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Tag Archive: Heat Exchanger Preventative Maintenance

  1. Stopping leaks in their tracks: Part 2

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    A surprise leak in a shell and tube heat exchanger is never a good thing. At best, it will cause down time, resulting in lost revenue. At worst, it could lead to cross-contamination, fouled product, damaged equipment or even a product recall.

    However, leaks are bound to happen sooner or later as a piece of equipment ages. There are ways to slow down the aging process. For example, investing in a stainless steel shell and tube heat exchanger will typically result in a much longer lifespan of the equipment than a cheaper material. But the best way to avoid leaks is to be ready for them.

    Conducting regular tests on a shell and tube heat exchanger can help you detect small leaks before they become big problems. There are many ways to check out the integrity of your tubes, including:

    1. Helium testing

    Helium gas can be very useful to hunt down a leak while a heat exchanger is offline. The gas is pumped into the shell side of the exchanger and overpressurized, according to Plant Services. The helium is forced through the vessel and seeps through any holes, welding flaws or cracks in the tubes.

    A helium mass spectrometer is attached to each tube to detect the presence of helium. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, this method is effective due to the mass spectrometer’s high sensitivity

    2. Acoustical testing

    As anyone who has ever slowly let air out of a balloon knows, leaks tend to have a unique sound. This is the idea behind acoustical testing. A microphone is required, as an air leak in a heat exchanger usually isn’t noticed by the average ear. The pitch of the sound gives the inspector clues as to the size, shape and location of the flaw, the IAEA explained.

    Plant Services noted that this method can also be used to identify other imperfections as well, including fouling, wall loss and corrosion. Another benefit to acoustical testing is that it can be done quickly; tubes can be tested in as little as 9 seconds. Additionally, it doesn’t require a trained expert to perform these tests. However, a drawback of this method is that it isn’t as sensitive as other types of tests, such as helium testing or dye penetration. Additionally, this should be performed while the equipment is offline, as sounds from normal processing could interfere with the microphone’s ability to pick up sounds of leakage.

    3. Dye penetration

    Dyes can highlight seams, slight cracks and other imperfections that are difficult to see with the naked eye. This fact is what makes the dye penetration method so intuitively effective. When a leak is suspected, the location is painted with a low viscosity fluid with a tendency to quickly migrate along surfaces. If a leak is present, the fluid will make its way to the other side of the painted wall. This test is simple, inexpensive and sensitive to smaller leaks.

    4. Chemical reactions

    Some basic chemistry knowledge can go a long way when a simple solution to a complex problem is needed. Some gases commonly used in heat exchangers, such as ammonia, will produce a chemical reaction upon coming in contact with a particular element. In the case of ammonia, pumping hydrochloric acid into the exchanger will result in the formation of ammonium chloride gas. This is identified by white plumes resembling smoke or fog.

    When introducing new chemicals to a shell and tube heat exchanger, it’s important to be sure that they won’t react badly with any substances that are in the tubes or the exchanger itself.

    If you find that you need to replace or repair your shell and tube heat exchanger because of small leaks that could become bigger and more problematic, contact the experts at Enerquip. Our team of in-house engineers will work with you and your team to determine the best solution for your operation.

    Did you miss part 1 of stopping leaks in their tracks? Read it here

  2. Stopping leaks in their tracks: Part 1

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    Over the lifespan of a shell and tube heat exchanger, the tubes will undergo massive amounts of stress. Normal use involves rapidly flowing liquids through and around the tubes. When other factors, like the potential for maldistribution or built-up sediment, are taken into account, there are many ways a shell and tube heat exchanger can wear out.

    Investing in high-quality materials like stainless steel will certainly lengthen the life of an exchanger. However, after a while, there will come a time when parts need to be changed out or the whole exchanger needs to be replaced. While this is to be expected, it’s better to be aware of how well the equipment is holding up rather than waiting for a problem that could hold up production, create more work than necessary and ultimately eat your profits.

    “Radiotracers can be used to detect leaks while the heat exchanger is online.”

