Industrial Cleaning for the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear facilities require an increased attention to detail, higher qualifications, and greater commitment.

Professional Industrial Cleaning Services

We hold ourselves to the highest standards of safety, quality and integrity.

Specialized Equipment, Technology and Personnel

Few can match our twenty plus years of experience, customization and diversity.

Industrial Cleaning for the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear facilities require an increased attention to detail, higher qualifications, and greater commitment.

Professional Industrial Cleaning Services

We hold ourselves to the highest standards of safety, quality and integrity.

Recent Posts

March 14, 2018

Industrial Chemical Cleaning Comes Through Again

Our industrial chemical cleaning division has a fantastic reputation for some very specific reasons. One of those reasons is the professionalism they bring to the project.  Thompson’s chemical cleaners know exactly the right chemical solution to choose, the correct way to monitor the cleanings progress and the means to find out the level of success generated by the solvent. Another characteristic is their ability to minimize the impact of their chemical cleaning operations on simultaneous facility projects and normal, day-to-day plant operations. Both of these characteristics were on full display during a recent job that our chemical cleaning technicians handled.

Designing a Chemical Cleaning Procedure

The objective for this chemical cleaning project was to remove scale buildup—specifically, water hardness and iron oxide scale—from a reactor cooling jacket in a specialty chemical facility. The products and process are proprietary, so we can’t get into details on those, but the important thing to know is that the foulant in the cooling jacket was hindering the even and quick cooling of the product following each production cycle. The next cycle couldn’t begin until the reactor had cooled, so the issue was slowing down overall production.

Due to the location of the cooling jacket and accessibility issues, hydroblasting with a lance to remove the scale was not an option. Instead, our chemical cleaning experts decided to use a heated, inhibited hydro chloric acid solution for the job.  Acid strength and inhibition levels were tested every half hour to ensure optimum acid concentration during the chemical cleaning.

Our commitment to safety extends across all our service divisions.

Success Measured in Productivity

The chemical solution and cleaning methods selected by the chemical cleaning team were extremely effective. After our team left the facility and the equipment went back online, our project manager followed up to inquire about the results of the cleaning. We were happy to find out that the cleaning had caused a very substantial increase in productivity: The time needed to cool the reactor between production cycles was reduced from over two hours to about 45 minutes. This meant that the next cycle could begin sooner, and over the course of weeks and months, those time savings will translate into many thousands of dollars in increased productivity and profits for the plant.

Leaving Things the Way We Found Them

Unfortunately, contractors in general have a reputation for leaving debris and trash behind them for the employees of the client’s facility to clean up. That’s not the culture at Thompson Industrial Services, though, and we make it a point to leave each site just as clean as we found it. This was one point made by our client for this particular job when he provided us with feedback; he was impressed that there was no mess at all left by our chemical cleaning team in the area surrounding the reactor and its cooling jacket.

This might seem like a small factor, but it reflects the wider and very important culture that Thompson Industrial Services instills across our chemical cleaning, automated hydroblasting, and safe excavation divisions. Prioritizing safety means making sure the entire environment of a cleaning project is clean, safe, and as free as possible of contaminants. And “being great,” as our motto concludes, means doing the best we can do for every client. Positive feedback about our team’s great service and respect for the facility gives us encouragement that we are doing well in this area.

The Highest Standards in Chemical Cleaning

Our chemical cleaning team’s careful planning, execution, and follow-up in this instance are just one example of how we approach all of our client projects. Safety never takes a back seat to speed, and the decades of experience behind our chemical engineers enables them to make strategic, creative, and innovative choices that benefit our chemical cleaning clients with faster, safer, and more efficient cleanings than their equipment has ever had.

We look forward to hearing from you about your industrial chemical cleaning needs, whether you are looking to accomplish common maintenance tasks more efficiently or discover a solution to a seemingly impossible cleaning problem that has persisted too long.

