Fin Fan Air Cooled Condenser Units (ACC) Cleaned in Environmentally Sensitive Manner

Air cooled fin fan condensers cleaned using ‘contained’ method

Serious fouling inside and outside several air-cooled condenser tubes had begun to affect production rate at an oil refinery in the UK. Tube Tech’s task was to reduce the time for a critical path cleaning project by half.

The Challenge

  • Both the delicate external aluminium fins and internal tubes had become fouled and blocked.
  • There was virtually no heat transfer capacity left across three banks of updraft fin fan condensers.
  • The fouling on the fin fan air cooled condenser (ACC) was negatively affecting the oil refineries production capacity.


  • The air-cooled condensers required internal and external cleaning.
  • The Tube Tech Planning Team recommended their bespoke Multi-SafeFlex system in conjunction with a 100% environmentally friendly, biodegradable wash which expands on contact.
  • Apart from giving the most efficient clean possible, another advantage of this twin-pronged approach over standard tube jetting was the SafetyBoss.
  • This innovation ensures several lances and jets can be used simultaneously and safely side by side by one or two operatives.
  • The fin fan cleaning was done within a narrow 3 foot walkway with no scaffolding requirements.
  • The SafetyBoss eliminates the risk of lances exiting the tube whilst cleaning.
  • The biodegradeable wash was applied from both sides.
  • Tube Tech are able to apply the wash while the fin fan units are on-line.
  • This approach enabled a number of cleaning actions to be carried out simultaneously whereas standard high-pressure jetting involves one manual lancing process at a time within confined areas.
  • Mindful that downtime was costly for the client, Tube Tech completed the work in less than two days, more than halving the time of competitors’ three days.
  • Tube Tech’s “contained” method meant waste from the fin fan cleaning contract could be captured and directed in a controlled manner to ground level, maintaining a clean working environment.

Tube Tech Comment

Mike Watson, Technical & Managing Director: “We were asked to reduce downtime, improve cleanliness and improve safety against European competition. The team achieved all three. Our company objective of achieving far more than was expected of us was fulfilled. It was another example of how looking at situations in a different way can create amazing results. We encourage clients to resist the ‘done it this way for so long, why change’ approach, in place of our inventive, technology driven route. This has led to literally millions of dollars in quantifiable savings for many of our clients by improving production rates, reducing mechanical costs and upping plant efficiencies.”

Images and videos associated with this project are available via Tube Tech International
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