Fin Fan (External Fins) Overhead Crude, Air-Cooled Condensers Cleaned with Minimal Scaffold in the UK

SafeJeTT high pressure water system removes fin fan fouling


Higher summer temperatures put extra pressure on external fin fan banks at a UK refinery. Deposits were varied and deeply embedded within the air cooled heat exchangers. Tube Tech used innovative cleaning systems to clean the external fins of the finned tubes.

Row of fin fan condensers Finned Tubes Morning cleaning information

Fin Fan Cleaning Challenge

  • External fin fan cooler banks had become fouled by heavy deposits.
  • Fin fan fouling reduces the efficiency of the heat exchangers.
  • Cooling capacity could be problematic in high temperature summer conditions.
  • Client wanted to keep scaffold requirements to a minimum to reduce additional costs.
  • Client wanted only a few fin fan air cooled condensers to be off line at one time as they wanted production to continue at full rate while the cleaning operation was carried out.


  • Tube Tech recommended its robotic SafeJeTT system of high-pressure water jetting as the best way to remove the fouling.
  • Tube Tech also used its own design of extendible and balanced lances to achieve the highest quality clean,
  • Only a small access/safety scaffold is required therefore keeping costs to a minimum.
  • This is a Tube Tech method which has effectively cleaned heat exchangers on oil installations around the world.
  • The technicians on site carried out the cleaning work at night when both the equipment and ambient temperatures were lower and a few coolers at a time could be taken off line.
  • There was no reduction in production during the clean.

Client comment:

A refinery spokesman said: “The fin fan cleaning was done on night shift with no disruption to the running of the plant. We tried to reduce the amount of scaffolding as the safety of personnel was the main objective, irrelevant of cost. It was completed ahead of plan and the feedback from our Operations Department shows increased cooling capacity has been achieved.”

Tube Tech Comment:

Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager: “We used our well tried and tested method for this fin fan cleaning contract and it was yet again very successful. Tube Tech has successfully performed similar work at many plants worldwide. There are always small challenges to overcome. With the work carried out at night and in a short period of time there was no production loss for the client.”

For more information or to discuss your cleaning challenge call us on +44 1268 786999 or e-mail, alternatively click here to fill out our contact form.