A self-cleaning heat exchanger needs not to be taken out of production for cleaning, therefore the capacity remains constant and in some cases the production yield can be increased, which enhances the productivity:
With fouling of heat exchangers the period between two cleanings can range from a year to 4 hours. In most cases cleaning means a stop in operation with as a consequence a loss of production. If a stop in operation is not allowed, it is usually decided to install redundant equipment. Choosing for redundancy means an additional investment.
It is known that in case of fouling in crude oil pre-heaters, installed upstream the refinery furnace, the required inlet temperature of the distillation column cannot be met and thus the throughput needs to be reduced to meet the required inlet temperatures. Obviously, reducing the throughput directly affects the production output and the revenues of the refinery. With a self-cleaning heat exchanger there is no downtime for cleaning nor is it required to install redundant equipment and throughput can remain constant.