Robotic Cleaning Machines Keep Employees Out of Job Site Danger Zones

Seneca Waste Solutions minimizes the hazards of the conditions it finds in the industrial cleaning world by relying on remote-controlled units from StoneAge

Robotic Cleaning Machines Keep Employees Out of Job Site Danger Zones

Chris Biellier, vice president of environmental and strategic partnerships for Seneca Companies. 

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Cleaning heat exchangers, evaporators, condensers, process-piping and other industrial-processing equipment is a risky proposition for employees of industrial cleaning contractors.

That’s why Seneca Waste Solutions, a division of Seneca Companies that’s based in Des Moines, Iowa, invested $325,000 in three remote-controlled, automated tube-bundle cleaning systems made by StoneAge Inc.

The automated units, which are paired with Jetstream (a subsidiary of Federal Signal Corp.) and NLB Corp. hydroblasting equipment, are operated by wireless technology. That allows employees to be physically removed from high-pressure blasting zones and other potential hazards that loom while working with machines that generate intense, high-pressure water streams ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 psi.

“We recently started doing tube-bundle cleaning for several large manufacturing plants, bio-fuel refineries, chemical plants and food-processing facilities,” says Chris Biellier, vice president of environmental and strategic partnerships for Seneca Companies. “StoneAge is advancing the industry by developing this kind of equipment. Safety is our top priority and we are committed to make the necessary investments to keep our employees safe and working productively.”

The StoneAge units not only boost job site safety, they also increase productivity and minimize employee fatigue, Biellier says. For example, to clean tube bundles with a manually operated lancing machine, experienced operators have to rely on feel to gauge how fast or slow to advance the cleaning tip in order to obtain the best cleaning results. But the StoneAge units are able to figure that out with intelligent technology that also stores data related to the cleaning process.

“We can also pull that data and tell customers exactly how long it took to clean, the condition of the tubes and so forth, which helps them plan more efficiently,” Biellier says.

Moreover, the automated cleaners reduce the manpower required on job sites. A job that used to take up to eight people now might require as little as three, Biellier says.

“That allows us to handle multiple plant shutdowns (for scheduled maintenance) with the same amount of people,” he says. “It’s a differentiator our competitors can’t offer.”

Read more about Seneca Waste Solutions in this full profile featured in the March 2019 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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