Check the exchange rates
West Country Welding Supplies

Cleaning Case Study - Dublin's Spire clean again - West Country Welding Supplies, UK - West Country Welding Supplies, UK

Cleaning Case Study - Dublin's Spire clean again

It is often forgotten that stainless steel does require some maintenance. Thanks to cleaning company Mister Stainless and products from Avesta Finishing Chemicals, Dublin’s famous stainless steel spire is once again gleaming in the Republic of Ireland.

At 120 metres, Dublin’s Monument of Light (as it is officially known) is presumably the world’s tallest work of art. Made from stainless steel, the spire was erected in February 2003 on O’Connell Street in the Irish capital.

Previously, a statue to Admiral Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar had stood here. This had been destroyed by a bomb in 1966.

Tom Petherbridge of Mr Stainless points out the effect of cleaning. Photo: Paul O'Connell

Inset with light-emitting diodes at its tip, the spire tapers from a 3-metre diameter base to a top that is just 15 cm. Hence “the spike”, one of the many nicknames that Dubliners have given the monument. Rain, exhaust fumes and dust all led to the blast-treated spire becoming dirty and unattractive after a couple of years.

The long bank holiday of June 2007 saw a transformation. Mister Stainless, a Dublin-based company with long experience of cleaning, restoring and passivating stainless steel, returned the monument to its shining best.
Tom Petherbridge is the MD of Mister Stainless. “The results were fantastic. It was the spire’s height that presented the greatest challenge. To reach the top, the city of Dublin provided a large crane with a work cradle. It was also important that there was no wind or rain,” he relates.

When Dublin bought the spire, it was first thought that it would be self-cleaning. However, even stainless steel requires maintenance and regular cleaning. This is affirmed by Lesley Wendelrup, product manager at Avesta Finishing Chemicals, specialists in developing and selling chemical products for treating stainless steel surfaces.

Mister Stainless has a close collaboration with Avesta Finishing Chemicals. Avesta Classic Cleaner 401 was used to wash the spire and the environment-friendly Avesta FinishOne 630 was used to rebuild the protective passive layer. Both Lesley Wendelrup and Tom Petherbridge feel it is difficult to predict how long the finish will last.

“The spire needs cleaning every year and the city council has contracted us to repeat the cleaning next August,” reveals Tom Petherbridge, who believes there can be no guarantees as to how stainless steel will react in various environments.


Hand pump 415 is used for spraying Avesta Cleaner 401.
Photo: Paul O'Connell

“Stainless steel is something of a ‘diva’. With the right clothes, it can look amazing. However, it can also look awful,” he concludes.

Cleaning Dublin’s spire took nine hours and required a team of 12 people. The team looked after the crane and work cradle, washed, scrubbed and restored the stainless steel surface and then inspected the results to ensure that quality targets had been achieved.

Go to Stainless Steel Pickling Products

Back to top