Alfa Laval warns industry against ‘run-to-fail’ attitude toward plate heat exchangers15 September 2020

Plate heat exchangers (PHE) are misunderstood across industry, according to manufacturer and engineering firm Alfa Laval.

It says: “If proper servicing and maintenance are overlooked, it can allow assets to reach a state of disrepair and lead to catastrophic and complex consequences for businesses. Low energy efficiency, higher carbon emissions, danger to staff, low production yields and poor product quality are some of the main consequences many operators are risking.”

The company also says that customers commonly specify PHEs years ahead of their becoming fully operational within a plant. During that period, the heat demand or accompanying technology may change.

Alfa Laval managing director Mikael Hellborg says: “We estimate there are thousands of PHEs - of all brands and sizes - in operation that are not fully optimised and could be draining businesses unnecessarily. Further compounding the issue is the disruption caused by COVID-19 and its significant impact on supply chains, cashflows and capacities leaving many businesses without capital to upgrade existing equipment. Implementing a comprehensive service and maintenance approach could actually help circumnavigate some of these issues.

“Complacency will only lead to further problems. ‘Run-to-fail’ is a false economy and that actually plant, process and production managers can play their part in improving operational efficiency, competitiveness and, most pertinently, changing regulations relating to net-zero goals.”

The company has produced a whitepaper on the subject, available via the link below.

William Dalrymple

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Alfa Laval Ltd

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