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Vapor Condensers
Used in the Chemical Industry

Reflux Condensers, sometimes called vent or knockback condensers, are commonly used when separating light elements from a vapor mixture. Heavier components in the mixture condense and flow to the bottom along the tube walls while the lighter elements remain a vapor and exit through an upper vent.  These condensers can be designed to mount right on a vent flange of a reactor or process vessel in many cases.  Another option is to mount the condenser as a stand-alone unit, with an interconnecting vent line running from the tank vent to the vapor inlet on the condenser.  If the condensate is going to be recovered as product, or in product contact, it is best to run these vapors on the sanitary tube side of the condenser.  In other cases, where condensate purity is not a concern, it may be advantageous to run the vapors on the shell side of the exchanger.

Vapor recovery condenser systems, comprised of a closed system of pipes, valves, compressors, and exchangers provide a safe space for vapors to be compressed without being emitted into the atmosphere. Not only is this better for our environment, but it also allows the reuse and repurposing of costly chemicals that would have otherwise been lost in vapor. Chemical and petroleum vapors can be re-condensed into a usable liquid using direct condensation and returned to their original source or repurposed for different use.

Shell and tube heat exchangers used for condensing can often be designed with a collection tank for condensate incorporated right into the unit.  This may avoid the need for a separate condensate collection tank.  In a tube side condenser, this is often accomplished by lengthening the bottom bonnet to hold a desired level of liquid.  High and low level sensor ports and sight glasses are commonly used to monitor the condensate level.  Since these often operate as vacuum condensers, a divert baffle over the vent outlet will help prevent condensate from getting sucked into the vacuum port, when the vacuum outlet is located above the liquid condensate level.

Condensers in the
Food & Dairy Industry

Food processing often uses a lot of water and creates a lot of steam during cooking processes. Enerquip is a leading brand of shell and tube heat exchangers used as steam condensers. During this vapor recovery, steam enters the heat exchanger shell through the top vapor opening and surrounds the outside of the tubes.

If the plant intends to re-use the collected condensate as fresh water for another product batch, then the condensing should take place on the sanitary tube side of a straight tube condenser, since there are fewer crevices where impurities could collect.  The tube side surfaces are typically polished to a food grade 32Ra or better and have sanitary connections for the inlet and outlet. Cold utility fluids flow through the shell of the exchanger, surrounding the tubes. As the tubes begin to cool down, so does the water vapor traveling through the inside of the tubes, until it condenses and flows out the bottom of the condenser. This condensed vapor can often be repurposed in a future batch of product.

If the condensate is not intended to be used for product use, or is just being fed back to a boiler as feed water, then condensing the vapors in the shell side of a U-tube exchanger is a better option. A U-tube exchanger costs less and has advantages in maintenance and cleanability.  A commercial grade exchanger may even be acceptable in this case, instead of a sanitary polished heat exchanger.

Condensers can be designed in many configurations, and for horizontal, vertical or inclined orientation, depending on the application and the space available within the plant.  The experts at Enerquip can help you design the best condenser for your unique vapor recovery need.

Vapor Condensers in the
Personal Care Industry

Vapor condensers in the personal care industry are often used with their reactors to capture moisture that is unsafe for the atmosphere. When reactions take place in batch products and organics are boiled off, the vapor must be condensed to avoid unsafe venting. This condensed vapor can often be repurposed for a future batch of product.

Enerquip’s pharma-grade sanitary shell and tube heat exchangers ensure an efficient condensation process with personal care batch products. In vapor condensing, a cooling medium in the shell of the heat exchanger passes over the outer surface of the tubes containing hot process vapors.

As the condensing medium absorbs the heat of the process vapors, the vapors reach their saturation point and condense into a liquid. Non-condensable gases are led away to be further air treated while the condensed vapor is pumped away to be properly disposed of or reused in another batch of product.

Condensers can be designed in several styles to meet the process needs, and footprint available. Reflux condensers can be designed to mount right on to a reactor’s vent flange. Vapors rising up through the tubes of the condenser are cooled by the cold medium in the shell, and the condensate then drips back down into the reactor.

