Importance Of Integrity Testing

Importance Of Integrity Testing For Tubular & Plate Heat Exchanger

Tubular and plate heat exchangers are industrial equipment necessary to transfer heat between fluids at different temperatures. They are, therefore, crucial to the workings of many industries, making integrity testing a necessity. With integrity testing, it ensures that heat exchangers are performing optimally and are safe to operate.

Integrity testing detects potential issues within the heat exchanger, including issues such as erosion, corrosion, fouling, and leaks.  By detecting these issues on time, the industries using heat exchangers can promptly address and fix the issues, avoiding equipment failure and other safety hazards.

In this blog, we’ll focus on two primary heat exchangers that are used commonly across various industries. Understanding the two heat exchangers will give an idea of the integrity issues that is required with each type of heat exchanger.

Types of Heat Exchangers & Integrity Issues

Plate Heat Exchangers

Plate heat exchangers, one of the primary types of heat exchangers, are generally made of thin stainless steel metal plates that are stacked together and sealed with gaskets. The fluids exchanging heat flow through these channels in the plates, facilitating efficient heat transfer between the fluids.

Integrity Issues That May Arise with Plate Heat Exchangers:

  • Plate Fouling and Blockage: Accumulation of materials such as minerals, organic matter, dirt, and other debris from the fluid being transferred can cause plate fouling and blockage decreasing efficiency. Plate fouling can also increase energy consumption.
  • Plate Corrosion and Erosion: The gradual degradation and wear and tear of the plate metal arising from chemical reactions and the flow of the fluids being transferred can lead to leaks and a reduction in the efficiency of the transfer process.
  • Plate Misalignment: The plates can be misaligned due to various reasons, primarily thermal expansion or mechanical stress, causing leakage and reducing the efficiency of the exchangers.
  • Plate Cracking: Cracks could form on the plates due to many reasons, including thermal stress, mechanical stress, corrosion, improper installation, erosion, and inadequate maintenance.

Tubular Heat Exchangers

Tubular heat exchangers, another commonly used industrial heat exchanger, is composed of a series of either straight tubes or tubes bent into various configurations. In a tubular heat exchanger, the transfer between the fluids occurs with one fluid flowing through the tubes and the other fluid flowing around the tubes. The heat is then exchanged through the tube walls.

Integrity Issues That May Arise With Tubular Heat Exchangers

  • Tube Fouling and Blockage: The build of fouling material on the surface of the tube can reduce the heat transfer rate, increasing energy consumption. The build-up can also cause blockages, leading to a reduced heat transfer rate and could lead to equipment failure.
  • Tube Corrosion and Erosion: The degradation of the tube surfaces caused due to the chemical reaction occurring due to the fluid being transferred can lead to leaks. Physical wear and tear, that is erosion, can also reduce the efficiency and life span of the heat exchanger.
  • Tube Wall Thinning: Over time, due to factors such as corrosion or erosion, the tube walls can lose their thickness, causing potential failure and leakage.
  • Tube Joint Leakage: When the fluids being transferred leak into the tube joints, it can cause gasket failure or put stress on the heat exchanger, leading to contamination of fluids.

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Why Is The Inspection Of A Heat Exchanger So Important? How Can Bioscan Help With Integrity Testing?

Various integrity issues may arise depending on the type of heat exchanger being used. In order to avoid resulting consequences, it has become imperative to conduct periodic integrity testing.

Integrity testing aims at preventing harmful leaks and cracks in the heat exchange walls by identifying microscopic cracks and material fatigue. Heat exchanger integrity testing is an ideal quality and maintenance check for plate & tubular heat exchanger.

Bioscan, a global provider of integrity inspection services, utilises advanced technology to identify the issues with plate and tubular heat exchangers. Our services can help you detect issues, such as corrosion, erosion, and leakage of the plates or tubes, helping businesses fix these issues on time. Our plate and tubular heat exchanger inspection services can help in reducing the downtime caused due to exchanger failure and help your business function smoothly.

Further Read: Using The Hydrogen Method To Check For Defects In Heat Exchangers

Conclusion

Periodic professional integrity testing and maintenance of a heat exchanger are essential for the smooth running of the system. Bioscan’s plate & tubular heat exchanger integrity inspections are able to detect the micro-cracks and early signs of corrosion and damage to the heat exchanger.

Bioscan has over a decade of experience in heat exchanger testing and uses the best testing sensor units. If you are looking for experienced and expert plate & tubular heat exchanger integrity testers feel free to contact us to get a quote or for more information.

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Gas Detection To Enter Confined Spaces Safely

Gas Detection to Enter Confined Spaces Safely

When performing a crack testing inspection or maintenance in spray dryers or other process vessels, workers are required to make confined space entries. These confined spaces can often be hazardous due to the presence of gases such as methane, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulphide.

Gas detection technology plays a huge role in ensuring that workers remain safe from such dangerous gases. On various occasions, this technology has helped Bioscan promptly detect potential gas hazards and take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their technicians. This ensures delivery of effective and safe inspection services.

The hazards associated with confined spaces

Let’s examine some of the serious hazards that can pose a significant risk to worker safety:

  • Fire risks: Fire risks include inflammable gases or liquids present in the confined space and are considered one of the most dangerous hazards.
  • Noxious fumes: Build up of noxious fumes in confined spaces can lead to respiratory problems for the people entering the space and can even cause death.
  • Reduced levels of oxygen: The confined space oxygen levels are also a great concern. Low levels of oxygen can cause dizziness, confusion, and may ultimately lead to loss of consciousness.

