How a Compabloc heat exchanger works

Welded plate heat exchanger working principles

Alfa Laval Compabloc welded plate heat exchanger - Exploded view

Sitting at the core of every Compabloc heat exchanger is a stack of corrugated heat-transfer plates made of stainless steel or other corrosion-resistant materials, laser welded alternately to form channels.

The hot and the cold streams flow through alternate channels. Corrugated plates cause high turbulence, resulting in substantially higher heat transfer efficiency with a 50–80% smaller heat transfer area than comparable shell-and-tubes. Flow turbulence also reduces the build-up of fouling. The Compabloc’s unique plate design eliminates dead zones in the heat exchanger.

The two flows in a Compabloc heat exchanger can be configured as single pass, or as multiple pass by using baffles. The number of passes on the hot and cold side can be chosen independently, making it possible to optimize heat transfer even if flow rates on the different sides differ greatly. This unique flexibility means the Compabloc is always optimized for exactly the required duty. The baffles are made to withstand full vacuum, and can be rearranged if design conditions are changed in the future.

Compabloc units have a counter-current flow and can operate with a crossing temperature program (in a single unit), where the temperature approach is as close as 3°C (5.4°F), maximizing energy recovery. The small size and light weight makes it possible to install Compabloc heat exchangers anywhere, for instance at the top of distillation columns or suspended from support structures.

Compabloc - 1-pass condenser

Compabloc - 2-pass condenser

Compabloc liquid-to-liquid

Compabloc reboiler