February 19, 2018

A Case Study in Cryogenic Cleaning Services

Our cryogenic cleaning services division exemplifies one of the main reasons our clients come to Thompson Industrial Services again and again for help. That reason is our specialty in solving extremely difficult industrial equipment cleaning problems. We regularly have clients ask us to help with a boiler or other piece of equipment that has restricted access or extremely challenging waste disposal requirements. We also frequently perform jobs in ultra-clean environments, removing debris without contaminating the surrounding area. A common challenge for some of our clients is cleaning equipment that is easily damaged by moisture. Cryogenic cleaning services are perfect for this situation, as illustrated by a recent project completed by our expert dry ice cleaning technicians.

Cryogenic Cleaning Services for Precision Cutting Machines

Our client for this project was a manufacturing plant in Mississippi. The plant is a provider for the US military, building components for use in connection with aircraft carriers. This is a unique application, and the cleaning solutions for the equipment used on the process line must be very carefully designed and executed in order to avoid any damage or alteration to the precision equipment. The specific task assigned to our cryogenic cleaning services team was to remove metal shavings and residual grease from precision cutting equipment used in the manufacturing process. Due to the nature of the cutting equipment, our team was unable to use abrasives or even water for the cleaning. The ideal solution for this unusual job would be a moisture-free cleaning medium and procedure strong enough to remove all residue, yet gentle enough to avoid damaging the equipment itself.

                                                                 Our cryogenic cleaning services in action.

Dry Ice Cleaning

Cryogenic cleaning is perfectly suited to this type of challenging cleaning situation. Instead of using water, dry ice cleaning uses small pellets of frozen carbon dioxide, which sublimate from a solid to a gas extremely quickly when they come into contact with room-temperature air. The rapid sublimation creates small yet powerful blasts of energy, which knock the metal shavings, grease, and other types of reside off the equipment without damaging the underlying surfaces. In fact, this application is so precise and gentle that it can be used to remove dust from antique books without damaging their pages!

Our cryogenic cleaning services, applied by technicians with extensive experience and a solid commitment to safety protocols, were the perfect solution for the manufacturing plant’s equipment cleaning needs. We’re happy to report that the cleaning went flawlessly and the client was very satisfied with the results.

Cryogenic Cleaning Services for Other Equipment

A precision cutting machine is a great example of the applications where cryogenic cleaning services shine. Many of the other pieces of equipment that we clean using this service are electronic, such as robotic assembly line machinery and even switchboards. We can apply dry ice blasting directly to these components, quickly removing debris and coatings without damaging electronics or introducing harmful moisture to them. In a large number of cases, we can even execute these cleanings without taking equipment offline or dismantling it. The savings on downtime and lost production in these cases are great advantages for our clients.

Cryogenic cleaning services are effective in removing a huge breadth of different residue substances. We have successfully cleaned oil, paint, grease, hydrocarbon deposits, corrosion, and polyurethane foam from industrial equipment, just to name a few. The ability of our cleaning system to restore production equipment to the most efficient condition possible makes it extremely popular with our manufacturing clients—dry ice cleaning is certainly “the cleaning system of the future”!

Thompson Industrial Services: Your Eco-Friendly, Effective Cleaning Experts

Like many of our groundbreaking cleaning processes, our cryogenic cleaning services are completely safe for the environment. Other earth-friendly cleaning systems offered by Thompson include FINFOAM, a revolutionary cleaning process for air-cooled heat exchangers, and our in-situ SCR catalyst component cleaning process, which eliminates plugging and reduces fly ash release.

Get in touch with Thompson Industrial Services to find out how our environmentally friendly, powerful, and time-saving cleaning processes can help you restore efficiency to your production line equipment. From cryogenic cleaning services to skilled application of chemical cleaning solutions, our teams are standing by to provide safe, expert services.

January 23, 2018

That’s Why You Trust the Experts in Industrial Chemical Cleaning Services

There usually isn’t just one way to perform a given industrial chemical cleaning task. A significant part of the cleaning process is often thinking through the possible methods and deciding which is best for a particular situation, given all the factors.  A facility manager wants to know that the team planning and executing their industrial chemical cleaning job has the experience, creativity, and familiarity with equipment to optimize processes and save them as much time and money as possible. Here’s an example of that process at its best, illustrated by a recent job that our team performed.

