What causes a plate heat exchanger to become blocked?

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A blocked plate heat exchanger can cause problems in your process. This article will discuss what causes a plate heat exchanger to become blocked and how you can clear the blockage to keep your operation running smoothly.

What is a plate heat exchanger, and how does it work?

Plate heat exchangers are essential equipment in many industrial processes, so it is vital to keep them running smoothly.

A plate heat exchanger is used to transfer heat between two fluids. The fluids pass through separate plates, which are then in close contact. This allows the heat to be transferred efficiently between the two fluids.

However, sometimes a plate heat exchanger can become blocked. This can happen for various reasons, including deposits on the plates, damaged plates, or a build-up of fluid in the system. When this happens, it can cause problems with the heat transfer process and ultimately lead to system downtime.

If your plate heat exchanger becomes blocked, it is essential to identify the cause so that you can clear the blockage and prevent it from happening again.

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Why do plate heat exchangers become blocked?

By understanding what can cause them to become blocked and taking steps to prevent or clear blockages, you can keep your process running smoothly and avoid costly downtime.

There are a few reasons why plates might become blocked in a plate heat exchanger.

The main reason a PHE may become blocked include;

  • Debris or fouling in the fluid
  • A build-up of scale on the plates
  • Damage to the plate surfaces

One common cause is fouling. Fouling occurs when deposits build up on the plates, reducing the efficiency of heat transfer.

Another possible cause is corrosion, which can occur when the plates are exposed to aggressive chemicals.

Damage to the plate surfaces can also cause blocking. This can happen if the plates are bent or warped, for example.

Finally, plates can become blocked if they are not adequately maintained and cleaned regularly.

If you think your plate heat exchanger is becoming blocked, it is vital to take action immediately.

If left unchecked, a blockage can cause severe damage to the heat exchanger and lead to costly repairs and disruption to your process.

If you think your plate heat exchanger is blocked, it’s essential to troubleshoot to identify the cause. This will help you to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future.

heat exchanger plate with new gasket
A heat exchanger plate with new gasket applied

How to clear the blockage

You can do a few things to clear a blocked plate heat exchanger.

One option is to use a chemical cleaning solution.

This can effectively break down deposits and restore the plates to their original condition.

Another option is to mechanically clean the plates, using a brush and or power washer to remove any debris blocking the flow of the liquids or gas.

In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the plates entirely if they are too damaged to be effectively cleaned.

Suppose you are having trouble clearing a blockage. In that case, it is best to consult with a professional who can help you troubleshoot the problem and find the best solution for your particular situation.

PHE heat exchanger cleaning

Prevention tips for future use of your plate heat exchanger

There are a few things that you can do to help prevent your plate heat exchanger from becoming blocked.

First, make sure that you are using the correct fluid type in the heat exchanger. For example, use a corrosion-resistant plate heat exchanger if you are using a corrosive fluid.

Second, keep the plates clean by regularly cleaning and inspecting them. If you notice any deposits on the plates, clean them off as soon as possible.

Third, avoid using too high of pressure in the heat exchanger. This can damage the plates and lead to deposits forming on them.

Finally, if you are not using the heat exchanger for an extended period, clean it and store it in a dry, protected area.

If you follow these tips, you can help prevent your plate heat exchanger from becoming blocked and needing to be replaced.

Plate heat exchangers are a critical component of many industrial processes. Unfortunately, they can also become blocked and need to be replaced if you don’t take preventative steps. These tips should help ensure that your plate heat exchanger doesn’t block up without warning or cause any significant problems in the future.

If you have questions about keeping your plate heat exchanger unblocked or think your plate heat exchanger may be blocked, contact us on 01246 856 396; we’d be happy to help.

About WCR UK

We supply replacement plates and gaskets and provide a full service and repair program for all major brands of plate heat exchangers

WCR UK is the best heat exchanger services company in the United Kingdom because of our experience and expertise. We have been in the business for many years, and we have a team of dedicated professionals who can help you with all your heat exchanger needs.

We also offer a wide range of services, including replacement parts, servicing, repairs, and cleaning. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can reach us anytime.

Our dedication to quality and our customers is what sets us apart from other companies in the industry. Read more

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