Key Industries for Plate and Frame Heat Exchangers

Food and Beverage

Plate and frame heat exchangers serve many different purposes and are used in multiple industries. Within the food and beverage industry, the exchangers play a role in dairy production, as they are used in milk and cream pasteurization, milk reception, and ultra-high temperature sterilization (UHT). In regards to pasteurization, it is a process that involves heating certain food items to a specific temperature for a set period of time. The goal of this process is to kill microorganisms that could foster disease, spoil food, or lead to undesired fermentation. PHEs not only play a role in milk and cream pasteurization, but they also help purify many other products, too.

A second area of the food and beverage industry in which these specific exchangers operate is brewing, where they are used for wort boiling and cooling, as well as beer cooling. The third area they are used is in the production of soft drinks. The exchangers serve the purposes of water heating, energy drink pasteurization, sugar dissolving, and syrup pasteurization. And finally, within this industry, plate and frame heat exchangers play a part in fruit and juice processing.

Ethanol and Corn Processing

Another major area where plate and frame heat exchangers operate is the ethanol and corn processing industry. Particularly wide gap heat exchangers are used in mash cooling, beer/mash or beer/stillage interchange, fermenter cooling, and yeast propagation cooling. In addition, if the fluid being heated is weighed down by solids (e.g., beer), these specific exchangers can serve as vapor condensers.

Industrial Energy and Power Plants

Within power plants, proper safety relies on the cooling of oils, bearings, and rotor blades of diesel or gas motors; these same parts in steam or gas turbines need to be cooled, as well. A wide range of plate heat exchangers are produced in order to fuel this cooling. The exchangers also help make power generation more efficient.

Free Cooling/HVAC

Plate and frame heat exchangers also play a major role in ventilation. PHE’s take advantage of free cooling or chiller bypass. In turn, this means that water from cooling towers is able to bypass the chiller and flow directly into the heat exchanger. As a result, the number of hours the mechanical chiller operates decreases. This is beneficial in that some buildings, such as hospitals and skyscrapers, need cooling all year around regardless of the weather.


The marine industry relies heavily on plate and frame heat exchangers, as PHEs help maintain the primary engine oil cooler and the freshwater cooler. These exchangers serve other purposes on ships, too, as they help with tap-water production systems and HVAC systems. The main reasons PHEs are chosen over shell-and-tube exchangers is that they are much more efficient and compact, making them more suitable for the marine industry.