Identifying the Industrial Chemical Cleaning Challenge

The cleaning job in question took place at a pulp and paper mill in South Carolina. Part of the mill’s bleaching process includes magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) lines;one of which had become fully plugged by Mg(OH)2 solids, and the other was heavily scaled. The mill asked our team to generate a solution to clean the lines, and our engineers got to work sorting through the options for chemical cleaning on-site. They settled on a plan that would minimize alterations to the process line as a whole, if successful, thereby reducing downtime prior to startup.

                                               Our project managers work hard to achieve minimum downtime for each client.

Sticking with the Plan

The plan for clearing the magnesium hydroxide from the lines was based on dissolving the scale with acid. However, due to the amount of plugging, we had to first clear the plug slightly and achieve at least a trickle of flow. We accomplished this by using high pressure seal water, which was capable of achieving minute flow through the plug, in conjunction with slugs of dilute, inhibited acid; this process managed to enable sufficient flow through the piping to perform our acid cleaning service.

This element of our plan departed from the “traditional” methods that chemical cleaning services would use to solve this particular challenge. In more common cleaning processes, technicians would actually cut the magnesium hydroxide lines close to the plugging point, blast the plug to clear the line, then repair the line before production could resume. We knew that our alternative method would avoid the need for mechanically altering the line, bypassing a significant amount of downtime. We were confident  in our analysis of the situation and the capability of our equipment that we executed our plan and achieved the desired results.

Chemical Cleaning Services at Their Best

The result of our team’s work on the pulp and paper mill’s magnesium hydroxide lines is familiar to our clients: completely cleaned equipment that is ready to return to full production capacity in a significantly shorter timeline than expected. The facility managers were extremely pleased with the work our team performed, and specifically noted the attention to safety that the team exhibited throughout the process. Our chemical cleaning services division fully understands the importance of following strict safety protocols when working with caustics, acids, and other hazardous chemicals;they regularly receive excellent feedback for their adherence to client safety policies, OSHA regulations, and our own internal guidelines.

High Quality Chemical Cleaning Services

Pulp and paper mills, with their dependence on the use of powerful chemicals and their tough mineral scale by-products, present some of the greatest challenges to our chemical cleaning division. We also perform efficient, safe cleaning of residue at rubber/plastics manufacturing facilities and other sites with incredibly difficult cleaning challenges. At the other end of the spectrum, plants that produce food products or pharmaceuticals require our teams to plan and execute chemical cleaning activities that effectively clean systems, while ensuring no residual cleaning solvents remain in the process due to stringent contamination regulations. With many decades of combined experience in this division, our clients have learned that they can trust the judgment of our project managers to devise the most efficient, safe, and cost-effective method for cleaning their equipment and lines.

We would love to make your facility our next success story. Routine maintenance of boilers and associated equipment is a core competency for Thompson Industrial Services, but we are equally prepared to address unique tasks with factors that make them extremely difficult or apparently impossible. Contact us today for more information.

January 9, 2018

For Best Hydroblasting/Cleaning Results, See the OMT!

As we head into 2018, we wanted to introduce you to a team of experts here at Thompson Industrial Services that you may not have met yet. The service that this team provides for many of our longstanding clients takes our incredibly powerful hydroblasting and other applications to the next level. It’s not that they add technology or personnel to the hydroblast process; rather, they help clients in the area of organization. As our clients know, organization is a critical factor for industrial cleaning activities, and as we plan to show you, the OMT has the potential to pull many thousands of dollars in savings out of thin air for your facility by applying their combined 75+ years of knowledge to your situation.

The Outage Management Team

The Outage Management Team (OMT) is a group of some of the most experienced hydroblasting and chemical cleaning professionals employed at Thompson Industrial Services. The mission of this team is to take our water blasting and other cleaning services and make them even more cost-effective for our clients by managing outages and downtime at the highest level. Because they understand all the factors that impact an outage at your facility for equipment maintenance, the team can help your facility managers schedule outages at the optimal time of year, give you an extremely accurate estimate of the downtime needed for maintenance, and assist you in thinking through what your folks and ours can do to minimize the interruption to “business as usual.” This careful planning, informed by the decades of experience that the OMT brings to the table, saves time and money with every outage.

