№ 9 (September 2008)
ARMEX’ Technologies Ensure Operating Safety in Oil and Gas Industry
ARMEX blasting is often described as a “non-destructive method of paint stripping and cleaning.” While the process can be applied to most surfaces, this article discusses ARMEX blasting as it relates to steel surfaces.
By Materials supplied by ARMEX
ARMEX blasting is often described as a “non-destructive method of paint stripping and cleaning.” While the process can be applied to most surfaces, this article discusses ARMEX blasting as it relates to steel surfaces. ARMEX blasting, an innovative and environmentally-friendly technology, began in the 1980’s in the USA, and is now widely used for the cleaning of equipment in the oil and gas industry for stripping of paints, removal of grease and dirt and preparation of most surfaces. In Russia, ARMEX Blasting is represented by Industrial Solutions & Technologies, a company, that provides innovative and money saving industrial cleaning solutions.
Natural Gas Transmission Station
It’s safety first at a natural gas transmission station. At this site raw gas from natural gas fields is processed, then pressure is added to send the gas underground to other pipeline companies across the country. As you might expect, any material or equipment used at the facility must be absolutely non-sparking. Caution and creativity are the key words when cleaning and maintenance are required.
The ARMEX Blasting process met all the criteria for safety and effectiveness, so it was suggested for the upcoming cleaning and repainting of 12 large (1,800-2000 hp) reciprocating gas compressors located in an enclosed area of the transmission station. The advantage of the ARMEX Blasting process was apparent immediately. Only the compressor being cleaned had to be shut down; the other 11 compressors (although in close proximity) continued in operation. ARMEX Blasting can be used safely around rotating equipment.
Another major advantage was the degree of “clean” ARMEX achieved on the surfaces to be repainted. In addition to removing grease, oil, dirt, the process removed failing paint while leaving well-adhered paint intact. A thorough rinse was all that was needed before the repainting process began. Applying the epoxy primer and urethane topcoat was a snap. In the safety-conscious, maintenance-intensive natural gas industry, that just about says it all.
Petrochem Plant Reduces Cleaning Time by 50 Percent by Switching to ARMEX
At a petrochemical plant in Freeport, Texas, dirt, grease and rust accumulate on a variety of surfaces, including tanks, piping, motors, steel pumps and concrete flooring. Using the ARMEX® Cleaning and Coating Removal System, the plant was cleaned more thoroughly and faster than ever before.
Cleaning is accomplished using SB-200 Blast pot with #6 high performance nozzle and a 7 cu. m air compressor. ARMEX® Maintenance Formula XL with SupraKleen® Rinse Accelerator is blasted wet at 5 Bar at a distance of 30 cm from the substrate.
The ARMEX process is so benign; it can be used during regular shift hours. Simple dust containing nets are employed to shield workers on the job. Instead of having to haul away the grit that accumulates during sand blasting, the spent ARMEX® Blast Media washes directly into the plant’s wastewater treatment system.
Using the ARMEX Blasting Cleaning and Coating Removal System, the contractor cleaned the plant in 10 days, reducing cleaning time by 50 percent. In addition, because ARMEX is a soft abrasive that can remove soils and residue without removing paint, the customer did not have to incur man-hour and material costs to repaint the plant after cleaning.
Naturally, the non-toxic, non-hazardous ARMEX Cleaning and Coating Removal System is more worker-friendly than a hard abrasive.
ARMEX® Cleans Oil Production Skid in Record Time
T.C.O.T. (Terengganu Crude Oil Terminal) is a large ESSO crude oil operation located in the eastern region of peninsular Malaysia. The project involved stripping paint, dirt, grease, and corrosion from a 12 m x 10 m x 5 m skid, which is a sub-assembly containing control panels, pumps, gauges, valves, etc. The function of the skid is to meter, pump, and measure the flow of crude oil from offshore ships to onshore storage tanks. The work needed to be done so that the skid – and the equipment on it – could be rebuilt and repainted. Total surface area of all the components making up the skid is approximately 2,100 sq. meters. Blasting (depainting) around sensitive control equipment had to be accomplished without extended work hours or shutdown.
Cleaning of Rotating Equipment
Take a plant with many different types of rotating equipment, all requiring regular maintenance. Add extremely stringent worker safety regulations. Top with strict environmental controls. You’ve just created a petrochemical plant.
The maintenance challenge involved cleaning an old but serviceable lubrication pump used throughout the plant. Since spare parts were not readily available and a new pump would be very expensive, the maintenance crew could not chance damage with aggressive cleaners. The ARMEX Blasting process doesn’t just clean faster and better than solvents and hand cleaning, it does what those methods can’t even do. For example, you can clean in the cracks and crevices, in hard-to-reach places, behind curves – and get the surfaces cleaner than they’ve ever been before. When you apply a new coating, it lasts longer so it requires less maintenance down the road. It’s a very cost-effective process.
In addition to effectiveness, there are other features that make the process a perfect match for the petrochemical industry. The media is non-sparking, non-toxic and water-soluble. Spent media can be rinsed off with water and flushed into the plant’s wastewater treatment facility. ARMEX does not harm bearings, and is ideal for use on virtually any type of pump or motor. The ACCUSTRIP SYSTEM uses very little water – as little as 1-2 liter per minute. And workers require only minimal training and protective gear to use the process. For the petrochemical industry, and other industries as well, the ARMEX Blasting process is truly a revolutionary method for cleaning rotating equipment.