There are different options that can be used in heating fluids to the desired temperature. In some types of applications, the speed of heating and the evenness of the heating process is critical. This is most often the case in the production of foods and beverages where sudden heating of liquids can result in production inconsistencies within the products or between batches.
To provide a continual, efficient and diffuse option for heating, a plate type heat exchange is the most often used method. This allows the heat exchange to occur between two liquids that are at low to mid level temperatures as well as low to mid level pressures.
Different models and designs of plate type heat exchange options can be larger or smaller to accommodate the volume and throughput of the system. In general, these systems work the same, but there are differences in the specifics of manufacturing, materials, and options.
The most common designs in plate heat exchangers include a series of plates that are connected by gaskets. These gaskets prevent the two different liquids from mixing. One liquid will pass one way through the plates while the other passes the other way, both flowing countercurrent to each other. The two liquids, through the heating and cooling action on the plate, absorb and release energy to create a stable temperature without the need for the application of direct heat.
For most of the plate type heat exchange systems used in sanitary processing, a gasketed design is used. The gasket prevents the two liquids from mixing, but also allows the system to be easily broken down for cleaning or changing out of the plates.
It also provides for easy cleaning of the heat exchange system, but it is not ideal for high-pressure applications. In these applications a welded system can be used, that adds to the durability of the heat exchanger but also limits the ability to clean the system as it is not designed to be taken apart.
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