Evaluating Heating and Cooling Exchangers…

What are the main types of exchangers?

In dealing with heating and cooling exchangers, there are several options one can choose from. These options include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Shell and tube – Multiple tubes are hooked together inside a cylindrical shell. Liquid flows through these different sets of tubes during the cooling and heating process.
  • Fin – Heat is transferred from liquid to liquid by finned chambers.
  • Spiral – Uses a single flow channel that self-cleans and deters fouling.
  • Welded unit – Heating and cooling takes place inside a welded steel frame that can be quickly disassembled for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Plate and frame – A frame holds a specific number of jointed plates that can be easily removed and adjusted.

Typically, plate and frame heat exchangers are the most popular choice, especially when they come with lower pressure heating and cooling applications. At DraCool USA, we specialize in plate and frame heat exchanger service, repair, and manufacturing. We are familiar with the other styles of heat exchangers also, so if you have questions, need suggestions, or would like a replacement, please let us know.

What makes plate heat exchangers better than their alternatives?

Plate heat exchangers are more efficient than their competitors. For example, the “U factor” (overall heat transfer) can be up to 3 to 5 times greater with PHEs. The reason behind this is that the large surface area of all the plates combined allows for a greater heat transfer rate, which in turn allows the temperature to change at a faster rate. In addition to a greater heat transfer speed, plate heat exchangers also have a flexible heat transfer area, allowing you to easily add and subtract plates. This enables you to adjust the number of plates to meet the needs of a specific task, making the PHE one of the more flexible types of exchangers. Finally, PHEs save space, as they typically are about 1/3 the size of the average shell and tube exchanger.