Although industrial processes vary widely, in all factories dusts, greases, slags, metals, residues and cementitious particles generated during manufacturing can end up in the waste water stream, accumulate and even harden in underground pipes.

As a result, plants perform periodic maintenance to flush debris and sediment from pipes, including breaking hardened clogs, to prevent blockage and protect downstream wastewater treatment equipment from excessive loading.

The most efficient high-efficiency nozzles have tight water patterns that effectively clean the floor/wall of the hose and create a powerful jet of water that not only moves debris long distances, but also propels the nozzle.KEG Technologies

“Many plants were built 40 to 80 years ago with most pipes underground, so they’re old, hard to get to, and can accumulate excessive, hardened debris that needs to be removed,” said Bill Benner, chief main project for Ventilation Power Cleaning (VPC), a Seattle, WA-based company that provides vacuum truck services to remove various industrial debris in the form of solids, liquids, sludge and sludge.

“If this type of debris is piped to clarifiers, digesters, sewer vaults or on-site treatment plants, it can disrupt and overload the process as it builds up and hardens,” said Benner added. “A similar problem occurs when rain washes debris into outdoor processing or storage areas in basins, ponds or reservoirs before being transported through pipes for further processing.”

The task of cleaning industrial drains usually falls to third-party cleaning companies like VPC, who travel to facilities with a vacuum truck and perform the work periodically, unless emergency debris removal is required.

According to Benner, most sewage lines are typically 300 to 500 feet long and 12 to 46 inches in diameter. Special nozzles are used to propel a pipe connected to a vacuum truck through the pipeline and vice versa using water jets.

The nozzle should provide enough force to dislodge debris and bring it back using water pressure to be sucked up by the vacuum truck.

“Industrial plants can’t afford downtime, so we rely on high-performance nozzles to get the job done quickly and reliably. Using the right nozzle and the right technique can mean the difference between cleaning a pipe in 20 minutes or having it take hours, days or fail completely,” Benner said.

Fortunately, an assortment of high performance hose nozzles are available to expedite the removal of any buildup of debris from the pipes of facilities such as refineries, cement plants, chemical plants, steel mills or pulp and paper mills.

This can help prevent a range of issues, including regulatory fines, process interruptions, and unplanned downtime.

Performance optimization

As is known in the industry, there are levels of nozzles rated for water performance and efficiency: Level 1 (approximately 30% efficiency), Level 2 (50-60% efficiency), and level 3 (75-98% efficiency).

Low performance Tier 1 nozzles tend to use only 30% of the available energy, wasting 70% due to excessive turbulence. Level 2 nozzles are more efficient but still inadequate for tougher jobs. In contrast, the most efficient level 3 nozzles have tight water jets that effectively clean the floor/wall of the hose. Additionally, the units create a powerful jet of water that not only moves debris long distances, but also propels the nozzle.

“We rely on KEG’s most efficient Level 3 nozzles because they provide the two most important things we need: the ability to move the hose and nozzle the full length of the hose to the location. debris, as well as the ability to push the debris out of the pipe with pressurized water so that we can remove it with the vacuum truck,” Benner said.

KEG Technologies, a manufacturer of industrial, sewer and storm pipe products including Tier 1-3 nozzles, floor cleaners and chain cutters, is a member of NASSCO, the National Association of Service Companies of sewers.

What sets the most efficient Level 3 nozzles apart from others in the class is fluid mechanics engineering on par with the aerodynamics of race cars or fighter jets.

In the case of KEG Tier 3 nozzles, the mechanical design of high performance fluids leaves little room for power loss and excessive turbulence.

“We use their Tier 3 nozzles pretty much everywhere we go. They have a large repertoire of high performance nozzles that have reliably met our needs in all industrial applications,” Benner said. VPC originally purchased about a dozen assorted nozzles from the manufacturer of industrial, sewer and stormwater products.

For wastewater applications, VPC prefers rotary style floor cleaners and nozzles. As their name suggests, these nozzles travel along the floor of a large diameter pipe – instead of just down the center – and concentrate the high-pressure water from the pipes through an assortment of jets.

High pressure directed water is ideal for removing sludge, mud, compacted material and heavy debris (rocks, bricks, broken concrete, etc.) from industrial pipes, storm lines and sanitary lines.

“Floor cleaning nozzles are designed to roll over the lower third of the hose to have the most dynamic effect in removing heavy debris, sand and rock that has accumulated there,” Benner said.

KEG's Torpedo Nozzle uses two different water jet angles to provide superior transport of sand, mud and debris from the floor of the pipe in diameters from 6 to 16 inches.KEG’s Torpedo Nozzle uses two different water jet angles to provide superior transport of sand, mud and debris from the floor of the pipe in diameters from 6 to 16 inches.KEG Technologies

For example, KEG’s Torpedo Nozzle uses two different water jet angles to provide superior transport of sand, mud and debris from the floor of the pipe in diameters from 6 to 16 inches.

The company also offers a variety of floor cleaner sizes designed for hose diameters from 4 to 72 inches. A unique floor cleaner model, called the Twins, uses two floor cleaners with high performance fluid mechanics that work in tandem with a Y connector, for hoses up to 84″ in diameter.

A unique floor cleaner model called Twins uses two floor cleaners with high performance fluid mechanics that work in tandem with a Y connector, for hoses up to 84A unique floor cleaner model called Twins uses two floor cleaners with high performance fluid mechanics that work in tandem with a Y connector, for pipes up to 84″ in diameter.KEG Technologies

According to Benner, VPC also uses a unique rotating nozzle to remove stubborn debris from pipes. The Duce Nozzle uses rotation and water-driven vibration to create a unique “jackhammer” action to remove grout and mortar residue, scale, tuberculation or other deposits that have hardened to the floor or pipe wall.

This approach is more efficient than cutting and milling the material, but is not recommended for clay pipes.

“We have found that KEG Technologies’ Duce Nozzle works extremely well in breaking up hardened debris,” he said.

KEG Technologies' Duce Nozzle uses rotation and vibration driven by water to create a unique action of KEG Technologies’ Duce Nozzle uses water-driven rotation and vibration to create a unique “jackhammer” action to clear stubborn debris from pipes.KEG Technologies

When a severe blockage is identified, chain cutter nozzles are designed to cut through tough clogs and thick root masses.

When high pressure water enters the chain cutter nozzle chamber, it is directed to spin the cutting chains at high speed with enough torque to prevent seizing.

Although high-performance Tier 3 nozzles cost more than lower-performance nozzles, Benner found this acceptable because his work crew completes jobs much faster using them.

He notes that there is no substitute for having the right tools and experience to clean industrial pipes quickly, whether for routine maintenance or an emergency.

“We won’t use inferior nozzles because they simply don’t work when industrial pipes and lines need to be effectively cleaned and cleared of debris. This commitment to getting the job done quickly and correctly has earned us customer loyalty and kept plants running without incident or downtime,” Benner said.

Having used performance nozzles for years, he emphasizes that the units are built to last. “We originally purchased KEG Tier 3 nozzles fifteen years ago, and they still perform reliably,” Benner said.

As a final conclusion, Benner concluded, “You really need to understand the products you’re using, and KEG will go the extra mile to help you understand the product.”

kegtechnologies.net

Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.

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