    One excellent way to keep an eye on the health of your exchanger and detect any issues that could get worse quickly is through leak detection. Leaks can be detrimental to a shell and tube heat exchanger and are never good for the company. Additionally, leaks can lead to cross-contamination, fouling or equipment damages, so it’s crucial to avoid them.

    There are several methods of leak detection available to manufacturers who want to give their equipment a checkup.


    One of the dilemmas of conducting leak detection tests is determining whether to take the exchanger offline and lose production time. If there turn out to be no leaks and the exchanger is in good shape, it could be argued that the manufacturer lost time and revenue for little gain. Luckily, there is one effective way to search for leaks without affecting the process or product, and without taking the exchanger offline.

    Radiotracers can be used to detect leaks while the heat exchanger is still in use, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. They are comprised of several elements:

    • A radioisotope, typically inserted into whichever side of the exchanger has the highest pressure.
    • An injection detector, which monitors the flow of the radioisotope through the exchanger from the tube side inlet where it is mounted.
    • A leak detector positioned at the shell outlet that monitors the lower pressure side to see if the radioisotope ends up there.

    Usually, inserting any foreign substances into an exchanger while processes are running is frowned upon. Even slight changes could damage or alter the final product or have negative effects on the exchanger itself. However, only a miniscule amount of radioisotope is required to effectively detect leaks. The IAEA explained that, in some cases, just 10 to 17 grams is enough to detected by the leak detector.

    Conductivity and pH

    Conductivity is the measure of a substance’s ability to carry an electric current. Some fluids and objects have high conductivity, while others don’t have any at all. The various fluids in an exchanger will generally have differing levels of conductivity.

    Another way to distinguish between substances is with pH. This is the measure of how basic or acidic a fluid is, which will also differ between the materials flowing through the tubes and shell.

    “Finding leaks while they’re small is crucial to preventing production issues.”

    Both of these measurements can aid in the monitoring of where the fluids are traveling within the exchanger, according to Emerson Process. Using analyzers or sensors on the low-pressure side will help detect when a substance with a particular pH or measure of conductivity is making its way into a part of the exchanger it shouldn’t be.

    While this can be highly effective in detecting leaks and their origins, there is one shortcoming to this method: Organic substances and water often have similar levels of conductivity as well as similar pH levels. Therefore, if an exchanger is processing organic liquids and using water as the heat-transfer medium, a different leak detection method would be more beneficial.

    Finding leaks while they’re small, before they cause any major damage or problems, is crucial to keeping an exchanger in good shape and preventing production issues later on. There are many ways to monitor the health of an exchanger. What’s important is finding the method that suits your processes best.

    If you find that you need a new shell and tube heat exchanger, speak to the experts at Enerquip. Their team of in-house engineers will work closely with you and your company to determine the best exchanger design for your operation.

    Want more? Keeping read – stopping leaks in their tracks – part 2

  3. Chemical cleaning and hydroblasting: 2 ways to clean your heat exchanger’s tubes

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    Shell and tube heat exchangers are an integral part of many industries. Though the oil and gas industry may be vastly different from the food and beverage industry, the two have at least one thing in common: the shell and tube heat exchangers that help prepare products for sale to consumers must be in top condition.

    When injecting fluid into a shell and tube heat exchanger, that which is more likely to corrode or foul is typically placed in the tube side of the machine, according to R. Shankar Subramanian, a chemical and bioengineering professor at Clarkson University. This is because it is easier to clean or, if needed, replace the tubes than the shell. However, the fact that liquid with a high fouling risk is put into the tube side of the exchanger, makes it crucial that machine operators and owners know how to clean and maintain their tubes.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers come in many sizes and configurations. Some are easier to clean than others, primarily because some have tube bundles and bonnets that can be easily removed from the shell side, while others’ are connected to the body of the exchanger. Knowing what type of bonnet your exchanger has and the appropriate cleaning mechanism are critical aspects to consider when purchasing the exchanger.

