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

June 27, 2018

A Major Piping Hydroblast Solution

Hydroblasting to clean piping of all types and diameters has been a core competency for Thompson Industrial Services for many years. Recently, we accomplished yet another successful hydroblast project for one of our long-standing clients, and the job exemplifies the way this approach outperforms alternative cleaning methods in a variety of important areas. Here’s a brief look at the work we did for this client to solve their piping issues at a facility where contamination of the surrounding area had to be avoided at all costs.

Essential Services Affected

The project was located at a nuclear power plant, where a fire protection system was being negatively affected by large amounts of corrosion in its water piping (See “before and after” photos below). Removing this corrosion was critical in order to restore adequate water flow through the piping in the case of a fire emergency at the plant. Due to the plant’s safety protocols, the waste material could not be allowed to contaminate the surrounding area during the cleaning process, so one of the requirements for our hydroblasting team would be to collect, contain, and remove from the site all of the residue and cleaning substances used in the job.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Hydroblasting was not the only possible option for clearing the corrosion from the piping interior. Mechanical and chemical cleaning methods were also available, but it was determined that each of these strategies would have incurred more cost than the hydroblasting option. The other possible solution, removing the corroded piping completely and replacing it with new infrastructure, would have been a far more expensive, lengthy, and disruptive process. The client agreed with our experts’ recommendation to clear the piping using Thompson Industrial Services’ powerful, versatile hydroblasting equipment, following a careful analysis of the nature of the corrosion and selection of exactly the right nozzles, water pressure, and other details for the project.
Piping before and after hydroblasting

A Successful Hydroblasting Project

Our team decided to use a 12k hydroblast unit with a powerful nozzle specially selected for the pipe’s diameter and the corrosive material. They also employed a centralizer, an attachment to keep the hydroblaster located in the center of the pipe throughout the cleaning process. This ensured an even, complete cleaning in the shortest possible timeframe. Although there was a large amount of waste material that our team had to remove from the piping, they employed our vacuum system to collect the debris as it was loosened from the piping interior. The vacuum system also collected the water used in the hydroblast process, so there was no contamination or moisture introduced to the environment at the nuclear plant.

Client Satisfaction

Because we had done quite a bit of work for this client in the past, they were already familiar with the high quality of work that Thomson Industrial Services brings to every job. The client did note, however, in a letter sent to us after the project’s completion that they appreciated the flexibility, proactive attitude, and responsiveness of the entire TIS hydroblasting team. Not only was our team able to clear the piping corrosion very quickly, safely, and cleanly using a tailored hydroblasting solution, but they also exemplified respect for the nuclear plant’s safety protocols, general OSHA standards, and plant management. The client expressed their complete satisfaction with the project and their anticipation of working with our teams in the future for similar industrial services needs.

Other Hydroblasting Projects

Our research division at Thompson Industrial Services is constantly investigating new ways to improve our hydroblasting efficiency, developing and testing new nozzles and new robotic tools that can help us achieve our goal of 100% automation. Employing these versatile, effective methods at highly sensitive sites such as nuclear power plants, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other ultra-clean facilities requires a complete understanding of and adherence to safety protocols. In keeping with our company motto to “Be safe, be good, be great,” we take that respect for safety protocols to every single project that we perform for our clients. The result is fantastic relationships with long-standing clients like the one we served in this case, along with many others across the United States and beyond. Browse our website and get in touch with us directly to learn more about our industrial services.

May 16, 2018

Thompson Industrial Services Takes Flight

Robotic equipment is nothing new at Thompson Industrial Services. For years, we’ve been moving our company into the future with automated hydroblaster positioners, remotely controlled heat exchanger cleaning, and other technologies. The newest addition to our roster of robotic tools will be much more familiar to the general public than our previous ones, however, because they are already prominent in all sorts of contexts. We’re talking about drones, the small, unmanned flying craft that have captured the attention of professional service providers and recreational pilots alike.
The drones that we use here at Thompson have been modified to function effectively and safely in our clients’ facilities in a wide range of different environments. We’d like to introduce you to these amazingly useful tools, which are already saving our clients many thousands of dollars on inspection services.

Solving Access Issues

In a large industrial facility, there are pieces of equipment and infrastructure that are difficult or impossible for human inspectors to gain access to. When there is a suspected issue that requires inspection, the only options thus far have often involved shutting down the surrounding area and constructing scaffolding or some other special equipment to get inspectors close enough to identify the issues and devise a solution. With our drone inspection services, however, our highly skilled technicians can get a drone-mounted camera to the ceiling or wherever the suspected issue is incredibly quickly. Best of all, the impact on the facility’s activity is minimal and there is no need to erect scaffolding to reach the area in question. This saves our client substantial amounts of money not only by avoiding equipment rental, but also by sharply reducing the facility downtime needed for the inspection process.
The view from our drone’s high-resolution camera

Drone Modifications

Our inspection drones carry high-resolution cameras, fully capable of capturing photos and video with the detail necessary to accurately analyze damage, contamination, and other negative factors. After our team and the client’s personnel assess the situation based on the high-resolution photos and video captured by the drone-mounted equipment, they can work together to devise a strategy and move quickly to execute it.  Thompson’s industrial drone is also equipped with a thermal imaging camera that records the entire time so that you can quickly identify leaks in piping and duct work.
Another important feature of our inspection drones is obvious as soon as you see the unit for the first time. Each drone is surrounded by a safe crash proof casing, a protective network of carbon fiber bars that prevent damage to the drone or the onboard cameras in the event of contact with infrastructure or equipment. With this protective shield, the drone is safe even around personnel, as the propellers are completely protected from contact with any part of the body.  In addition, the casing is flexible and gentle enough to avoid damaging equipment as well. This gives our inspectors the ability to safely guide the drones from the ground into areas that a human inspector would never be able to access without a very complex, costly operation.

