Wednesday, 23 January 2019 08:52

Energy-saving fouling removal pioneers launch R&D enterprise to mark 30 years in business

Recognised for its world-leading technologies to remove fouling from processindustries’ most critical assets, Tube Tech International (TTIL) is celebrating 30 years in business with the launch of a new arm that reflects the research and innovation-driven ethos behind the company’s success.

Founded in the UK in 1988, TTIL has become the go-to fouling removal service provider and often a lifeline for oil and gas companies, including global majors, experiencing a costly decrease in performance due to fouling build-up within static fired and unfired heat transfer units.

Founder, serial inventor and CEO Mike WatsonFounder, serial inventor and CEO Mike WatsonThe Essex-born company, now employing 28 members of staff, has delivered unprecedented energy savings to refineries and petrochemical plants spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and the USA – where, in 2018, it launched Tube Tech Inc; a fully owned subsidiary of TTIL based in Houston, Texas.

The firm has also been awarded €5m from two competitive rounds of European Union (EU) research and innovation funding. As part of the EU’s current Horizon 2020 programme, TTIL is developing the world’s first automated external ‘shell side’ heat exchanger cleaning system to remove near 100% of previously inaccessible fouling, thereby substantially reducing CO2 emissions and wasted energy. 

From its humble beginnings to the impact TTIL has made on the industry three decades on, founder, serial inventor and CEO Mike Watson reflected on TTIL’s history. He said: “I started Tube Tech from my bedsit in Shoebury, Essex, where my first job was to invent a self-sufficient machine to unblock a 1km irrigation pipe in a farmer’s field without access to any facilities. The following year I worked on a project for a major oil and gas company, then an oil platform, and from there, the rest is history. Innovation was what this competitive industry needed and will always need to dramatically reduce industry’s carbon footprint as well as increase efficiency, throughput and profit. There will always be a better solution for fouling removal; which is what has been driving our business for 30 years.”

With research and development central to TTIL’s global success, the company has marked its 30th year in business with the launch of Tube Tech Research and Development Ltd; a new company dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology to provide innovative solutions to cleaning in all industrial areas. In addition to self-funded developments, the team is in the champion’s league for Innovate UK and EU grant-funded projects.

Industry partnerships have also contributed to TTIL’s focus on improving service provision, including recent alliances with century-old leading metal processing company Manoir Industries, and USA-based ParFab Companies; a fabrication and field service company for the global industrial market.

With live trials underway, 2019 will see TTIL introduce the latest ground-breaking robotic fouling removal technology to the market. The next generation robot is highly automated, sensor driven and records images before, during and after the clean. Further details are to be released in January.

Mike, who was highly commended for the IoD East of England Director of the Year Award in 2017, continued: “I’m really proud of my teams both in admin and operations, pulling in the same direction and supporting each other. It has always been my aim to empower staff to build relationships with each other, clients and suppliers and innovate at every step – with no limits. They are all part of our end goal to protect the environment that sustains us all. Our technicians and engineers are so highly trained they could get a job anywhere, but the fact that they choose to stay with us at TTIL is testament to our company’s success.”

About Tube Tech International

Founded in the UK in 1988

Tube Tech International is the global leader in research-led, high-tech fouling removal and inspection services, constantly investing in and developing tried and tested, step change methods to solve heavy industries’ most difficult cleaning challenges.

Tube Tech International’s patented methods, including remotely operated robotic technology, achieve significant savings, reduce downtime and CO2 emissions, increase throughput and improve safety standards. 

Tube Tech International’s robotic technology has recently been granted government funding as part of Horizon 2020; the biggest European Union research and innovation programme to date. Its patented Shell Side Jet™ solution will deliver the very first technology to effectively remove fouling from the outside heat transfer surface of shell and tube exchangers.

In 2018, Tube Tech Inc. U.S. base of operations was launched in Houston, Texas.

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