Prepare Yourself: Some Equipment Can’t Be Saved!

Recently, a customer sent in two heat exchangers for what they hoped was a partial re-tube. The process had seen small amounts of shell-side water, so they knew there was a leak – somewhere.

Ward’s Experience and Tool Kit allow us a unique opportunity to troubleshoot, diagnose, prescribe and either repair or replace your process equipment. It’s our job to help the equipment owner make the best possible decisions through effective communication throughout the process. Communication and transparency are key.

One unit was partially re-tubed, tested, and was ready to ship within a couple days of its arrival at one of our repair shops. The other unit wasn’t as lucky. After replacing the tubes identified as problematic by individual tube testing, a shell-side hydrotest uncovered a much bigger issue: Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) in multiple locations on the stainless steel shell. Ward began weld repairs, which led to additional cracking, as is often the case with SCC. Several iterations of welding/testing continued until eventually, the customer asked if we could build a new unit – in a big hurry. A quotation was put together within a couple hours’ time for an 8-day delivery on a brand-new unit, which was built and ready to ship within 7 days.

This is less a story about Ward’s capabilities and flexibility and more about what can – and often does – happen. Some units last for decades and others have to be replaced much more regularly due to their conditions. Contingency plans are always a good idea and having a partner and resource who can handle just about any situation that arises is just good business.