Helios Automatic Tube Cleaning System FAQs

by | May 19, 2014 | Automatic Tube Cleaning System | 0 comments

Here at Innovas Technologies, we receive a lot of questions regarding our Helios automatic tube cleaning system, as it is a departure from the status quo of periodic manual tube cleaning. Below are some of the more commonly asked questions. If you don’t see the information you’re looking for here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

What are the balls made of?

The balls are made of soft natural sponge rubber or silicone sponge rubber, depending on the application.

How often do the balls need to be changed, and how hard is it to change them?

The ball life is dependent on the roughness of the tubes and frequency of ball injection. Typically, the balls will last approximately 1000 hours of chiller operation. Changing the balls is simple, and requires less than 10 minutes with no interruption to the chiller process. Because the balls are inexpensive and changed easily, clients often choose to put ball changes on a monthly PM schedule for ease of scheduling.

How much do the balls cost?

For a Helios in a typical chiller application (approx. 500 tons) the cost of balls for the year would be less than $100, while energy cost savings are typically thousands of dollars.

What happens to the balls over time? Do they break up and send bits of ball material downstream?

With use, the balls begin to become dense and lose their elasticity. If left in operation for extended periods (in excess of several months) they can lose effectiveness, so it is important to change them regularly. They do not break apart unless left in operation for extremely long periods (eight months or longer).

Will the use of this technology void the warranty on my chiller?

No, the Helios will not impact the chiller warranty. We have approached many major chiller manufacturers, including Trane, Carrier, McQuay, etc. with this question and our technology is in use on many chillers manufactured by these firms. The Helios does not perform any function that would jeopardize the manufacturer’s warranty, and from the manufacturer’s perspective is not considered different (and is actually less detrimental) than “typical” tube brushing or chemical cleaning.

The walls on my chiller’s tubes are thin. Will the friction of the balls cause wear on the tubes?

Actually, the Helios system will extend the service life of the chiller. The balls Innovas Technologies utilizes are soft sponge material, and do not have abrasive coatings or additives. Additionally, the reason most tube failures occur is pitting corrosion, which is worse and occurs most often underneath deposits that build up on tubes during normal chiller operation. The Helios prevents these deposits from adhering to the tubes, thus extending the life of the tube bundle. In fact, representatives from major chiller manufacturers have stated that by keeping the tubes perfectly clean using Helios technology, the useful life of a chiller will be extended by 3-5 years.

What happens to the material that the balls remove from the tubes?

The Helios is placed into operation when the chiller has clean tubes (on initial startup for a new chiller, or after one last cleaning for an existing chiller) and prevents material from building up on the tubes. The material that would have deposited on the tubes remains suspended in the cooling water and is discharged with the cooling tower blow-down water. It’s similar to wiping off your desk or countertop every 20 minutes and then rinsing your sponge—not a lot of material is removed with each pass, but the surface remains perfectly clean.

Does the system use any water?

No, the Helios is a water neutral system. All water used for ball injection and collection is simply re-routed within the cooling system.

How much does it cost to operate the Helios system?

The total cost of operations for a Helios system depends on multiple factors, including system size and local electricity costs. For a Helios in a typical chiller application (approx. 500 tons) the total cost of operation is typically less than $400 per year, while annual savings in energy and maintenance reduction is many thousands of dollars.

Is the system Eligible for Rebates?

Yes, most utility companies granting rebates recognize the Helios as energy-saving technology eligible for energy rebates.

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