Reduce total fouling related cost with Eqobrush in processing industry

EQOBRUSH in the Chemical- and Petrochemical Industries.


EQOBRUSH impact on Total Fouling Related Cost

For over 50 years Automatic Brush Cleaning systems are popular in process heat exchangers as a tool to keep the tube walls in top-condition.

Any normal heat exchanger will foul during operation. Fouling reduces efficiency and calls for cleaning sessions with interruption of operations. Between sessions the heat-exchange efficiency is progressively reduced up to the level where the heat exchanger becomes bottle-neck for production capacity of the operation.

Unexpected shut down due to uncontrolled fouling is a substantial threat to the process industry with high expenses involved.

Total Fouling Related Cost (TFRC) in processing industry is difficult to assess. Literature reports the TFRC at 8% of the total maintenance budgets and in addition up to 5% of energy consumed is used to overcome fouling.

TFRC cost consists of the following components:

  • Cost of cleaning (mechanically of chemically)
  • Cost of production standstill during cleaning
  • Cost of efficiency loss between cleaning intervals
  • Cost of unscheduled interruptions

To minimize TFRC while maintaining maximal production output with controlled operations the best approach is:

  • Keep heat exchangers’ tubes clean at all times
  • No cleaning intervals are required
  • No efficiency or capacity loss throughout operations

With EQOBRUSH installed TFRC can be kept  close to zero while the heat exchanger tubes will remain clean 365 days a year with no surprising factors ahead.

Additional operational advantages:

  • Reduced water consumption in the cooling tower is an additional advantage (higher allowable Cycle of Concentration in cooling tower water).
  • Energy savings in (steam) condenser cooling via VFD controlled cooling tower fan.


For new systems the impact on CAPEX (capital expenditure) should be considered as an additional important economic benefit of automatic tube cleaning.


Heat exchanger design engineers are aware of the constant fouling build-up in heat exchangers and the loss of heat exchange efficiency caused by this. For this reason, those heat exchangers are designed with excess heat-exchange surface of an average of about 30%. This has considerable impact of the CAPEX of this equipment and the related installation cost (footprint, foundation etc).


In fail safe operations where the risk exists that fouling in heat exchangers may cause sudden efficiency losses, back-up heat exchangers are required. The impact on the CAPEX of such operational system are substantial:

  • Additional equipment cost
  • Connections and control system


Eqobrush automatic tube cleaning system guarantees the tubes to remain in top condition at all times via:

  • High frequency tube brushing (6 or more cleanings per day) with
  • Smart design tube inserts (no pressure drop)
  • No additional energy requirement (using existing water pressure)

Appreciation via experience

Automatic Tube Cleaning systems have been around for decades in Germany where it was originally invented. With this long experience and the need to reduce the industries’ environmental impact, a substantial %-age of the process heat exchangers in German chemical industry are equipped with automatic tube cleaning systems.  The industry is convinced of Eqobrush’s huge benefits in CAPEX, Total Fouling Related Cost control and last but not least its positive effect on the environment.