    There are many different ways to clean the tubes of a heat exchanger. Each has its advantages and its disadvantages. The important thing is to know which method is right for your particular machine and operation.

    Chemical cleaning

    Chemical cleaning is a good method to use for a fixed channel box design, which is generally more difficult to clean because the tubes cannot be separated from the shell. According to Clean-Co Systems, the process for chemical cleaning can be done in several ways. Chemicals can be circulated through the tubes or cascaded. Some are foam and others liquid. Chemicals will vary depending on the type of exchanger and what it is used for. Conoco Systems explained mild acids are typically used for this type of cleaning. It is beneficial to exchangers that have high amounts of buildup, as chemicals remove more deposit than most alternative cleaning methods.

    “Chemicals remove more deposit than most alternative cleaning methods.”

    However, there are several downsides to using chemicals, Conoco Systems explained. This method is one of the most expensive ones. Also, chances are, the tubes will have to be mechanically cleaned after the chemicals have done their work to remove any residual substances that could contaminate the next product batch inserted into the tubes. It is also time-consuming and a potential environmental hazard.


    According to Goodway, hydroblasting has been a popular way to clean tubes for many years. This method uses high-pressure water systems to blast away any debris or deposits left in the tubes. NLB Corp. explained the water can be pressurized to as much as 40,000 psi.

    Hydroblasting can be done either manually or with an automated system. The manual approach involves an operator hooking a hose up to the tubes one by one and using a foot pedal to regulate the water. This method is effective and relatively inexpensive, though human error may result in uneven cleaning. There are also safety concerns regarding the speed and force at which the water comes out of the hose.

    There are two basic types of automated systems: flexible lance and rigid lance systems. Both allow multiple tubes to be cleaned at once, which saves on the amount of time spent cleaning. U-tube heat exchangers and others with curved tubes would benefit from a flexible lance system because it is easy to maneuver the hoses around the bends. For those exchangers with straight tubes, the rigid lance systems provide greater water pressure to remove debris and buildup.

    “Flexible lance systems can maneuver around U-shaped bends.”

    According to Conoco Systems, operators who choose to use hydroblasting as a cleaning method should also be aware that the pressure of the water could weaken the tubes and create leaks that may go unnoticed. Leaks in the tube side of the exchanger could result in cross contamination between the tube side and shell side fluids. Once discovered, it might even require more time spent offline to repair or replace the tubes.

    Chemical cleaning and hydroblasting are two popular ways to maintain the cleanliness of a heat exchanger’s tube side. Deciding which method will depend on the type of exchanger you have and what it is used for. Regardless of the configuration or use of your exchanger, though, it is crucial to ensure the tubes are kept clean to prevent fouling and contamination.

  4. Tight crude oil can cause fouling in shell and tube heat exchangers

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    MicroMarket Monitor released a report stating that much of the shell and tube heat exchanger industry in North America is fuelled by the chemical and petrochemical industries. According to the report, 28.8 percent of the market share of heat exchangers in 2014 went to the chemical industry. Heat exchangers are often used for oil refining and the shell and tube variety are the most commonly used.

    The American Institute of Chemical Engineers explained only four countries are currently extracting crude oil from shale formations: Argentina, China, Canada and the U.S. Crude oil from shale formations is more difficult to retrieve and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the method by which it is extracted. The U.S. is the leading producer of this type of oil, commonly called tight oil.

    While customized shell and tube heat exchangers are great machines to use for processing, there are some things manufacturers and operators should be aware of. According to Emerson Process Management, the refining process is highly prone to fouling. Unexpected fouling is an especially harmful problem that is becoming more common among facilities refining light tight crude oil.

    “Crude oil fouling is one of the main causes of energy inefficiency in refineries.”

    Fouling can be harmful to a refinery because it causes lost production time, increased costs and, as a result, reduced profits. Unexpected fouling means operations need to cease production for cleaning. Plus, the fouling causes excess energy consumption and decreased throughput by the crude unit fired heater. According to a report from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Imperial College London, crude oil fouling in pre-heat trains is one of the main causes of energy inefficiency in heat exchangers. Because of the strain it causes across multiple aspects of the refinery, the cost of crude oil fouling is high. Crude oil fouling was found to cost the U.S. approximately $1.2 billion a year.

