A breakthrough that DEG Engineering GmbH in Germany made many years ago has lessened the burden experienced in heat transfer for various process industries worldwide. With Paul Mueller’s TEMP-Plate® panel technology, generically referred to as thermo-plate or pillow-plate, and its special know-how in thermal plate design, DEG has demonstrated that the inherent challenges that are often encountered with conventional heat exchangers, processes become more efficient at lower size, weight and investment.
Energy costs, which constitute not less than a third of operating costs in industrial process plants, have been rising, without abating. The use of heat exchangers in the process industry is inevitable consuming energy costs at great rate. Choosing the right heat exchanger for a certain application is further considered under various additional aspects such as investment costs, process efficiency, fouling and cleaning, mass and volume consumption, etc.. And so it becomes vital that a suitable technology such as the TEMP-Plate® has to be customised for the application. Nonetheless, inevitably, plant engineers are faced with seeking convincing answers to the following question: What kind of heat exchanger is best for my application?
Conventional shell and tube, pipe coil and other similar type of heat exchangers are state-of-the-art, but often meet common problems like lack of space, heat loss and fouling to be experienced with costly consequences in plant performance.
After many years of R&D to resolve these problems, Paul Mueller, through its manufacturing subsidiary, DEG Engineering GmbH in Germany, made a breakthrough, which, so far, has lessened the burden experienced in heat transfer. The company has demonstrated that improving design can solve the inherent challenges that are encountered with conventional heat exchangers. P. Vergeer from the North-West University in South Africa, alludes to this point in his article on heat exchangers, Vibration isolation of dimple plate heat exchangers.
In particular, the following features are distinct in DEG’s TEMP-Plate® panel-type heat exchanger design, available on the market as:
- Double-embossed for the heat transfer between gaseous and/or liquid media.
- Spot-welded plates, inflatedby a hydraulic forming process, offer excellent heat transfer ratios resulting from high turbulence via elliptical flow channels.
- The compact design makes fitting in a restricted space easier adaptation for special applications.
- The dimple-structure of the TEMP-Plate® can create a self-cleaning effect at relevant flow regime, mitigating fouling growth
- TEMP-Plate®‘s can be welded, formed or designed to meet your exact needs with shapes, high pressures, or corrosive environments.
- It can be used as an immersion, clamp-on, or integral heat transfer surface
Regarding the advantage of TEMP-Plate® technology heat exchanger design, Vergeer attests: “The augmentation of heat transfer over surfaces is accomplished readily with the inclusion of dimples on the heat transfer surfaces without appreciably increasing the friction factors and pressure drop.”
Diverse industry applications
The TEMP-Plate® heat exchanger system can be utilised in diverse industry applications,such as: chemical, petrochemical, specialty chemical, oil and gas, ethanol and industrial food and dairy.
In particular, banked TEMP-Plate® panels illustrate that the designs can be modified to suit different applications. Banked TEMP-Plate® panels are used for heat transfer and heat integration for sustainability purposes. The banks can also be applied to condenser heads for industrial chemical applications (as the case study below demonstrates).
Case study in India: TEMP-Plate® solves a complex condenser technology challenge for a petrochemical plant
The TEMP-Plate® panel technology has been used to address complex heat transfer industry requirements in industries worldwide.
Recently, DEG has supplied its condenser technology to a client, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, in India, who needed a propylene derivative petrochemical for a “superabsorber” end product. BPCL wanted to bring production of these superabsorber chemicals to their Kochi refinery in India, so ancillary industries could flourish in the country.
A superabsorber” is a polymer that is capable of absorbing and holding many times its own weight in liquid and is used in everyday items like diapers. No one in India was actively producing this chemical, so it is often imported.
The challenge for BPCL was to source efficient heat transfer equipment that could provide very specific high heat loads, organized to an optimized flow geometry to produce high condensation rates. At the same time, the equipment had to handle critical fluids with high corrosion potential. Plus, at near-vacuum (10-100mbar), the occurrence of inertial gases inhibiting the condensation rate, made the process even more challenging for each condensing unit.
Duly, DEG provided thermal design for the head condensers. The condenser operating units were to provide high condensation rates for various process streams under challenging conditions.
The scope of work included several heat transfer condensing units. The heat transfer condensing units designed by DEG are made with Paul Mueller Company’s TEMP-Plate® inflated heat transfer plates. The plate technology offers high efficiency and provides the advantages needed to overcome these challenges and assures process stability.
Thespecial design for head condensers with the TEMP-Plate® units are now in place at the refinery in India and production is well underway. Unquestionably, successful application in the project epitomizes the effectiveness of TEMP-Plate® heat transfer technology.