Case Study: Coal - Hydroblast and Explosive Cleaning

CLIENT: Midwest Coal-Fired Facility

SERVICE: Hydroblast and Explosive Cleaning



ExPro contacted this coal-fired power station operating 2 – 600 MW units in the Mid-west as they began to outline plans for their next scheduled outage. Historically, the plant has needed 36-48 hours to deslag their boiler and an additional 36-48 hours to wash their backpass. These lengthy schedules create delays to additional work that needs to be completed, costing the plant extra money, and putting their outage over budget before it even starts.



With frustrations building, ExPro met with the plant on multiple occasions and two things were very clear. The plant needed a quicker and better way to deslag their boiler and with an aging plant workforce, they needed a more efficient way of cleaning their backpass.



For the boiler, ExPro went to work using detcord to explosively deslag the boiler, a cleaning method this plant had never used before. We estimated this cleaning method would take approximately 24 hours to complete.

For the backpass, ExPro utilized a patented “backpass” machine, which is a fully automated, high volume/high pressure oscillating water cleaning system. This technology is remotely controlled from outside the backpass area, making it extremely safe and effective. Similar to the boiler, we estimated this automated cleaning would take 24 hours.



As planned, both the boiler and backpass services were completed in 24 hours, saving the plant a minimum of 24-48 hours of additional downtime. Not only did this allow the plant to complete additional maintenance and stay on budget, cutting 24-48 hours of downtime allows the plant to get back to generating power/money that much sooner.

With data collected from ExPro’s top 10 customers, we estimate each minute a coal-fired plant of this size is down due to a scheduled outage (low demand period) they lose approximately $500/min. Using that calculation, ExPro saved this plant between $720K – $1.4M strictly due to the time saved, not including additional money saved due to the highly efficient nature of our innovative cleaning methods.

This plant now utilizes ExPro for both cleaning services for every scheduled outage.




“I have used several boiler explosive cleaning companies in the past taking 24 to 48 hours to deslag the boiler.  Since using ExpPro, the boiler deslagging has never exceeded 24 hours.”

“In the past, the boiler backpass wash has taken 36 to 60 hours using a firehose.  ExPro presented their automated backpass wash system and now using ExPro automated backpasss wash system the boiler backpass wash is being completed in 24 or less including setup and removal.”

“ExPro has been a time saver cleaning the boiler for safe entry prior to starting boiler outage work using their explosive boiler deslagging crew and boiler backpass wash crew bringing in a dedicated trained crew to get the job done right the first time and most importantly safely too.”

Senior Boiler Engineer

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