    Asphaltene precipitation leads to accelerated fouling

    Different industries may see varying causes of fouling. In processing tight crude oil, fouling is commonly due to asphaltene precipitation buildup. This is primarily due to the blending of tight oil with other crude oil types. When tight oil alone goes into an exchanger, it tends to bottleneck in the naphtha processing and crude overhead units. This is because most refineries are designed to process oil of a specific composition, the AIChE explained. Blending them will reduce the risk of limiting the efficiency of processing units in the bottom of the barrel.

    While blending these types of oil is necessary to allow the machinery to operate correctly, this practice is also the one that contributes to asphaltene precipitation causing fouling. When incompatible crude types are blended, asphaltenes are not stable in the solution, resulting in the precipitate. AIChE noted that certain ratios of incompatible oils result in less precipitate than others. For instance, a blend of 20 percent tight oil with 80 percent of another type will create fewer asphaltenes than a 30-70 mixture.

    Tight oil also contains levels of naphtha that are higher than other types of crude oil, which can also contribute to the rapid production of asphaltene precipitation.

    Prevent fouling through monitoring

    To prevent fouling, manufacturers have inspected machines periodically and taken notes manually and recorded information in spreadsheets. While this has largely been effective in the past to respond appropriately to signs of fouling, increased production of tight crude oil, which fouls more quickly than most products, manual note-taking and periodic observation is no longer a practical form of prevention.

    “Traditional forms of fouling prevention are less effective with accelerated fouling.”

    Instead, Emerson Process Management suggested manufacturers use online capabilities to constantly monitor the state of exchangers’ performance. Wireless temperature and differential pressure measuring devices are one way to constantly monitor the performance and efficiency of a heat exchanger. By monitoring the health of the exchanger, refiners are able to carefully choose when to schedule a turnaround, rather than waiting until the fouling problem is no longer avoidable, leading to an unforeseen cleaning day. By being able to choose when to clean the tubes, refiners are able to calculate which day is best, so as to minimize the financial harm a day without production will cause.

    Not only will monitoring the condition of the equipment using online devices keep refiners current about potential fouling, but it can also aid in preparing maintenance staff of what is to come when it’s time for a turnaround. It can also help indicate if additional parts need to be purchased ahead of time. Some exchangers are equipped with a bypass, so cleaning can be done without losing a day of production. However, for those that don’t have this capability, as is often the case, advance knowledge of the kind of maintenance that should occur may reduce the time the turnaround takes and mitigate some unforeseen obstacles.

  5. How to prepare to clean a shell and tube heat exchanger

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    As most manufacturers who work with shell and tube heat exchangers know, fouling can be detrimental to an operation. It is crucial that all equipment that goes into processing a product is working at its optimal capacity. To ensure this, manufacturers and operators need to take the time to inspect and clean shell and tube heat exchangers.

    However, this is easier said than done. Cleaning a shell and tube heat exchanger is no easy task, especially for those with hard-to-access tubes. In addition to how difficult the process is, taking a day or two to inspect and clean your machines will result in lost production and therefore, lost revenue. It’s important to think about which day is best to minimize the losses incurred by scheduled maintenance. It is also crucial to plan it ahead of time, not only to account for the downtime, but also to plan out the turnaround schedule to ensure everything goes smoothly.

    “Taking a day to clean your machines will result in lost production.”

    Knowing when to clean

    In sanitary industries, like food, dairy and pharmaceutical, there are often well established protocols established for the timing of heat exchanger cleaning. These cleanings are most commonly accomplished through the use of an automated CIP (clean-in-place) system that will clean and sanitize the tubing without having to disconnect the piping or exchanger parts. These cleanings are often done daily, weekly of between batches of product.

