Alfa-Laval-PHESWEDEN: A leading manufacturer has hit out at what it says are common industry practices to “adjust” plate heat exchanger heat duties in order to win contracts.

In a hard-hitting statement, Alfa Laval says it is committed to raising awareness of the problem of manufacturers using large sizing tolerances when designing plate heat exchangers.

In what it sees as the biggest problem facing the plate heat exchanger industry, Alfa Laval says: “For many years it has been a common, albeit hidden, practice in the industry for suppliers of plate heat exchangers to “adjust” or tweak heat duty calculations when sizing the heat exchangers.

“This creates uncertainty about heat exchanger performance and leads to higher operating costs for the end customer,” the Swedish manufacturer claims.

These “adjusted” calculations have become a weapon of deception in the battle to win contracts, Alfa Laval maintains.

“Manufacturers manipulate calculations so that component costs can be minimised and a smaller plate heat exchanger can be offered at an attractive price. However, the result is that end customers get under-dimensioned heat exchangers, leading to higher system-wide energy use, higher operating costs and compromised environmental performance.

“The widespread practice of “recalculation” is a big problem for everyone in the industry. It makes it harder to choose a heat exchanger that will provide the required performance and increases the risk that it will underperform.

Alfa Laval claims the only way to create a level playing field is to adopt the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) certification programme “the only independent third -party organisation that certifies the performance of plate heat exchangers globally”.

“We are convinced that performance certification is an important step in creating a sound plate heat exchanger market and benefits the industry as a whole,” the company says.