Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

If you’re looking for reliable and professional tube heat exchanger services, look no further than WCR UK. Our experienced engineers can provide repairs, replacements, and new installations.

Shell and Tube repair and service

01246 856 396

Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

Shell and tube heat exchanger repair, service and sales

Shell and tube heat exchangers are a common industrial heat exchanger type suitable for applications such as oil refineries and large chemical processes and more.

They’re suitable for cooling water-soluble oil solutions in quenching tanks and for closed-circuit cooling of electrical equipment using demineralized water. These units work specifically well for processes containing fluids or gas mediums that can be highly corrosive to gasket materials. They can either condense gas or reclaim heat from the exhaust gas and perform extremely well for high-pressure applications between 400 to 750 psi.

At WCR UK, we have a team of experienced engineers who can provide comprehensive services for all types of tube heat exchangers, including:

Our heat exchanger services are available across the UK, so no matter where you are, we can help.

If you have any questions about our services or would like to discuss your specific requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today.

Request a quote

Call 01246 856 396 or use the form below to learn more about our shell and tube heat exchanger services.

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manufacturers we work with

At WCR UK Ltd, we understand the importance of having a reliable heat exchanger. That’s why we offer a comprehensive selection of high-quality replacement plates, gaskets and parts for all major manufacturers of heat exchangers. 


What is a shell and tube exchanger?

Shell and tube heat exchangers are part of the general heat exchanger family, including plate heat exchangers (PHEs) and brazed plate heat exchangers.

Heat exchangers are used for transferring heat from one medium to another, and various types are available on the market to suit different applications and industries.

They are suitable for higher pressures and temperatures than plate heat exchangers as the pressure drop is less than plate heat exchangers.

There are two main categories of tube heat exchangers: those that are used in the petrochemical industry, which tend to be covered by standards from TEMA, Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association; those that are used in the power industry, such as feedwater heaters and power plant condensers. 

How do shell and tube exchangers work?

Shell and tube heat exchangers consist of a shell (usually cylindrical) containing a bundle of tubes.

One fluid flows through the tubes while the other passes through the shell, and the heat is exchanged between the two fluids as they flow past each other.

The set of tubes is called a tube bundle and may be composed of several types of tubes: plain, longitudinally finned, etc.

This type of heat exchanger is suitable for high-pressure applications where the shell and tubes can be made from materials such as stainless steel or carbon steel.

Two fluids of different temperatures flow through a heat exchanger. One fluid flows through the tubes (the tube side), and the other flows outside the tubes inside the shell (the shell side).

Heat is transferred from one fluid to the other through the tube walls, either from the tube side to the shell side or vice versa.

The fluids can be either liquids or gases on the shell or the tube side. To transfer heat efficiently, a large heat transfer area should be used, leading to many tubes. In this way, waste heat can be put to use. This is an efficient way to conserve energy.

Shell and tube heat exchanger design

A shell and tube exchanger is one of the most popular heat exchangers due to its flexibility.

They can be used for many applications, different fluids and gasses for heat transfer and the shell and tube exchanger design can be customised to suit your specific needs.

The design consists of a shell (usually cylindrical) containing a bundle of tubes.

Shell construction

The shell is made from a pipe or rolled and welded plate metal. Low-carbon steel is the standard because it is less expensive, but other materials that can withstand extreme temperatures or corrosion may be used instead.

Using a commonly available shell pipe 24 inches in diameter will cost less and be easier to manufacture. This is partly because they are usually more round than rolled and welded shells.

The shell needs to be round and have a consistent inner diameter, so there is not too much space between the baffle outside edge and the shell. If there is too much space, fluid can get by, and the performance will be lower.

Baffles are used to direct the flow in the shell and tube sides such that the fluid velocity increases sufficiently to reach a high heat transfer coefficient and significantly reduce fouling, which is when unwanted materials form on the heat transfer surface.

Channels (Heads)

The channel type is chosen depending on what it will be used for. Most channels can be removed so people can get to the tubes.

The most common channel type is the bonnet. It is used for things that do not need the channel to be removed very often for inspection or cleaning.

The removable cover channel can have a flange or be welded to the tube sheet. The removable cover allows people to get to the channel and tubes for inspection or cleaning without removing the tube side’s piping.

The back channel is often selected to match the front channel. For example, a heat exchanger with a cover at the front head (B channel) will often have a cover at the rear head (M channel) and be designated as BEM.

Pass partitions are required in channels of heat exchangers with multiple tube passes. The pass partition plates direct the tube side fluid through multiple passes.

What is a u tube exchanger?

A U-tube heat exchanger is a tube and shell heat exchanger used in petroleum and chemical machinery.

Plate heat exchanger vs shell and tube

Plate heat exchangers are up to five times more efficient than shell-and-tube designs. This means that less energy is wasted. Heat recovery can be increased by exchanging existing shell-and-tubes for compact heat exchangers. This will put more energy back to use instead of wasting it.

Advantages of shell heat exchangers

  • Smaller designs usually cost less money.
  • Easier to service.
  • O-ring seals make them cheaper to service.
  • A solution for fluids, like seawater coolant, that might clog narrow spaces.
  • They can accommodate a variety of installation options, such as three-pass and two-pass header configurations.
  • This is ideal for hydraulic power packs, mining machinery, and seawater-cooled vessels. It is also perfect for swimming pool heating.

Advantages of plate heat exchangers;

  • More compact design.
  • A more affordable choice for whenever stainless steel is necessary.
  • The ability to withstand increased pressure.
  • Higher temperature capabilities.
  • Ideal for small district heating, beverage cooling, food and pharmaceutical production and low-duty oil cooling applications.

Shell and tube manufacturers

There are many shell and tube manufacturers to choose from. Some of the most popular manufacturers include Alfa Laval, Tranter, Kelvion, Sondex, GEA, and APV.

When selecting a manufacturer, you must consider your specific needs and requirements. Once you have a shortlist of potential manufacturers, you can request quotes and compare prices.

Some manufacturers offer custom design services. They can design and build a shell and tube heat exchanger to your specific requirements.

We offer sales, service, and repair for all types of industrial heat exchangers.

If you want to speak with an expert about shell and tube heat exchangers, please call WCR UK on 01246 856 396 today.

Request a Free Estimate

Call now on 01246 856 396 or use the form below to learn more about our heat exchanger service, repair, and replacement parts.

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