    According to Conoco Systems and Conoco Consulting Corp., companies in more industrial settings can determine whether a maintenance day where machines would be offline is worthwhile by considering the hourly cost of the losses over time and the cost of fouling. Determining the right time for the loss to be at a minimum will tell manufacturers what the best cleaning intervals are.

    Chemical Processing explained that over the past half-century, companies have changed the way they view scheduled maintenance days. In the past, these cleanings took place one or more times a year. The years have brought equipment that is more reliable and requires fewer cleaning days. Today, the norm is closer to cleaning once every four to 10 years. Of course, this depends on the exchanger type and what it is being used for. Some materials that pass through an exchanger are less prone to fouling than others. For this reason, it is important that operators and manufacturers know the signs of fouling and the nature of the chemicals and products they work with.

    There are many advantages to going several years without a cleaning. The fact that cleanings are less necessary indicates the resiliency and efficiency of the exchanger. It also means there are fewer days during which the company loses profit due to ceased production. However, there are some downsides to this as well. Chemical Processing points out that since the last turnaround day may have happened as long as a decade ago, fewer operators and maintenance experts will be familiar with the process of cleaning and inspecting the machines. Because of this, it is important that all people involved in the cleaning day be properly educated and prepared for it.

    Getting prepared

    Chemical Processing advised people getting ready for a turnaround day to make a checklist of everything that needs to be completed on that day. This will help someone who is inexperienced or out of practice keep track of all necessary tasks. This list should include recording how the machine is operating just before you shut it down, whether all the measuring tools available make sense or if others would be best, layout dimensions for the machine and all its parts, and whether there is any damage or other factors that could cause harm to the product or machine later on. It is also important to have any replaceable spare parts on hand, like gaskets, O-rings and hardware, so that any damaged or compressed parts can be replaced before the unit is re-connected and brought back on line. Because exchanger parts can be very heavy, it is also important to have a safe lifting plan with adequate clearance to remove bonnets, piping and other parts in order to gain access to the tube bundle.

    How to clean

    If the company will allow photography of the equipment, it’s a good idea to take pictures of everything mentioned in the notes taken throughout the day. This will help explain any damage encountered and provide reference for the notes the person performing the turnaround takes.

    Conoco Systems explained there are many ways to clean a shell and tube heat exchanger, though most require being offline. The most widely chosen method is mechanical cleaning. This involves determining what kind of deposits you will be removing from the tubes. Deposits range from small amounts of silt to substances that are more difficult to remove, depending on the materials that are used in the exchanger. Once this is determined, decide which cleaning method is appropriate. Some common examples include brushes, used for lighter debris; calcite cleaners, used to remove stubborn calcite deposits which couldn’t be removed with acid; and metal tube cleaners, used for harder deposits.

    Hydroblasting has also been commonly used, though precautions to reduce risk of injury or tube damage must be taken if managers choose to go with this option. Good Way explained this method involves water pressurized to 10,000 to 25,000 pounds per square inch, which is then blasted through the tubes to remove deposits.

    Chemical cleaning is another preferred method, though it is a more expensive option, Conoco Systems explained. Chemicals that are mildly acidic will take off debris faster and more efficiently than a mechanical process. However, the tubes will still need to be cleaned of the chemicals used to prevent contamination or environmental hazards.

  6. Maintaining your shell and tube heat exchanger

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    Your shell and tube heat exchanger could be one of the most important pieces of equipment in your business. In the food, beverage and dairy industries, a heat exchanger will protect customers from contaminated products. The pharmaceutical industry relies on heat exchangers to ensure medicines are top quality.

    If a heat exchanger fails, product is contaminated and lost. This could decrease productivity, and in some cases, could result in a reputation-damaging recall. To prevent failure, it is critical that the heat exchanger is reviewed and serviced regularly. Chemical Engineering Magazine explained that, without proper maintenance, heat exchangers are prone to corrosion and fouling, which could lead to leaks. This will cause the product to mix with the cooling or heating fluid and ruin the batch. Corrosion and other deposits collecting on the floor of the exchanger will decrease the efficiency of the exchanger. This could prevent the liquid from reaching the desired temperature.

