From the term itself, a heat exchanger exchanges heat from one fluid to another. Many industries such as the food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries use heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are very useful for food industries because they reduce the energy consumption of their processes.
Generally, heat exchangers work by transferring heat from a hot fluid to a cold fluid on a metal surface. Scientifically speaking, heat always transfers from a body with a higher temperature to another object with a lower temperature, and it is never the other way around. However, other functions may vary from one heat exchanger manufacturer to another.
Why are heat exchangers important in the food industry?
The two main reasons why heat exchangers are important to the food industry are:
- Improved sanitation and hygiene
It is very important to practice good hygiene and sanitation in any food production. People ingest food, and unhygienic practices can cause diseases and other health problems.
The cleanliness of heat exchangers greatly depends on their design. Before purchasing from a heat exchanger manufacturer, it is important to consider its design first. Ensure that its flow rate is high enough to give off adequate turbulence and velocity to remove any unwanted microbial accumulation on the plate.
The quality of materials used in constructing the heat exchanger is another important factor that any industry should check before purchasing because it also affects the cleanliness and sanitation of the food. They must check each part of the heat exchanger if certified and regularly perform without any malfunctions to ensure that it only promotes good hygiene and sanitation.
Heat exchangers clean the fluids by removing the residues from the system components by heating them.
- Energy efficient
A plate heat exchanger is commonly used in dairy and other food industries, such as in milk, cheese, energy drink, and juice pasteurisation. It is also helpful in other processes like liquid egg processing, heating soup and sauce, heating and cooling beer, ketchup, mustard, and other condiments.
Since heat exchangers can self-clean without having to open or dismantle them, energy consumption is reduced because water and electricity are conserved.
For example, in the pasteurisation of milk, it needs to be stored at a very low temperature or about 4 degrees Celsius to avoid the growth of bacteria. Then, it is heated to 72 degrees Celsius for about 15 seconds to kill these harmful microbes. And it is chilled again back to 4 degrees Celsius to preserve it.
That being said, the process would seem to transfer too much heat. But with a heat exchanger, the process of heating and cooling can be simultaneous, reducing energy consumption. In this process, manufacturers can recycle 94% to 95% of the milk content. Thus, heat exchangers play a huge role in promoting energy efficiency.
Heat exchangers are very common and important to most industries, especially the food and beverage industry. With the help of heat exchangers, the overall process promotes improved hygiene and sanitation, which greatly affects the food quality. Heat exchangers are also essential in promoting energy efficiency in every process. High content of food is recycled if heat exchangers are properly used. Also, it is important to use heat exchangers built from high-quality and clean materials to avoid any malfunctions or problems in the process.