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Case Study – 3D Spinner Nozzle – Tank Cleaning


Atlantic Industrial Cleaners has provided various shutdown services to a large Pulp and Paper plant during their annual shutdown. One of the major tasks to complete was cleaning the inside of various sized tanks that are used to store liquids required for production of the pulp during the mills operation. Many of these liquids can be hazardous, which increases the risk of performing confined space entries into these tanks to High Pressure Water Blast (HPWB) the tank walls. Also, due to the residual material in the tank, our cleaning crew has to switch between HPWB and vacuuming out the material which is now mixed with the wash water. Crews needed to exit the tank, decontaminate themselves, vacuum, then re-enter to continue washing. This process was repeated several times, until the tank was deemed clean enough to perform an inspection on the inside and complete any required repairs. As arduous as this process was, it was repeated for dozens of tanks on this
customer’s site and many others.

Cost Saving Services Which Enhance Safety Through Automation

In another example of AIC’s continuous strive to automate our High Pressure services, we initiated the use of a range of “3D Spinner Nozzles” in our fleet. These nozzles rotate in all directions allowing for decreased cleaning time inside the tank and virtually eliminate all confined space entry needs.

The use of these nozzles have allowed us to:
• Reduce employees’ exposure
• Reduce/eliminate the need for confined space entries
• Offer cost savings through reduced manpower and equipment requirements
• Offer faster turnaround times to our clients reducing their plants overall downtime

Various nozzles are used for various sized diameter tanks and the use of extension wands have allowed us to access various points in taller tanks. Each tank job that would have required up to six men and have taken up to a full shift to complete, can now be accomplished with half the crew size and less than half the time – offering considerable savings across the plant. We hook up a 5300 cfm vacuum truck to the discharge valve on the tank, lower in the 3D spinner and wash the tank at the same time we extract the material and wash water.

The Results

As with most automated practices the biggest gain here was in improved safety, by eliminating a large portion of the historical confined space tank cleaning. Through this 3D nozzle technology we were able to eliminate three to four hundred man hours per shutdown of confined space entry manual HP blasting at this site alone. This number is much larger on the scale of our overall business as we utilize this approach in various jobs, from barge cleaning, rail cars, crude tanks, and any other vessel that may need internal cleaning.

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