using mechanical means to scrub the deposits from the tubes. This is true for the reason that the deposits ordinarily encountered in any given application vary suinciently in chemical characteristics as to resist ready removal by any given solvent or groups of solvents. Consequently, it has heretofore been the practice to manually brush, or rub deposits from the tubes of a tube bundle with or without the use of auxiliary solvents or uids such as water, or steam. The present methods for cleaning tube bundles are particularly characterized by rather slow, tedious manual operations.
In accordance with this invention, it has been discovered that the deposits commonly encountered on tube bundles may successfully be removed by causing a high pressure jet of uid to impinge on the tubes from all angles. Thus, for example, it has been discovered that a jet of Water obtained by forcing the Water through relatively small perforations under high pressures (of the order of 500 to 2000 lbs., per square inch) will serve to substantially scrub, or remove deposits from tube bundles. This method of cleaning a tube bundle is particularly facilitated by the apparatus herein disclosed which makes it possible to utilize a comparatively small number of jets to eifectively clean the surfaces of large tube bundles. The apparatus of this invention is provided with means to support the tube bundle and cleaning jets so as to permit a combination of ro'- tational, transverse, and longitudinal movement of the tube bundles relative to the jets employed. The apparatus is also characterized by employing supporting and moving means of such a character as to permit ready adaptation to tube bundles varying widely in size. By these provisions it is possible to employ the same type of cleaning apparatus to clean the exterior surfaces of tube bundles of any size commonly used and at the same time to permit this operation using a small number of cleaning jets. It is further possible to carry out the necessary cleaning operations in a minimum of time and in a relatively simple and expeditious manner.
The nature of this invention will be fully understandable from a perusal of the following description as related to the accompanying drawings wherein one embodiment of the apparatus of this invention is disclosed. In the drawings:
Figure I shows a side elevational view, partly in section, of an entire apparatus embodying the principles of this invention and;
Figure II illustrates a left side view of Figure I, showing the placement of the tube bundle below the cleaning jets. In these drawings the tube bundle is illustrated as a large number of tubes fixed to headers or end plates Il, which are supported in turn by the carriage provided in accordance with this invention.
Referring to the drawings, it will be noted that the cleaning apparatus disclosed utilizes a plurality of jets indicated by the numerals I. These jets are conveniently positioned above the tube bundle and are preferably positioned to face downwardly so as to provide a jet of fluid impinging on the upper part of the tube bundle. The jets used may be supplied With suitable fluid through lines 2, supplied from manifold 3, which if desired may be positioned below the ground as shown. A plurality of jets are employed which may vary in number as desired. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings, it will be noted that 15 jets are employed supplied, by three uid lines 2, from a common manifold 3. It is apparent that if desired fewer jets than this number may be employed, or alternatively that a greater number of jets may be used. It is desirable to enclose the space adjacent the jets with an enclosure such as thesheet metal enclosure 4, illustrated in the drawing, to enclose the spattering fluid resulting from the fluid jet impinging on the tube bundle.
Immediately below the jets, positioned as indicated, is a suitable roadway to permit rolling the tube bundle below the jets on wheels arranged to support the tube bundle. In the drawing the roadway is illustrated as comprising a conventional set of steel rails '5 which may Aconveniently be of standard gauge adapted to accommodate standard railroad wheels 6. Supporting members 1, which are arranged parallel to the rails 5 are borne by the axles of the wheels. It is satisfactory to employ two supporting members 7 which may consist of standard tubular or pipe members. The actual supports 9 for the tube bundle are positioned on the pipe members 7 which may be set at a desired place on the pipe members by means of the U bolts 8. Two tube bundle supports 9 are provided which are spaced by the adjustment of the U bolts on the supporting means 'I' so as to accommodate a tube bundle of a particular length. The tube bundle supports 9 `consist of lateral beams extending across the supporting means 'I and provided with axles on which the wheels I0 may rotate. Each support 9 is provided with two wheels I0 which may be flanged as indicated so as to iirmly hold the tube bundle II in place. ment the tube bundle II is caused to rest on the wheels I0 at four points, firmly positioning the tube bundle but permitting the rotational movement of the tube bundle on rotation of the wheels I0. The wheels I0 may be rotated by any desired means, which for purposes of illustration, have been assumed to be hand wheel I2 and chain drive I3, .acting on sprockets I4 fixed to the axles of the wheels I0. Consequently, by rotation of hand Wheel I2 the `chain drive I3 causes rotation of the wheels I0 so as to rotate the entire tube bundle. The apparatus illustrated may be further rened, if desired, by employing suitable means to move the tube bundle supports 9 transversely to the tracks 5. However, this is notan essential requirement of the apparatus.
As described, therefore, the apparatus of this invention consists of a plurality .of jets positioned above and directed vertically downwards towards a tube bundle supported `on a suitable carriage so as to permit longitudinal and rotational movement of the tube bundle below the jets. In operating the apparatus described the rst step is to `adjust the displacement of the tube bundle supports 9 so as to position the wheels i0 at a suitable distance to support the tube bundle. The supports 9 are held in the set position by tightening the U bolts 8. One end of the tube bundle is then rolled beneath the jets 3 along the roadbed of rails provided and a high pressure jet By this arrangeof uids is released to impinge on the tube bundle. Hand wheel I2 is then operated to continuously rotate the tube bundle beneath the jets while the tube bundle is moved progressively further below the jets. By virtue of the rotational and longitudinal movement of the tube bundle the jets are caused to impinge on the tube bundle at a continuously varying angle and at a continuously varying point along the length of the tube bundle. It is thus possible to cause the jets of fluid to effectively impinge on all sides of each of the tubes of the bundle. In the case of tube bundles having an arrangement such that no Lclea-r path, through the bundles, is provided for the liquids this same effect occurs although in this case the liquid reaching the tube bundles necessarily impinges several times from the tubes closer to the jets.
In employing the apparatus described it has been found necessary that the uids supplied through the jets I be driven at a suihciently high pressure so as to create a very high powered jet. It has been found essential to secure suitable cleaning results to employ pressures in excess of 500 lbs., per square inch. The particular nature of the jets is not critical but these jets are conveniently composed of orifices that are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter. It is contemplated that any suitable fluid may be used as a cleaning agent. For most purposes water is entirely suitable for cleaning deposits from the tubes. If desired, for particular applications other liquids or gases, such as steam or a suitable solvent may be used.
What is claimed is:
Apparatus for cleaning tube bundles comprising a pair of rails, a carriage mounted on wheels adapted to roll on said pair of rails, a pair of rotatable supporting members adapted to support tube bundles adjustably positioned at either end of said carriage whereby the displacement between said pair of members may be adjusted to support tube bundles of different lengths, a handwheel coupled to at least one of said rotatable members .adapted to cause rotation of said rotatable member, and a plurality of jets maintained in a xed position above said rails, at least `a portion of said jets being disposed in a line transverse to the said rails.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 445,197 Phillips Jan. 27, 1891 457,317 Haskins Aug. 4, 1891 561,714 Lynch June 9, 1896 1,403,999 Baker Jan. 17, 1922 1,928,621 Frede Oct. 3, 1933 1,952,848 Eckler Mar. 27, 1934 2,040,715 Smith May l2, 1936 2,200,587 Tirrell May 14, 1940 2,225,946 Arey Dec. 24, 1940 2,258,562 Arey et al. Oct. 7, 1941 2,289,967 Johnson et al July 14, 1942 2,395,160 Anderson Feb. 19, 1946 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 145,431 Switzerland May 1, 1931