The role of heat exchangers in complete systems

Since the Covid pandemic, we have seen significant sales growth around the world, with turnover increasing more than 60% in the last year. In terms of volume, component orders for heat exchangers remain HRS Heat Exhangers’ core business; however, the number of full systems they are being commissioned to produce is increasing every year and now accounts for the majority of turnover.

By Matt Hale, International Sales & Marketing Director, HRS Heat Exchangers

Most of the demand for complete systems comes from the food and drink industry, but at HRS Heat Exchangers, we are also seeing a strong interest in systems for wastewater treatment, as well as specialist applications such as anaerobic digestion and zero liquid discharge. As you would expect, corrugated tube and scraped surface heat exchangers play a key role in many of these thermal treatment systems, many of which are designed for the efficient heat transfer or processing of challenging materials – such as those with high viscosity or high fouling potential. E ach HRS product is designed to the client’s individual needs, meaning that customers get the right system first time around.

HRS Thermblock M Series similar to that supplied to the Spanish fruit processor.
HRS Thermblock M Series similar to that supplied to the Spanish fruit processor.

“The average length of a typical system project from order to commissioning is between 20 and 26 weeks,” explains HRS Engineering Manager Alejandro Lopez. “We design and build each system to the client’s exact specification, and we also see each system through the commissioning phase. This can mean travelling anywhere in the world from our manufacturing base in Spain, although we are increasingly seeing clients opt for remote commissioning, which we are happy to facilitate.

“Our most popular systems are for pasteurising juices, similar to those in the fruit growing area near our manufacturing base in Murcia, Spain. Energy recovery, which can reduce energy consumption by 70-80% in juice processing, is increasingly popular and we are designing more systems which incorporate this.

“In the last few years, we’ve completed a number of other systems. For example, those which contain tanks, aseptic filling stations, clean-in-place systems, preparation areas and more. We are actively looking to grow our systems department and have recruited additional engineering staff to accommodate this.”

HRS are seeing increased demand for complete line solutions, particularly in the food sector.

Types of systems

Matt Hale, International Sales & Marketing Director, HRS Heat Exchangers.

HRS Heat Exchangers offers clients a range of modular or turnkey system solutions, such as our Asepticblock pasteurisers and sterilisers which combine heat treatment (using a range of heat exchanger types), aseptic filling and clean-in-place capabilities in a single system, and which can be skid-mounted for easy installation. Other systems for the food and drink sector include deaeration systems, our I Series of ice crushers and melters, direct steam injection sterilisers (DSI Series) and dedicated CIP and SIP systems. We also provide trial systems for conducting product and processing trials before committing to a final production solution.

For the energy and environmental sectors, we produce a number of concentration and evaporation systems (as well as solutions for zero liquid discharge), and specific systems for anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment including Digestate Concentration Systems (DCS), Digestate Pasteurisation Systems (DPS) and Biogas Dehumidification Systems (BDS).

Although systems represent an increasing share of our business, component heat exchangers and other products (such as our BP Series of hydraulic piston pumps) underpin our whole business, as well as providing the foundation for many of our complete solutions. We continue to invest in product development and innovation.

HRS Asepticblock pasteurisers and sterilisers which combine heat treatment, aseptic fi lling and clean-in-place capabilities in a single system.
HRS produces a number of systems for environmental and waste treatment industries, including its Digestate Pasteurisation System.
» The HRS BDS is specifi cally designed to improve the performance of gas engines.

About HRS Heat Exchangers

Located in the UK, HRS Heat Exchangers is part of the EIL Group (Exchanger Industries Limited), which operates at the forefront of thermal technology. HRS offers innovative heat transfer solutions worldwide across a diverse range of industries. With more than 40 years’ experience in t he food and drink, energy, environmental and industrial sectors, specialising in the design and manufacture of an extensive range of turnkey systems and components, incorporating our corrugated tubular and scraped surface heat exchanger technology, HRS products are compliant with global design and industry standards.

Compete sterilisation system for fruit juice processing

HRS supplied a complete sterilisation and aseptic filling solution for a leading specialist in fruit product processing and logistics located in Murcia, Spain. With the capacity to process up to 300,000 litres of fruit juice per day, the main products include concentrated juices such as lemon, orange and mandarin, grape and peach, and some mixed fruit juices.

The first part of the system sterilises the product in an HRS Thermblock M Series steriliser featuring a MI Series multi-tube heat exchanger. The product is pre-heated in a buffer tank to 48°C, then passes through a deaerator to mitigate oxidisation which would spoil the product. It is then heated to pasteurisation temperature (around 92°C) for one minute to kill any bacteria, before being cooled to 31°C to preserve quality.

The sterilised product is then placed into sterilised bags within drums using an HRS Aseptic filler. The two-headed design ensures continuous operation, with the product placed into 200 litre bags inside a drum at a rate of 12,000 litres/hr (60 drums/hr). Once full, the drums are then then transported to final customers across Europe and the United States.

The client’s Plant Manager comments: “The HRS aseptic plant was designed and optimised to exactly meet our needs and we are very satisfied with it. It’s simple to use and manage, does exactly what it was designed to do and is extremely reliable. We have had no problems with it since it was installed. The engineering involved is excellent and I would definitely recommend both the system and HRS as a company.”

About this Featured Story

This Featured Story was first published in Heat Exchanger World Magazine in December 2023. To read more Featured Stories and many other articles, subscribe to our print magazine.

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