                                                Our OMT leads our clients to maximum efficiency during outages.

Reports and Analysis

The OMT begins with a huge amount of general knowledge about hydroblasting and our other industrial equipment services, but as they work with your facility over time, they also gain a thorough understanding of your unique industrial services needs. The longer we work with a client, the better we are able to customize their services and further streamline their outages. During every outage, the OMT tracks important factors such as % completion vs. % estimated time and % spent vs. estimated cost. They also carefully document any changes to the original scope of work and add-on jobs, updating the client on a daily basis and getting client approval before surpassing the amount of the PO.

A great example of this is our longstanding relationship with a pulp and paper facility located in our home state of South Carolina. For over 15 years, our technicians have been providing hydroblasting and other services for this facility, and every year the OMT uses what it learns during the cleaning process to improve our technicians’ performance the next time around. In addition, they incorporate our research division’s latest technological improvements into the hydroblasting services that we provide. Although the annual maintenance tasks for the facility are identical, the OMT’s reassessment and constant improvement efforts cut downtime and expenses for the client every year.

It’s All About Time

If we had to summarize the benefit of our Outage Management Team for your facility in a single word, it would be time. The careful planning of your hydroblasting or other maintenance outage ensures that every step progresses efficiently and that time-consuming surprises do not impact productivity. The application of Thompson Industrial Services’ automated industrial cleaning equipment accelerates the cleaning process itself when compared with traditional, manual cleaning methods. Finally, by generating and studying detailed performance reports during and after each job, the OMT identifies potential areas of improvement and plans for a more efficient outage the next time it is scheduled. As our experts are involved in planning every shutdown/outage, they help the client save money and time by identifying the best dates for projects and by minimizing the resources needed for each job.

Having experienced industrial supervisors that can accurately forecast job durations and contracted resource allocation is paramount in developing a successful plan of execution for a shut down. Through this process, Thompson has proved that we can save our clients both time and money while providing a safe and high quality job. 

Get in touch with us today to meet one of our expert OMT members and save money during your facility’s next maintenance outage.

December 8, 2017

The Science Behind High Pressure Water Jet Cleaning

The concept of water blast cleaning is foundational to many of our most popular, effective, and money-saving services. No one is surprised by the general idea of water cleaning equipment and surfaces, but there are many types of debris and deposits that we assume would take something other than plain H2O to remove. As the clients of Thompson Industrial Services discover on a regular basis, however, in the right hands water blast cleaning becomes one of the very best options for removing the toughest deposits, coatings, and debris that an industrial facility has to deal with. Our post today takes a look at the special tools and methods that harness the power of high pressure water blasting for a wide range of different industrial cleaning tasks.


Successfully accomplishing the most difficult cleaning tasks—operations like stripping away multiple layers of old paint or non-slip floor coatings, for instance—calls for incredible water pressure. Our specialized equipment is capable of delivering up to 40,000 PSI of water pressure. By way of comparison, a standard “medium duty” pressure washer that you might use around the house for washing mildew off vinyl siding, cleaning the driveway, etc. packs between 2,000 and 3,000 PSI. Even heavy duty commercial pressure washers for cleaning concrete or stripping paint don’t typically go above 5,000 PSI. At eight times that level of power, our 40,000 PSI water blast cleaning solutions give our technicians the power to clear debris of types that the average homeowner will never see!

The flip side, of course, is that handling ultra-highpressure water blasting equipment can be very hazardous for workers, equipment, and surfaces in the area. Historically, our technicians at Thompson Industrial Services have minimized the risk by using protective clothing, gloves, and other equipment, undergoing extensive hands-on training, and adhering to our strict internal safety procedures. At the same time, however, our progress in automation technology is gradually taking water blast cleaning equipment out of the hands of our workers altogether.

Our automated equipment keeps our workers at a safe distance while providing superior cleaning.


