Alfa Laval helps Asturiana keep the steam on

With 1.2 million tonnes produced annually, Xstrata plc is one of the world’s largest suppliers of zinc. The company’s zinc smelter at Asturiana de Zinc in San Juan de Nieva, Spain accounts for half of their zinc production.

DATE 2023-11-28

Over the past thirty plus years, Alfa Laval has supported Asturiana de Zinc’s growth with spiral heat exchangers, which are easy to clean, offer minimal downtime and have excellent thermal efficiency.

Easier to clean, more efficient

The Alfa Laval spiral heat exchanger is not only easy to clean, it offers increased heat transfer efficiency than that of a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. So as Asturiana de Zinc grew, they added more Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers.
Today, not only is the original installation still running fault-free, but there are seven more spiral heat exchangers installed in three production lines.

The plant where production never stops

“The units are turnable so the cleaning is done by simply changing the circuits. This means that if the product side has to be cleaned then we make the change and the vapour goes through the product side. So the unit continues working and cleaning at the same time, and we avoid having to stop and clean”, says the Asturiana de Zinc Technology Manager Francisco Tamargo.

Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers






Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers are designed to handle the toughest heat transfer challenges, such as frequent fouling from dirty media or limitations from pressure drop and floor space. 

More about Spiral heat exchangers 


  • The eight units in three production lines are easy to clean and efficient.
  • Identical channels allow for cleaning without interrupting production.
  • Spiral heat cxchangers offer two to three times greater efficiency than shell-and-tube heat exchangers.
We use these units because they’re very strong and very easy to clean and of course because the thermal efficiency is high.

Francisco Tarmago, Asturiana de Zinc, Technology Manager