Where the process encourages evaporation and discharge of solvents, it is usually better to design the condenser as a stand-alone unit to prevent the solvents from re-entering the reactor. The reactor vent is connected to the inlet on the top bonnet of the condenser. The vapors then condense as they flow down through the tubes, and the condensate is piped away to a condensate tank or separation tank for further processing for re-use or disposal.

Condensers in the
Pharmaceutical Industry

Vapor condensers in the pharmaceutical industry are often used with their reactors to capture moisture that is unsafe for the atmosphere. When reactions take place in pharmaceutical batch products and organics are boiled off, the vapor must be condensed to avoid unsafe venting. This condensed vapor can often be repurposed for a future batch of product.

Enerquip’s pharma-grade sanitary shell and tube heat exchangers ensure an efficient condensation process with pharmaceutical batch products. In pharmaceutical vapor condensing, a cooling medium in the shell of the heat exchanger passes over the outer surface of the tubes containing hot process vapors.

As the condensing medium absorbs the heat of the process vapors, the vapors reach their saturation point and condense into a liquid. Non-condensable gases are led away to be further air treated while the condensed vapor is pumped away to be properly disposed of or reused in another batch of product.

Condensers can be designed in several styles to meet the process needs, and footprint available.  Reflux condensers can be designed to mount right on to a reactor’s vent flange.  Vapors rising up through the tubes of the condenser are cooled by the cold medium in the shell, and the condensate then drips back down into the reactor.

Where the process encourages evaporation and discharge of solvents, it is usually better to design the condenser as a stand-alone unit to prevent the solvents from re-entering the reactor.  The reactor vent is connected to the inlet on the top bonnet of the condenser.  The vapors then condense as they flow down through the tubes, and the condensate is piped away to a condensate tank or separation tank for further processing for re-use or disposal.

Coolers & Condensers in the
Refining & Renewable Energy Industry

Shell and tube coolers can be used in numerous applications throughout the refining process, and can be designed in many configurations.  Products heated during processing often require cooling before they can be packaged or piped for distribution.  Often waste streams also need to be cooled before entering sewer systems or rivers in order to meet municipal codes or DNR regulations. Coolers can be coupled with chillers in a closed-loop system for recirculated cooling, or can be designed for continuous cooling flow using cooling tower water or river water.  Typical coolers utilize cooling water or thermal oils on the shell side of the exchanger, in order to keep the product on the sanitary tube side of the exchanger, to lessen the risk of fouling and contamination.

Reflux Condensers, sometimes called vent or knockback condensers, are commonly used when separating light elements from a vapor mixture. Heavier components in the mixture condense and flow to the bottom along the tube walls while the lighter elements remain a vapor and exit through an upper vent. These condensers can be designed to mount right on a vent flange of a reactor or process vessel in many cases. Another option is to mount the condenser as a stand-alone unit, with an interconnecting vent line running from the tank vent to the vapor inlet on the condenser. If the condensate is going to be recovered as product, or it is in product contact, it is best to run these vapors on the sanitary tube side of the condenser. In other cases, where condensate purity is not a concern, it may be advantageous to run the vapors on the shell side of the exchanger.

Vapor recovery condenser systems, comprised of a closed system of pipes, valves, compressors, and exchangers provide a safe space for vapors to be compressed without being emitted into the atmosphere. Not only is this better for our environment, but it also allows the reuse and repurposing of costly chemicals that would have otherwise been lost in vapor. Chemical and petroleum vapors can be re-condensed into a usable liquid using direct condensation and returned to their original source or repurposed for different use.

Shell and tube heat exchangers used for condensing can often be designed with a collection tank for condensate incorporated right into the unit. This may avoid the need for a separate condensate collection tank. In a tube side condenser, this is often accomplished by lengthening the bottom bonnet to hold a desired level of liquid. High and low level sensor ports and sight glasses are commonly used to monitor the condensate level. Since these often operate as vacuum condensers, a divert baffle over the vent outlet will help prevent condensate from getting sucked into the vacuum port, when the vacuum outlet is located above the liquid condensate level.

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