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Alfa Laval claims that regular condition monitoring of Plate Heat Exchangers (PHEs) using its Alfacheck system could save thousands of pounds.

This is because the system enables the PHEs to be cleaned as and when required, instead of according to a predetermined schedule.

As an example, if fouling reduces the heat transfer efficiency of a large plate heat exchanger with an average flow of 1,000m3 by 15 per cent, it could cost EUR270,000 in terms of lost energy – assuming it takes two months to remedy the problem.

This figure is based on an average heat transfer of 25,000kW/h, which would be reduced by 15 per cent – amounting to energy losses of 90,000kW/h a day.

Assuming each kW/h costs EUR0.05, the financial loss equals EUR4,500 every day which, over two months, adds up to EUR270,000.

Alfacheck helps evaluate the health of individual plate heat exchangers by monitoring key performance data using four temperature gauges and a flow gauge mounted on the outside of the heat exchanger pipes.

These transfer data, such as temperature differentials and flow rate, to a data logger, from which they are collected by an Alfa Laval engineer.

The engineer runs the data through a tailored thermal analysis software program.

This compares the subject heat exchanger’s data against benchmarks laid down for every Alfa Laval plate heat exchanger and indicates its condition using simple colour codes; green indicates that everything is working properly and no remedial action is required, while yellow flags up the need to start planning for cleaning and red is a warning that immediate action is required immediately.

Alfa Laval's operations are based on leading global positions in the three key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling. Continuous product development is essential to strengthen competitiveness. About 2.7 per cent of total sales are invested annually in research and development, resulting in 25–30 new product launches a year.

Alfa Laval's products are sold in approximately 100 countries, 50 of which have their own sales organisations. The company has 20 large production units (12 in Europe, six in Asia and two in the US) and 70 service centres.

The customer's peace of mind depends on having the right service setup. For Alfa Laval, service is a total concept that covers everything from supplying the smallest spare part to being a lifetime performance partner. Alfa Laval has a global network with more than 200 skilled service specialists, a broad range of competitive service solutions, unique expertise based on more than 120 years in business and service centres in hundreds of locations in more than 50 countries.

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