What are gas detection devices?

Gas detection devices are indispensable tools used to detect and monitor the presence of potentially dangerous gases in the environment. There are different types of gas detection devices, including fixed and portable devices, and both use different technologies to detect gases.

How do gas detection devices work?

Gas detection devices measure the concentration of gases in the air and trigger an alarm if the levels exceed thresholds.

Gas detection devices are essential for ensuring worker safety in industries where workers may need to enter confined spaces. By detecting the presence of hazardous gases, gas detection devices help prevent accidents and protect worker health.

The importance of gas detection testing

It is essential to perform periodic tests of the gas detection devices as well. This can ensure that gas detection devices are working properly and accurately detecting hazardous gases in the environment.

It also helps to identify any potential issues with the devices, such as faulty sensors or calibration drift. By conducting regular testing, workers can be confident that their gas detection devices are functioning correctly and providing accurate readings.

How does Bioscan use gas detection?

Bioscan technicians perform confined space entries for tank inspection on a weekly basis, making safety a top priority. Despite the frequency of these entries, Bioscan maintains strict safety standards.

Gas detection technology is a crucial component of Bioscan’s safety protocols, as it alerts technicians to the presence of hazardous gases before and during work. By maintaining high safety standards and utilising gas detection technology, Bioscan can effectively mitigate risks and maintain a safe working environment for their technicians.

Further Read: How to Safely Perform Inspection Work at Heights

Final thoughts

To summarise, by detecting potential gas hazards, Bioscan can take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their workers. It is essential for workers to use gas detection devices and conduct regular testing to ensure accurate readings and proper functioning of the devices.

Ultimately, gas detection technology provides a critical layer of protection for workers in hazardous environments, allowing them to carry out their work safely and effectively.

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Biofilms In Food Industry

Biofilms In Food Industry: What Are They And Detection Methods

Surfaces within the food processing and production facilities that come into contact with food products during production, processing, and packaging are referred to as “Food Contact Surfaces”. Usually, these surfaces are composed of either stainless steel or a type of plastic material.

Food contact surfaces are of particular significance as they have the potential to become a source of contamination. The primary measure for day-to-day control is sanitation, which involves cleaning and disinfection. When undertaken correctly, it can significantly reduce the risk of microbial contamination within the production facility.

Although a microbial surface may not be a source of contamination after sanitation, food residues on that surface during production can provide the opportunity for microbial growth, which could then result in recontamination for the product.

With growing demands on production and significant time constraints on producers to keep lines running as long as possible, producers are seeking new technologies that will detect microbial contaminants faster and with more accuracy than typical ATP swab solutions. This could potentially lead to the product being recontaminated.

Biofilms In The Food Industry

One mistake many food production companies make is assuming if a “Food Contact Surface” is visibly clean, it is also sanitary clean, this unfortunately is not the case. Some contaminants such as Salmonella and E. coli are resistant to soaps and detergents. Consequently, the threat of bacterial contamination has not been fully addressed regardless of how meticulously a surface is cleaned.

Typically, an ATP swab is used to test for the presence of adenosine triphosphate on a surface that is assumed to be visibly clean, and as such is used to measure the cleanliness levels of a facility. The ATP test is a reliable tool that can be used to establish, track, and uphold cleaning standards in a facility. The detection of ATP on a surface suggests inadequate cleaning and the existence of contaminants such as food residue, allergens, or bacteria. This, in turn, implies that the surface may serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.

However, the ATP swab is limited as it can only provide analysis on a very small area of the Food Contact Surface. This is a particular issue for larger production facilities or those with limited time for production changeover, as this method relies on knowing exactly where to take a swab from, as no biofilm growth areas are evident with the naked eye…… or are they?

Enhance food safety and quality with our biofilm detection services. Get in touch today!

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Detection Of Biofilms

Currently, few methods exist for detecting biofilms on surfaces of food and beverage processing plants, the most widely used, as discussed, is ATP swabbing.

Now, for the first-time quality personnel can instantaneously detect clusters of contamination on Food Contact Surfaces and target to 100% accuracy where the ATP swab is to be administered.

The BioDtex UV (Ultraviolet) lamp works in conjunction with ATP, or independently as a stand-alone unit to detect contaminants on a surface which are invisible to the human eye. BioDtex utilises engineered UV-A light technology to bounce UV light off all types of work surfaces to expose harmful contaminants such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Pseudomonads, and Yeast.

The UV-A frequency used by BioDtex works on the upper fringe of the UV spectrum and allows for the light to target key protein cells that grow on bacteria, yeast, and moulds. This light is bounced off this protein and reflected to highlight the area of surface contamination to the user.

Conclusion

Biofilms in the food industry are a pertinent issue, with material and medical repercussions. The food and beverage industry is now compelled to resort to sophisticated techniques to prevent and eradicate biofilm growth to ensure the safety and hygiene of the plant. Companies such as Bioscan can assist the food industry with their top-notch and highly efficient biofilm detection technology “BioDtex”.

Further Read: Detection of Biofilms In Pharmaceutical Water System

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