    “If a heat exchanger fails, product is lost or contaminated.”

    Corrosion leads to bigger problems

    A shell and tube heat exchanger is a machine that is expected to have to be repaired or replaced eventually. The nature of its use will wear on it and eventually, corrosion will occur. The goal is to keep the exchanger in operation as long as possible. According to MTS Systems Corporation, a heat exchanger could last up to 20 years with the right maintenance. This includes careful, regular inspections of the machine and all its parts.

    MTS said it is important to make sure the heat exchanger is sanitary from the beginning of its life to the end. Before the first use, be sure to look it over thoroughly to make sure everything is secured properly and the tubes and shell have not been contaminated by dirt, dust or other foreign substances.

    Corrosion is a process that occurs over time regardless of proper maintenance schedules. It is the result of chemical reactions in or around the heat exchanger. Different metals will react with different substances differently. Stainless steel is a good material to use in exchangers when the substances used within could be harmful to other metals, such as copper alloys. According to the Stainless Steel Information Center, the material can resist corrosion from most acidic, alkaline and chlorinated substances when it is a high-alloy grade. However, the British Stainless Steel Corporation explained that while the metal is highly resistant to corrosion, it will begin to wear over time.

    “Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion from many substances.”

    Water monitoring

    MTS explained the best way to prevent corrosion is to make sure only the best substances for the exchanger’s material makeup enter the machine. Using the correct chemicals to treat and clean the tubes is essential. This information should be obtained before you begin using your heat exchanger to ensure you are prepared for its maintenance from the get-go.

    Many heat exchangers use water as the heat transfer liquid. Tap water is generally of an acceptable quality to use in the machine. However, it is important to double check the water before putting it into the exchanger. The pH should be neutral and the water shouldn’t be polluted or have any bacteria or other contaminates in it. If the water comes from a natural source, is should be treated before entering the tubes.

    If the water isn’t treated or inspected before entering the exchanger, debris could enter the machine and block the chambers. To prevent this from happening, screens or filters can be installed to keep particles out. If they do enter, they will wear against the tubes and cause corrosion.

    Monitoring the health of your heat exchanger will help to identify early signs of failure before fouling or contamination become a larger issue. MTS explained that checking on the water quality is a good way to see if failure is a risk or is already happening. Cloudy water indicates the fluid is no longer pure. Taking notes on temperature and pressure changes will reveal problems beginning to form. Reduced efficiency could be a sign of scaling, a solid precipitate resulting from chemical reactions. Scale build-up will lead to fouling and corrosion over time. Checking other aspects of the exchanger, such as tube thickness, will also give indications of emerging problems.

    If you find that you need to replace all or part of your heat exchanger, contact the helpful heat exchanger experts at Enerquip who specialize in designing custom shell and tube heat exchangers, and drop-in replacement exchangers.

  7. 5 tips to help prevent contamination in food processing facilities

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    Food processing plants have to maintain the upmost standards when properly handling food products for consumers. Anything from airborne debris to facility moisture can form harmful bacteria that could ultimately affect the end product.

    There are ways to prevent contamination and cross contamination in processing facilities. Here are five tips to keep food facilities safe:

    1. Keep ramps and carts clean

    The majority of methods to keeping a food processing facility safe are through sanitation. Every food facility operations manager wants to keep their plant as safe as possible from contamination, but sometimes it’s easy to forget or not know which parts are most necessary to clean.

    Pat Hottel, technical director for McCloud Services, a leader in pest management solutions, explained that ramps used to move carts with organic and nonorganic products need to be properly cleaned and dried to prevent excess moisture.

    This also applies to carts and rampways that enter and exit the freezer as well. According to the Australian Department of Health, bacteria are simply dormant when food items are frozen. When items are refrigerated, they are only paused for a few days or weeks before they grow bacteria.

    However, in freezing conditions, food processing facilities have to still clean freezer areas to kill bacteria since chemicals and heat are the only two methods to removing bacteria growth.

