By Sven van der Heide and Francisco Castellano, Solex Thermal Science (All images courtesy of Solex Thermal Science)
Today’s moving bed heat exchangers (MBHEs) are incredibly robust. Highly engineered and world-tested, it’s not uncommon to see these units still operational decades later with minimal investment along the way. Yet that doesn’t mean they are unbreakable. Foreign materials, changing process conditions and, most commonly, neglect are just a handful of the common culprits behind why these heat exchangers are often cut down before their time.
MBHEs that use vertical plate technology to indirectly heat, cool or dry free-flow granular solids are no exception to the danger of early retirement. The internal components of this proven heat exchange technology used in industries such as fertilizer, oilseeds and sugar represent the infrastructure that supports the science of heat.
And these components need some attention – specifically the heat exchanger plates that have likely seen plenty of front-line action.
The good news is it’s rarely too late to maintain your heat exchanger plates. The key is knowing what to look for when it comes to early signs of aging, mitigating processing conditions that might contribute to excess wear and, most importantly, creating a regular maintenance schedule.