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

October 13, 2018

New Possibilities for Boiler Tube Cleaning

Boiler tube cleaning is one area, in particular, where the automated technologies that we use here at Thompson Industrial Services have made a fundamental change in maintenance downtime. The biggest reason for this is the incredible difficulty of cleaning boiler tubes that are irregular in any way—that is, bent, warped, heavily plugged, or difficult to reach—using manual equipment. But manipulating cleaning equipment with remotely controlled robotic positioners instead eliminates many of the difficulties, as a recent successful project illustrates:

Thanks for the Referral!

The more clients we serve, the more the word gets around about the power, creativity, and speed of our industrial services teams. It’s always a special privilege when a company we’ve worked with in the past recommends us to a new client, and that’s what happened at a South Carolina automotive parts manufacturer. The plant needed to accomplish extensive maintenance on a boiler, which was inhibited in large part by heavily plugged and damaged boiler tubes. A service provider working on the project had worked with Thompson Industrial Services in the past, and they recommended that the plant have one of our teams come in and accomplish the necessary, long-overdue boiler tube cleaning. Fortunately, the plant managers took the advice and gave us a call to see what we could do.

Our boiler tube indexing system is incredibly fast—and incredibly accurate.

A Difficult Situation

To start with, the boiler tube cleaning would require a lot of power. The tubes were severely plugged and dirty, suffering from the buildup of tough scale that was restricting flow and diminishing the equipment’s efficiency. As in many cases, access to the boiler tubes was very difficult, requiring technicians to work in a confined space. This is where the automated approach of Thompson Industrial Services really shines. For the first step of the boiler tube cleaning process, inspecting and indexing the tubes, our team used our remote control camera system, allowing them to get a clear picture of the situation extremely quickly, without having to obtain confined entry permits and have a technician work under difficult conditions.

Speed and Accuracy

The speed of the camera inspection was just the beginning. Our team then put our automated boiler tube cleaning technology to work, removing the toughest scale deposits with incredible speed and accuracy. One of the most valuable benefits of our system is the fact that we use flexible lances, which are able to easily clean boiler tubes that are warped or bent. Many of these tubes spend years or decades without being cleaned, because manually manipulated rigid lances cannot reach past a certain point along a warped tube’s length.

The Numbers

When the plant managers saw the results of our team’s boiler tube cleaning work, they were very happy with them, to say the least. In the past, a project of this scale would have required several shifts of work, with five or six technicians working on each shift. Even then, if some of the boiler tubes were irregular in shape, 100% cleaning could not be guaranteed. The team from Thompson Industrial Services was able to accomplish the project with 100% removal of debris in all boiler tubes, and they were able to do it in just over one shift. The total time needed for the project was reduced by 30-40%, which meant a much shorter downtime requirement for the client’s equipment. Finally, because the equipment our team used was fully automated, only three technicians were needed on a shift, as opposed to the typical five or six. The reduced personnel, shortened downtime, and complete boiler tube cleaning all combined to save the client a large amount of money compared with other cleaning options.

Thompson Industrial Services: The Boiler Tube Cleaning Experts

At Thompson Industrial Services, we have been accomplishing boiler tube cleaning, boiler chemical cleaning, and other specialized tasks for decades. Our focus on automation has saved downtime and money for clients across the country, and we continue to enjoy recommendations from those satisfied clients to new contacts that have similar issues in their facilities. We hope you will get in touch with us for fast, accurate, and safe industrial services from aerial drone inspection to in-situ SCR catalyst component cleaning, as well as safe pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation.

September 11, 2018

Safety Comes First: Cleaning Heat Exchanger and Other Equipment

One of the priorities that has remained constant throughout the decades for us here at Thompson Industrial Services is safety. Whether we’re cleaning heat exchanger components, dry ice blasting, or digging with our pneumatic vacuum excavation equipment, we are always committed to keeping our operations and the surrounding area safe. Many times, OSHA inspectors find that we’re not only meeting their requirements, but that our internal safety policies actually exceed those requirements! Our teams recently worked with a client that had a very good reason to place safety at the top of their priority list. Here’s how we helped them get the job done while keeping every employee safe from harm.

Accidents Can Happen

In our industry, we have always had to grapple with the idea of “human error.” Many of our safety policies are designed to minimize the opportunity for a human technician to make a mistake that could damage property or hurt someone else while they are cleaning heat exchanger equipment with a hydroblaster or performing some other task. The client in this particular case initially contacted us because they were specifically looking for an industrial services provider that could provide 100% automated hydroblasting at their chemical plant. Sadly, there had been a past incident at the plant in which an employee was injured in a hydroblasting accident. The plant understood that automated solutions could prevent many of those sorts of accidents, and they contacted a number of different providers to find out what they could do for them in terms of automation.

