Plate-and-Frame Heat Exchangers

onsidering available heat exchanger technolo-gies at the outset of process design (at the ed metal plates fitted between a thick, carbon-steel frame.Each plate flow channel is sealed with a gasket,a weld or an alternating combination of the two. It is not uncommon for plate-and-frame heat exchangers to have overall heat-transfer coefficients that are three to four times those found in shell-and-tube heat exchangers.

Heat Exchangers
This three-part series outlines the lost opportunities and the importance of proper heat exchanger selection. This arti-cle discusses some general aspects of plate-and-frame heat
process synthesis stage) is not general prac-tice. In fact, procedures established in some companies preclude it. For instance, some purchasing de-partments’ “nightmare” is having to deal with a single sup-plier — instead they want a general specification that can be sent to all equipment vendors, in the mistaken belief that they are then operating on a “level playing field.”This omission is both unfortunate and costly. It results in unnecessary cap-ital expenditure and in reduced energy efficiency. It also hinders the develop-ment of energy saving technology.
Pinch analysis is the key tool used by engineers to develop flowsheets of ener-gy-intensive processes, where heat ex-changer selection is particularly impor-tant. Yet, this tool is hindering the adop-tion of a more-progressive approach be-cause of the way it is restricted to tradi-tional heat exchangers.
Numerous articles have been pub-lished regarding the advantages of com-pact heat exchangers. Briefly, their higher heat-transfer coefficients, com-pact size, cost effectiveness, and unique ability to handle fouling fluids make them a good choice for many services.A plate-and-frame heat exchanger (Figure 1) consists of pressed, corrugat

exchangers, outlines a procedure for accurately estimating the required area, and shows how these units can be used to simplify processes. Part 2 (which will appear next month) covers integrating plate-and-frame exchangers (and other compact technologies) into pinch analysis for new plants,while Part 3 (which also will appear next month) deals with the application of plate-and-frame exchangers and pinch technology to retrofits.

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