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How do you clean a plate heat exchanger the best way?

Why should I clean the plate heat exchanger and how often should I clean it?

The primary reason to clean a plate heat exchanger is to maintain its thermal performance. Cleaning frequency largely depends upon the operating environment of the heat exchanger; for example, temperature and the quality of the media play a role in determining how often cleaning should be conducted.

Setting up a preventive maintenance schedule when installing and commissioning the heat exchanger is recommended. This schedule should be reviewed and revised over time to optimise performance according to the actual operating conditions.

What is Cleaning In Place?

The time-consuming work of opening the plate heat exchanger can be avoided by using an Alfa Laval Cleaning In Place (CIP) unit.

The CIP is connected to the heat exchanger, and a mix of water and cleaning agent is circulated in the heat exchanger at a proper temperature, removing deposits.

After draining and rinsing, the plate heat exchanger is back to full performance capacity.

What chemicals can I use?

All cleaning agents supplied by Alfa Laval are carefully selected formulas, tested and approved. Alfa Laval guarantees that plates, gaskets and glue are not damaged when recommended instructions are followed.

AlfaCaus is used for removal of biological matter, fat, oil and other deposits.

AlfaPhos is used for removal of metallic oxides, rust, calcium carbonate and other inorganic scale.

AlfaAdd provides better cleaning results on oily and fatty surfaces and where biological growth occurs and it also reduces any foaming.

AlfaNeutra is used for neutralization of acidic cleaning liquids.

What should I do with the cleaning agent after CIP/mechanical cleaning?

As a rule, cleaning solutions are strong alkaline or acidic liquid compounds. During the cleaning process, the alkalinity or acidity of the cleaning solution is reduced; however, the solutions still remain strongly alkaline or acid.

In some cases, industrial plants and in particular chemical plants have waste treatment utilities that are capable of handling CIP effluent. This simplifies the CIP process since neutralization of the cleaning solution is not necessary.

However, the situation is much more complicated when waste treatment utilities to treat CIP waste are not available. In these cases, the used cleaning solution must be neutralized to a pH of between 6 and 8 in the CIP equipment prior to discharge.

This neutralization may be performed either directly in the circulation tank for immediate discharge after the completion of each cleaning procedure or in a separate storage tank.

Alfa Laval recommends the analysis of any neutralized chemicals to determine if any type of hazardous compounds was removed from the CIP system. After neutralization, most cleaning solutions may be discharged into public waste water system under the condition that the fouling deposits do not contain heavy metals or other toxic compounds.

Always check with your local authorities to understand current waste water disposal regulations.

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