Fired Heaters Tubes (Finned Convection)

NEW "Between Fins" Cleaning Technology achieves optimum performance and no refractory damage.

A large European refinery contacted Tube Tech looking for an innovative cleaning method for the fouled convection banks of three furnaces. The furnaces were so badly fouled that attempts to chemically clean and water jet from two existing side doors had failed and in fact had made the fouling worse after using local traditional contractors.

The Challenge

  • An uneven fouling covered at least 70% of the convection bank finned surface.
  • Deposit was airborne hydro carbon dust and refractory fines – packed tightly between all rows of convection side fined heater tubes
  • Severely restricted access to the convection section.
  • To clean the tube side using studded pigging at the same time.


  • Tube Tech used the existing access ports to operate remote cleaning technology to clean the convection heater banks.
  • Tube Tech developed a unique system (bespoke applied) to clean “between the convection heater bank fins” and to clean 360 degrees using a low volume water system as well as a dry, food grade blast medium at high pressure with volumes as low as barely 1 litre of water per minute.
  • No damage was caused to the refractory.
  • Extremely low volume waste created.
  • Tube Tech also inspected between the fins to confirm cleanliness.
  • Tube internal bores were cleaned and inspected using a sub contractor and managed by Tube Tech.

Tube Tech Comment

“We believe this is the first time the convection bank of a finned heater furnace has been cleaned back to production standard by using “between fin” cleaning technology. Whilst the radiant section had been cleaned previously by chemical means the convection bank was too heavily fouled to allow chemical cleaning. These convection banks within this particular heater furnace had not been cleaned for over 22 years. The resulting performance increase was immense.” As a result of this project, Tube Tech have since developed a prototype to clean certain heaters, furnaces with finned convection tubes without cutting panels in the side wall.

Related Case Studies

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