Advantages of Plate Heat Exchangers in Commercial Application
Flexibility: Simple disassembly enables the adaptation of PHEs to new process requirements by simply adding or removing plates, or rearranging the number of passes. Moreover, the variety of patterns of plate corrugations available, together with the possibility of using combinations of them in the same PHE, means that various conformations of the unit can be tested during optimization procedures.
Good temperature control: Due to the narrow channels formed between adjacent plates, only a small volume of fluid is contained in a PHE. The device therefore responds rapidly to changes in process conditions, with short lag times, so that the temperatures are readily controllable. This is important when high temperatures must be avoided. Furthermore, the shape of the channels reduces the possibility of stagnant zones (dead space) and areas of overheating.
Low manufacturing cost: As the plates are only pressed (or glued) together, rather than welded, PHE production can be relatively inexpensive. Special materials may be used to manufacture the plates in order to make them more resistant to corrosion and/or chemical reactions.
Efficient heat transfer: The corrugations of the plates and the small hydraulic diameter enhance the formation of turbulent flow, so that high rates of heat transfer can be obtained for the fluids. Consequently, up to 90% of the heat can be recovered, compared to only 50% in the case of shell-and-tube heat exchangers.
Compactness: The high thermal effectiveness of PHEs means that they have a very small footprint. For the same area of heat transfer, PHEs can often occupy 80% less floor space (sometimes 10 times less), compared to shell-and-tube heat exchangers.
Reduced fouling: Reduced fouling results from the combination of high turbulence and a short fluid residence time. The scale factors for PHEs can be up to ten times lower than for shell-and-tube heat exchangers.
Ease of inspection and cleaning: Since the PHE components can be separated, it is possible to clean and inspect all the parts that are exposed to fluids. This feature is essential in the food processing and pharmaceutical industries.
Easy leak detection: The gaskets have vents that prevent fluids from mixing in the case of a failure, which also facilitate locating leaks.
Given all these advantages of PHEs, plate heat exchanger is widely used in many fields, such as Power plant, Mechanical steel, Heating and Petrochemical, etc.