The safest way to use water blasting equipment with up to 40,000 PSI of water pressure is by manipulating it with robotic tooling. For many years, our engineers have been steadily researching, testing, and implementing methods for hydroblasting that keep our workers at a safe distance while machines do the “heavy lifting.” While there are a wide variety of specific applications, in most cases our teams set up the system with the appropriate water blast cleaning tools, connected with robotic tools that manipulate the hydroblasters, and sometimes control the system remotely with the help of customized software on tablet devices.

Not only is this approach vastly safer than previous manual cleaning methods, but it also outperforms them in terms of efficiency. Human technicians are restricted in how quickly they can work, and even the most seasoned technicians occasionally make mistakes. With safety protocols in place, those mistakes may not lead to injury or damage, but they may leave some debris behind, which will continue to reduce the efficiency of the partially cleaned equipment. Automated hydroblasting equipment can do the same job far more quickly than a human technician, partly because there are fewer safety precautions to follow at the work site and partly because it can handle multiple cleaning tools at the same time. Our remote control software also helps us ensure complete cleaning, especially with complex equipment such as bundles of boiler tubes.


The increased speed of an automated water blast cleaning compared with a manual one means that the same maintenance job costs our client less in terms of money and downtime. It also provides the client with a more thorough cleaning than a human technician could accomplish, which sets the line or facility up for more efficient production and less equipment wear and tear until the next regularly scheduled servicing.

Never content with the “status quo,” our project managers continually look for creative ways that they can cut downtime even further for our clients. They come to each new job with a fresh thought process, assessing the client’s equipment and cleaning needs and determining which of our efficient, affordable water blast cleaning systems is exactly right for that specific task.

November 3, 2017

Three Key Features of Our Heat Exchanger Cleaning Solutions

At Thompson Industrial Services, we have been offering heat exchanger cleaning services based on automated systems for nearly two decades. Our company’s long-term goal has been to make our hydroblasting services 100% hands-free, relying on robotic positioners and remote control to perform incredibly quick, complete hydroblasting for heat exchanger and other complex equipment. We’re excited to be nearing that goal, thanks to the development of some very sophisticated tooling and accessories. In this blogpost, we give you a little closer look at our heat exchanger cleaning methods by identifying three key features of them.

1. 3-D Nozzle Rotation Mechanism

One of the main reasons that heat exchanger cleaning has traditionally been a very time-consuming task is that each tube in a bundle must be individually cleaned. Cleaning each tube with a handheld lance is a tedious process and must progress relatively slowly for the sake of the safety of the technician. Because our heat exchanger cleaning procedure uses a hands-free lance, we can also attach a 3-D nozzle rotation mechanism, which sprays in all directions at once as the lance moves through each tube. Because cleaning occurs during both the “advance” and “retreat” of the lance, the cleaning is much more thorough than that provided by a manual approach, which must use a single-direction nozzle.

2. Robotic Positioners

The robotic positioners, which actually hold and direct the hydro blasters during a heat exchanger cleaning, give us many important advantages over traditional methods. First, they dramatically reduce the safety risks that we must protect against when a human technician is working in close proximity to the equipment and hydro blasters. This is an even more valuable advantage when access to the heat exchanger is restricted. Our robotic tooling can easily fit into small spaces that would be impossible for a human technician to access.

A second advantage is that our robotic equipment can manipulate multiple lances and clean multiple tubes at the same time. This fact alone can cut cleaning times by half. Finally, using robotic tools instead of handheld equipment often allows us to perform a heat exchanger cleaning in a fraction of the downtime. Because downtime represents a significant portion of the total expense for most industrial equipment cleaning, this is an extremely valuable feature that we are proud to offer to our clients.

3. Powerful Water Pumps

The third key feature of our heat exchanger cleaning solutions is the water pump capability that we bring to each job. Our pumps, so large that each one is carried on its own tractor trailer, provide water at a flow rate of up to 1,200 gallons per minute, supplying our automated hydroblasting equipment with all the power it needs to completely clean boilers and other large industrial units. Our project managers and teams of technicians have been working with our specialized pumps for decades, cleaning heat exchangers and other industrial equipment such as boilers, frac tanks, and other vessels that present great difficulties for older cleaning methods. This powerful cleaning equipment makes routine maintenance minimally disruptive, and brings cleaning projects that were previously impractical or prohibitively expensive well within reach. Facilities all over the Southeast and elsewhere in the United States now rely on our automated heat exchanger cleaning process and other cleaning services, recognizing their huge advantages over outdated methods.