Drone Inspection Applications

One of the most obvious applications for our new drone inspection service is identifying and assessing issues with infrastructure, such as duct work, that is located at or near the ceiling of a large facility. However, we can also send our drones into silos, stacks, cooling towers, and boilers to photograph conditions. These environments are often extremely hazardous for human workers but using a remotely controlled drone creates a uniquely valuable opportunity to gain visibility without endangering technicians or engaging in expensive safety procedures. We also use the service for inspections at wind and solar farms, where access to elevated equipment is also difficult. Indoors or outdoors, nearly any area that presents expensive and time-consuming challenges for inspection is an eligible candidate for our amazingly efficient drone inspection.

A Great Addition to Our Industrial Services

As we mentioned earlier, our inspection drones are just the latest additions to the impressive lineup of robotic, remotely controlled tools that our industrial service teams have access to and use more frequently every year. This is a very tangible manifestation of the motto that we often repeat at Thompson Industrial Services: “Be safe, be good, be great.” We think our drone inspection service accomplishes all three of those objectives with flying colors, and we look forward to bringing it to your next facility inspection project. Get in touch with our company headquarters or one of our regional offices to inquire further and to learn about our other money-saving industrial services.

April 16, 2018

Dry Ice Blast Cleaning: Down to Details

Dry ice blasting is one of the cleaning services that we are most excited about here at Thompson Industrial Services. It would be difficult to find, or even theorize, a cleaning method that is more effective in more contexts with better results. On top of all that, dry ice cleaning is entirely safe for the environment and produces no additional contaminants. This blogpost will give you some insight into the power and many valuable applications of this incredible cleaning service, and if it sounds like it may have potential for a difficult cleaning need of yours, by all means get in touch with us to learn more about it.

Dry Ice Blasting Fits into Complex Applications

The food manufacturing industry and the power generation industry don’t seem to have much in common. But when it comes to cleaning their production equipment, there are some important similarities: in both cases, it is essential that the cleaning processes used do not contaminate the immediate environment. This excludes substances commonly used as abrasives, such as mineral dust. In fact, power generation and food manufacturing equipment are sometimes so sensitive that even the water used in hydroblasting can damage it. Dry ice blasting, which utilizes pellets of frozen carbon dioxide, uses no harmful abrasives or water at all. Our cleaning teams regularly use this powerful, precise method to remove tough scale and debris from delicate electronics and other sensitive equipment without causing any damage to it.

One important element of dry ice blasting’s versatility is the wide range of different residues, contaminants, and substances that it can quickly remove from surfaces. Manufacturing facilities can use this method to quickly clear grease, oil, soot, and dirt from surfaces, and food production plants can use it to remove food particles as well as glue residue produced during packaging. In the power generation industry, carbon, grease, and dirt that hurt efficiency are blasted away just as easily.

Dry ice blasting completely removes contamination without damaging underlying equipment.

Variations on Dry Ice Blasting

The typical version of our dry ice blasting services uses small pellets of solid carbon dioxide, which blast debris off the surface to be cleaned as it rapidly sublimates into a gas. However, we can also use dry ice that has been shaved into much smaller particles. This approach is ideal for cleaning equipment with many hard-to-reach surfaces, such as vents. Our technicians have extensive knowledge of each dry ice blasting variation and its advantages, and they use that knowledge to select the most strategic method for every client’s unique cleaning task.

Another critical factor that our dry ice blasting technicians consider is oxygen displacement. In enclosed spaces and areas with poor ventilation, the dry ice cleaning process can displace oxygen and make it difficult for humans to breathe. Our teams assess the environment and use specialized breathing equipment to ensure that they can accomplish the cleaning task at hand without endangering themselves or others in the area.

Mold and Other Valuable Applications

Mold is a notorious invader of many facilities, and dry ice blasting is an ideal method for eradicating it quickly and safely with no moisture or added contaminants. The shaved dry ice version of our cleaning application, in particular, is extremely effective in penetrating hard-to-reach and hard-to-see areas, blasting mold away from surfaces so that it can be easily vacuumed and disposed of.

Dry ice blasting in its various forms is so versatile that it would be difficult to list all of the contexts in which it shines. Even smoke damage, which involves incredibly small microscopic particles, can be cleaned efficiently using cryogenic cleaning. The service is frequently used to clean antique surfaces and even books that have become contaminated by mold, mildew, or dust, completely removing contaminants without negatively affecting the underlying surfaces.

Thompson Industrial Services: Dry Ice Blasting and Other Cleaning Services

You can trust the dry ice cleaning experts at Thompson Industrial Services to complete your toughest cleaning jobs while adhering to the highest standards in safety. We look forward to assisting you and providing expert services in dry ice blasting, chemical cleaning, hydroblasting, as well as pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation that perfectly fit your facility’s needs. Please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.

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.