No two industrial processes or production lines are the same. Companies and their engineers spend huge amounts of time and money developing the most efficient and practical way to achieve their individual objectives, whether pasteurizing dairy products or treating industrial wastes. Specifying a standard, off the shelf piece of equipment for a customized process can be therefore be counter-productive, but is a practice which is nevertheless still common — despite the fact that bespoke can often be a more cost-effective option.

In the same way that a bespoke suit from the top tailors of Midtown Manhattan will fit the wearer better than an off-the-peg design from the local supermarket, a heat exchanger which has been specifically designed to fit in with the rest of your process will perform better than one which has been made to a pre-set design. In a worst-case scenario, a heat exchanger which has been developed for one type of application – such as cooling food products – would be completely unsuitable for another, like evaporating sewage sludge.

Unfortunately the experience of our engineering and design staff suggests that all too often this is what happens. For example, a multitube heat exchanger for the pasteurization of thin sauces, such as stocks or consommé, is specified for thicker products like soup or pizza topping, for which it is completely unsuitable.

The effects of using the wrong heat exchanger can range from the inconvenient (increased cleaning or maintenance requirements) to the disastrous (out of specification or unsafe product). The biggest argument made against choosing bespoke equipment is cost, but this is frequently misleading. Not only is the initial purchase price often much less than you may think, but the additional unforeseen costs associated with using unsuitable ‘standard’ designs in the long term can be considerable. As well as increased servicing, their performance may be impaired; requiring additional running time or energy to achieve the required result, or their operational life may be compromised. In some instances, a standard solution may perform so poorly that the only option is to replace it with a different unit.

Although based on standard tube architecture (for example the tube-in-tube DTA Series or DTI Series, or the multi-tube K Series or MI Series), every HRS heat exchanger is designed to meet the specific heat transfer and product handling requirements of an installation – itself a level of bespoke design.

Each HRS heat exchanger is designed according to a wide range of parameters. These include chemical and physical assessments of the product (and sometimes the service fluid) to understand its thermal characteristics, flow rate, viscosity, fouling potential, and biological loading, etc. We also consider the heat difference required and the operational temperatures of the product and service fluid, as well as the required pressure drop, necessary treatment times (for pasteurization applications for example), and other process requirements. As well as ensuring that the performance of the heat exchanger is suitable to meet the brief, we also investigate the physical space available for installation and how the new equipment will connect to any existing lines or machinery.

The amount of time and effort our engineers and designers put into each project design means that when you specify a heat exchanger from HRS, you are effectively buying bespoke rather than off the shelf – and will benefit from the superior performance and cost savings that this delivers.

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