Manufacturer eliminates confined space entry for manual process tank cleaning, increases safety and saves time

process tank, tank cleaning equipment

Process tank cleaning equipment enables manufacturers to increase safety and reduce time spent tank cleaning.

A chemical manufacturer was cleaning their large process tanks with internal agitator blades with static spray balls. With this method, the static spray balls were run with a 15 minute pre-rinse that went to drain, then a recirculated caustic wash for 30 minutes and finally a post rinse for 15 minutes that also went to drain. Even after performing these cleaning steps, confined space entry was then needed for manual cleaning areas where the static spray balls weren’t cleaning effectively. The typical cleaning time including manual entry was roughly 2 hours per cleaning.

During manual entry, the company experienced a “near-miss” where an employee was almost seriously injured while cleaning a tank. The individual slipped on the ladder and almost fell into the empty tank that contained agitator blades. Luckily, no injuries resulted from the incident but the near miss was reported to the company’s health and safety board. The resulting investigation concluded that personnel could no longer enter the tanks for manual cleaning.

The company came to us for help to design a safe, sustainable and more efficient solution that eliminated confined space entry.  The solution that was implemented was the use of two rotary jet heads in place of the static spray balls. Using rotary jet heads, manual cleaning was completely eliminated, ensuring the safety of their workers. The added mechanical force of the rotary impingement devices allowed for a complete clean. This alone satisfied the safety concerns, but an added benefit was the new cleaning process used a 6 minute pre-rinse to drain,  followed by a 12 minute recirculated caustic wash and then a final 6 minute post rinse that also went to drain. Total cleaning time was reduced from 2 hours to 24 minutes which is an average of 73% reduction in time spent cleaning! The final bonus was a reduction in wash fluid used with an 82% reduction in water that was sent to drain.

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