Thompson’s Audition

When we got the request, we were excited to show the client what our advanced automated solutions were capable of in terms of cleaning heat exchanger and other industrial equipment. We assembled a wide range of tools, including 3d and 2d tools for tank cleaning, automated shotgun equipment, and much more. At the site, we unloaded the trailer and spent a “trial week” working at the facility, showing the client how powerful, accurate, and most importantly, safe our hydroblasting equipment is when combined with remotely controlled positioning systems.
Our automated rigid lancing system at work
It’s always a great thing when we are able to do something truly remarkable for a client near the beginning of our working relationship, and that was certainly the case with our trial week with this client. The first line we tackled with our cleaning equipment was one that had never been thoroughly cleaned; in the past experts had told them that due to the nature of the line, it would never be possible to clean it to the level that they would like. But it didn’t take us long to set up our remotely controlled system, remove the debris from the interior of the line, and show the client that the line was now completely clean for the first time since it was installed.

A Week Becomes a Month

It turned out that the trial week was not enough time for our client—they wanted more of what Thompson Industrial Services could provide to clean the equipment at their chemical plant! That week stretched out into a month, and our teams worked on a wide range of equipment on the site with the same success as that initial line cleaning. Some of the equipment we’ve safely and completely cleaned there includes one-inch to six-inch lines, cyclones, tanks, and multiple drain lines. At a chemical plant, those units provide some very tough challenges in terms of types of debris and scale buildup, but our team completely satisfied the client with their speed, thoroughness, integrity, and of course, their constant attention to safety. Overall, the client was relieved and very impressed with the level of our team’s service, and we plan to return and provide more assistance at the site as needed.

Your Source for Hydroblasting and Chemical Cleaning

For heat exchangers, large vessels, piping, boilers, and other industrial equipment, our automated hydroblasting services make it possible to achieve cleaning with both thoroughness and safety. There’s a reason our motto is “Be safe, be good, be great,” with “Be safe” at the very beginning. The protection of your employees and our own is our first priority, and we hope you will give us the chance to prove it to you!

August 3, 2018

The Power of Hydro Excavation Continues to Expand

The applications that we offer our clients here at Thompson Industrial Services are extremely intricate, advanced, complex, and often based on technology that is at the cutting edge of our field. By the time we go public with a new service, there is an enormous amount of planning, research, testing, adjusting, fine-tuning, cost analysis, and other activity that has already taken place. That’s why it is so exciting for our team when we see a service like our pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation head out into the field and begin to yield great results for our clients. One of our divisions enjoyed that experience recently, putting their hydro excavation service to work for a client with an urgent need and coming through with flying colors.

Water Pipe Issues

A damaged, leaking water pipe buried underground is a huge problem, largely due to the fact that repairing the problem requires at least two steps. The actual repair of the leak is the second of the two steps and can only occur after step one is complete: locating the source of the leak, which is invisible and buried under several feet of earth. Our hydro excavation service was created to replace the outdated method that industrial facilities have always dreaded: bringing in heavy machinery and completely unearthing large swaths of ground just to find out where a water leak originated. This method carries with it all sorts of “side effects,” from contamination of the surrounding area (and subsequent tedious cleanup) to shutting down part of the facility’s activity for a prolonged period of time during the leak location/repair process.

Thompson Industrial Services Division 56

At a Midwest location for one of our clients, a broken potable water pipe required a leak detection and repair process that was as efficient as possible. The client contacted Division 56 of Thompson Industrial Services, the regional office closest to the site, and asked what they could offer. Our hydro excavation service was perfectly suited to this situation, and Division 56 quickly dispatched a team to the location to set up the equipment and begin probing the area for the precise location of the leak.
One of our powerhouse excavation trucks on the job

Once the safe digging equipment was set up, it took our team just three hours to detect the source of the water pipe leak. In addition to this incredibly short time frame, the detection process provided the benefit of keeping the surrounding area much cleaner than traditional methods, since the team did not need to displace large amounts of soil and rock. Accomplishing this task so quickly and safely gave our client a fantastic head start in repairing the leak and restoring the facility to full production.

Leaving a Good Impression

Particularly for a newer service like hydro excavation, word-of-mouth reputation is invaluable for an industrial services provider. Clients can be wary about a service provider doing things in a way that’s different from the older, “tried and true” method. But the Thompson Industrial Services reputation for safe, reliable service and our technicians’ intimate knowledge of the equipment they use go in front of us and inspire confidence in our clients when we tell them that we have developed a better way of doing things. The client that Division 56 helped in this case provided us with great feedback, noting that all of the facility’s field supervisors were impressed with the professional, safe, and expert activity that the team performed.

We are very excited to see how our hydro excavation services will gain traction around the country, as more and more facilities like our Midwest Division 56 client take advantage of its time-saving, safe digging capability. In addition, the companion service, pneumatic vacuum excavation, fills a need for ultra-clean and sensitive sites, where it is unacceptable to allow any dust, soil, or moisture to escape the excavation area and create a contamination risk. When a call comes in to one of our regional offices with an urgent need for safe excavation, our expert managers determine which service is best suited to the situation and dispatch a team of experienced technicians to resolve the issue as quickly, safely, and affordably as possible. Learn more about our pneumatic and hydro excavation services on our dedicated service page.

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.