Innovations in Maintenance Technology

Facility managers with chillers and heat exchangers in their buildings know that a big part of routine maintenance is merely keeping the equipment clean. Cleaning the internal components, cleaning the housing, and even washing down the work area might be a messy and tedious job, but it’s necessary to ensure the proper function of the HVAC system. Clean equipment simply runs better and breaks down less frequently.

Over the years the complexity of HVAC equipment has increased, but many basic maintenance tasks like cleaning haven’t changed very much. Luckily for technicians, the tools needed to perform this work have improved, and dirty jobs like cleaning, pressure washing, or descaling can be completed faster than ever before.

Goodway Technologies has always led the HVAC service industry by offering maintenance equipment with advanced features and time-saving accessories to help technicians service equipment as fast as possible during a workday. More than 30 years ago, Goodway introduced its GPW-1000-P pressure washer that, at the time, was the only high powered portable pressure washer using compressed air. The extra power of compressed air combined with an explosion-proof motor gave staff working in dangerous facilities a machine that was safe, but strong enough to tackle their toughest cleaning jobs. Even today, businesses still use the GPW-1000-P for cleaning in hazardous environments, a testament to the machine’s sturdiness and durability.

For decades, heat exchanger and chiller tubes were cleaned with a simple rod and brush making tube cleaning, or “punching”, one of the dirtiest and most labor-intensive maintenance tasks. However, as the industry matured, the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a report in 1984 on ways to prevent and remove heat exchanger fouling. The report noted that Goodway’s original Ream-A-Matic® (RAM) tube cleaner was effective at cleaning heat exchanger tubes and that the machine’s design had “applications in virtually every industry.” The Ream-A-Matic was a portable cleaning system built with a flexible hose, called a lance, tipped with a rotating cleaning head. A technician inserted the lance into the chiller or heat exchanger tubes and switched on the machine. The rotating brush head pushed its way down the tube, scraping off debris as it moved. The cleaning was assisted by a water stream built into the lance, and the water flushed out the fouling that the brush removed. When one chiller was cleaned, the technician took advantage of the Ream-A-Matic’s large selection of brushes and connected a properly sized brush for the next set of tubes.

The first Ream-A-Matic laid the foundation for Goodway’s current line of tube cleaners. Today’s cleaners include the RAM-4® Tube Cleaner and the RAM-5® Tube Cleaner that comes with a variable speed motor, trigger control, and footswitch, great for cleaning large tube bundles. In fact, the advanced features of the RAM-5 let technicians clean over 1,000 tubes in just four hours. However, offering a sophisticated and durable machine is only one-way Goodway improves the efficiency of tube cleaning.

Goodway has taken the next step in streamlining the tube cleaning process by offering a “Quick Connect” feature on its flexible shafts and cleaning brushes. Setting up the tube cleaning equipment at the beginning of a job is faster when operators have a Quick Connect option. The technician can roll the cleaning machine, like the portable RAM-4, right up to the chiller and quickly snap on the flexible shaft and brushes in much less time than with threaded connections. The Quick Connect brushes have the added benefit of never twisting off inside the tube because the Quick Connect design locks them in place during the cleaning. When it’s time to move to a different piece of HVAC equipment, service techs can disconnect one brush and attach another without spending extra time with threaded brushes. For facility shops using older Goodway cleaning equipment like the original Ream-A-Matic, an adapter piece can be added that so the newer flexible tubes with Quick Connect can be used.

As chiller technology developed, the design of the chiller tubes also changed. Instead of making tubes with a smooth internal surface, many new chillers have “internally enhanced tubes” where the tube is built with a spiral groove on the inside surface. The spiraling provides more internal tube surface area and creates turbulence in the water as it passes through the tube. Spiraling increases the heat transfer through the tubes making the chiller more efficient, but the rough inside surface makes cleaning more difficult. An article in Contracting Business noted that “rotary tube cleaners have proven to be the best suited for cleaning internally enhanced tubes” compared to other methods like high-pressure water jets. Goodway’s portable rotary cleaners with Quick Connect shafts and brushes are simply the most effective and fastest way HVAC service technicians can keep chillers and heat exchanger tubes clean and transferring heat efficiently.

Goodway has been a trusted name in the HVAC industry for over 50 years. From their early innovations in commercial power washing to modern day advances in tube cleaning systems, your cleaning and maintenance department will always have the best tools to make tough jobs go smoother with Goodway.

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