    2. Color code brushes and buckets

    To prevent cross contamination, brushes and buckets used in food processing facilities should be color coded to make it easier for clean up a sanitation operating procedure report from Penn State Berkey Creamery stated.

    One color should be used to clean pasteurized food contact surfaces, while another should be used to clean nonfood contact surfaces. Additionally, the creamery said a third color should be used to clean surfaces with raw milk products and the last color should only be applied for floor drain cleaning.

    This changes per food item at each plant, but bucket and brush protocols should be very similar.

    3. Clean all equipment and machinery

    This might seem like a no-brainer for food processing plant operators, but all equipment and machinery must be cleaned to prevent contamination, Food Quality and Safety reported. Refrigeration equipment, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, contact surfaces, drains, plant equipment, and shell and tube heat exchangers need to be properly cleaned to prevent outbreaks.

    Using stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers and other equipment helps protect against bacterial contamination because the alloy can handle intense cleaners and daily cleanings. Stainless steel equipment is easily cleaned and it will last much longer than other metal equipment products.

    4. Ensure workers are healthy

    Food handling in processing facilities requires a lot of human interaction with items that could get contaminated if someone were sick or infected the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported. Additionally, food handling employees should not be at work if they are sick, vomiting, have diarrhea or are showing symptoms of a sore throat or fever.

    When workers are healthy and safe around food products, the chance of contamination is further limited. Just like food processing equipment, employees must keep sanitized by washing their hands and wearing clean clothes.

    5. Make sure products are heated with appropriate equipment

    One of the biggest problems food processing facilities have with contamination issues is properly heating food products to the right temperature, the PSU report stated. Facilities need the right shell and tube heat exchanger to heat products to adequately kill the bacteria.

    Many operators believe any heat exchanger will do the job, but there are specific variables such as the type of product, the heating requirements and the amount of products being made, that all factor into the equipment size. Speaking with a heat exchanger professional could get a processing plant on the right track.

  8. Preserving ethanol equipment with faster cleanups

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    Ethanol processing plants have to ensure their equipment can withstand months of running product through shell and tube heat exchangers. This process builds up dirt and grime on the equipment, which has to be cleaned periodically. According to Ethanol Producer Magazine, facilities have to prepare for cleanings in advance to ensure downtime for the process is limited.

    Matt Werzyn, maintenance manager for Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol LLC, explained that ethanol processing facilities have to make sure they schedule downtime for the cleaning process, the source reported. The plant managers have to follow through with the deep cleanse, otherwise the facilities will see downtime from grime and dirt build up.

    The cleaning process must be quick and simple. If there are too many steps, the plant could be shut down for multiple days for repairs and equipment maintenance. In addition, certain metals and alloys tend to corrode over time, Engineer’s Edge reported. Finally, some of the chemicals and gases that are used with heat exchangers in ethanol processing plants can damage the metal.

    That’s why it’s essential to invest in stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers. According to the source, stainless steel is much easier to clean and can withstand multiple cleanings.

    Regular steel is typically used in manufacturing plants, but it has a somewhat weak passivity, which leads to rusting and corrosion. However, stainless steel contains additional alloy elements that increase corrosion resistance and provide more strength over time. This can provide a quicker return on investment for processing facilities with heat exchangers that have to be replaced frequently.

    Fouled equipment slows plants down

    Werzyn added that once equipment becomes fouled or dirtier, there are other consequences for plant operation, Ethanol Producer Magazine reported.

    “As we get closer to shut down, there is a definite performance decrease and an increase in the required energies needed to run the process,” said Werzyn. “If duct lines are not cleaned over a long period of time, duct fires can result, which can be very expensive, if not destructive, if they occur.”

    Equipment needs regular cleaning to last and perform required duties at its highest level. Werzyn said keeping equipment continuously clean could help save a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, the source stated.

    Need a stainless heat exchanger solution? Reach out to an Enerquip Sales Engineer today.