Automated systems make heat exchanger cleaning exponentially faster.

Other Hydroblasting Applications

While our high volume hydroblasting is ideally suited to cleaning heat exchangers, boilers, and other equipment, some applications call for a different approach. For surface preparation and removal of floor coatings, for instance, our robotic positioners manipulate high-pressure hydro blasters that quickly and safely strip away even the toughest materials. At the highest pressure, our hydroblasting equipment is capable of making precision cuts in concrete and steel. As with our heat exchanger cleaning, by giving our technicians remote control of the water blasting equipment, we keep them safe and accomplish these challenging jobs with unprecedented speed.

It would be our pleasure to explain more of our hydroblasting capabilities and go into more detail with you on how we can use them to solve your most difficult industrial equipment cleaning challenges. Please email or call us today to schedule an appointment with our experts.

October 6, 2017

Pneumatic or Hydro Vacuum Excavation?

Industrial facilities of all kinds, across the United States, have a big problem in common. This problem is huge, sprawling, complicated, expensive…and invisible until it is too late to avoid it. It’s the issue of buried utilities, which add a hazardous dimension to development projects that require digging either on a facility’s property or in areas that are completely unfamiliar. Of course, many utilities are clearly identified on property maps or can be located with special equipment. But in many other cases, a property is too old to have reliable maps, maps may have been lost long ago, or the area’s utilities have simply never been recorded accurately. In these cases, starting an excavation project means launching a dangerous, tedious, slow, and expensive process. Fortunately, pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation services offer a welcome solution to this problem.
What’s the Difference?

Pneumatic vacuum excavation services use highly pressurized air to excavate soil, sand, and even rocks while safely uncovering any utilities that are hidden below the surface. Even sensitive communication lines like fiber optics are not damaged by pneumatic excavation, especially when the equipment is handled by technicians with years of experience and a thorough knowledge of best practices. Hydro vacuum excavation is similar, but uses pressurized water instead of air to move soil and other substances. While both services are efficient and safe for utilities, hydro vacuum excavation works more quickly and is normally the preferred method. However, in some settings it is undesirable or unacceptable to introduce moisture to the environment, and the use of water can create instability in the area immediately surrounding the excavation site. When these concerns are major factors, pneumatic vacuum excavation accomplishes the objective while staying within the facility’s safety parameters.

Clean Digging

Whether your excavation job calls for hydro or pneumatic services, the “vacuum” component of our solution may come into play to solve another problem—this one located above ground instead of below the surface. Instead of piling up mud, sand, and stone near the dig site, our equipment is able to collect all the substance loosened during the excavation and keep it contained, preventing it from affecting the immediate environment. When the work below the surface is complete, the soil can either be replaced to fill in the excavation site or taken off site to be disposed of according to the client’s needs. This vacuum option is particularly valuable for projects at nuclear or “ultra-clean” manufacturing facilities, where contamination of the environment during excavation would jeopardize quality.
Our vacuum equipment contains soil during the digging process.

Common Projects for Vacuum Excavation Services

All over the southeastern United States and beyond, our pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation services have accelerated complex digging projects of many different types. Two of the most common jobs that our excavation division handles are potholing and trenching. During nearly every potholing, trenching, or other excavation project that we conduct, our equipment uncovers utilities or other buried elements that were not clearly identified prior to the start of the dig. Despite this fact, our teams boast a 100% safety record when it comes to protecting those buried elements and preventing damage.

Client Confidence

Our perfect safety record gives our new clients a high degree of confidence when they engage us to plan and execute a pneumatic or hydro vacuum excavation job for them. At the end of the job, when the financial and other benefits of using this efficient, safe digging service are evident, it becomes even more obvious that they made a great decision. On our blog, we have published numerous success stories detailing the ability of these services to solve a wide range of excavation problems in various contexts. We also highlight the service and our ongoing development of our equipment and techniques as we communicate with our valued clients, both remotely and at industry conferences throughout the year.