Welded spiral heat exchangers
Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers are designed to handle the toughest heat transfer challenges. Whether it’s frequent fouling from dirty media, or limitations from pressure drop and floor space, they are the ultimate problem solver for liquid-to-liquid and two-phase duties. The robust, efficient and compact designs keep both installation and maintenance costs extremely low, and they have a proven reputation for almost never fouling up.
Improving sustainability with Alfa Laval’s spiral heat exchangers
- Minimal fouling, or clogging, in duties involving very dirty, highly viscous or particulate media, ensures uptime
- Easy-to-open design makes cleaning quick and simple, ensuring low maintenance costs
- Reduced pipework and steel structures means lower installation costs
- Increased energy savings and reduced emissions thanks to thermal efficiencies 2-3 times higher than comparable shell-and tube exchangers
- Each unit is fully customized, offering the best thermal fit for the specific duty
Service for spirals
Check out our many service offerings as well as our useful tips on how to keep your spiral heat exchanger in tip top condition.
We will be happy to discuss the benefits a welded spiral heat exchanger can bring you and show how we can help improve your operation.
HEXpert selector tool
Quickly find the ideal heat exchanger for demanding process applications. Fill in information about your duty, and within five minutes you can explore a customized recommendation for an efficient thermal solution.
SpiralPro for liquid-to-liquid duties
Alfa Laval’s SelfClean™ construction makes SpiralPro model heat exchangers a smart choice when working with dirty fluids, sludges, emulsions, slurries, fibres or particle loaded liquids. Since the fluids flow continuously in one single channel, the fluid force acts against any deposits, “pushing” them through the channel and out the other end.
The compact nature of the SpiralPro model often allows several large shell-and-tubes heat exchangers to be replaced by one single SpiralPro exchanger. This creates considerable infrastructure benefits in addition to reducing maintenance and cleaning requirements. If the unit needs cleaning, the covers can easily be removed for washing with a hydro jet.
- Fouling liquids containing solids, fibres, liquors, slurries and sludges
- Liquid-to-liquid preheating, heating, cooling, interchanging and heat recovery
SpiralPro for steam heater duties
SpiralPro model heat exchangers optimized for duties involving steam heating of liquids that are highly fouling are also available. Like all SpiralPro units, these are fully accessible for quick and easy cleaning with hydro jets.
The counter-current flow also ensures a very close temperature approach for maximum thermal efficiency.
- Fouling liquids containing solids or fibres, liquors, slurries and sludges and other challenging fluids that require heating by steam
SpiralCond for vacuum condensing and evaporation duties
SpiralCond model heat exchangers offer a highly efficient solution for challenging two-phase duties, including both condensing and evaporation (reboiling). SpiralCond’s compact design and the fact that it is configured vertically results in a very small footprint, compared to equivalent shell-and-tube exchangers, while also reducing supporting structures, and piping complexity.
SpiralCond units have cross-flow rather than counter-current flow. Each unit is fully customized according to the duty required, with channel spacing adjusted to provide the lowest pressure drop. SpiralCond is therefore ideally suited to vacuum condensing applications.
- Gases: pure vapour and mixtures with inert gases
- Vapour/liquid: top condensers, reflux condensers, vacuum condensers, vent condensers, reboilers with fouling fluids, gas coolers
SpiralCond in stacked column configuration
For condensing and evaporation applications where multiple cooling media are involved, Alfa Laval can deliver SpiralCond model heat exchangers integrated in a column. Like the single stand-alone SpiralCond, this configuration has cross-flow and open channels for extremely low pressure drop in vacuum situations.
The high efficiency of SpiralCond allows the column to be both shorter in height and smaller in diameter than traditional column solutions, thus offering major savings in infrastructure and installation costs.
- Vapour-liquid: top condensers, reflux condensers, vacuum condensers and vent condensers
Meet our experts
Improving sustainability with welded spiral heat exchangers
Unique design and manufacturing expertise
Improve your process sustainability
The ultimate problem solver
How it works
Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers are circular units containing two concentric spiral flow channels, one for each fluid. The different media flow counter currently: one fluid enters the centre of the unit and flows towards the periphery, the other enters the unit at the periphery and moves towards the centre. The channels are curved and have a uniform cross section. There is no risk of intermixing.
The product channel is normally open on one side and closed on the other. The channel for the heating/cooling medium can sometimes be closed on both sides, depending on the cleanliness of the heating/cooling medium. Each channel has one connection in the centre and one on the periphery of the heat exchanger.
The spiral geometry, with a single channel for each medium and continuous curving, is highly suitable for fluids that tend to cause fouling. This design results in high flow turbulence with resulting high shear stress, dramatically reducing the risk of fouling.
The single-channel geometry also creates a scrubbing effect that we refer to as the SelfClean™ design. If fouling does occur in the heat transfer channel, the cross-section of this part of the channel is decreased. However, since the entire flow must still pass through the channel, the velocity increases, the resulting fluid force then flushing away any accumulations of deposits as they form.
Compare this design with shell-and-tube heat exchangers where the flow enters different tubes in parallel. When tubes start to foul, pressure drop increases pushing the fluid to find alternative flow paths. The result is that fouling and clogging of the tubes happens very quickly. With Alfa Laval spirals, on the other hand, fouling and clogging is virtually eliminated.
SpiralPro Steam Heater
Frequent cleaning a thing of the past
Mexichem, a global leader in plastic piping systems and in the chemical/petrochemical industries, needed to increase its production capacity to meet market demands.
The ultimate solution to fouling problems
Leuna Germany’s MIDER refinery, owned by Total S.A., originally installed two tubular heat exchangers for cooling bottoms product in their fluid catalytic cracking unit.
One of the world´s largest zinc producers
"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, Technology Manager, Asturiana de Zinc
Compared to other heat exchangers used in similar applications, Alfa Laval spiral designs offer a more compact footprint with increased thermal efficiency.
They are also built with unique features that ensure the most reliable performance:
Superior cleaning and extended performance
A single channel for each fluid ensures reliable self-cleaning of the unit.
Automated, reliable channel enclosure
An automated bending and welding process for the closure of each channel ensures consistent quality and reliability.
A custom solution for high-pressure duties
Circular shell design and a self-supporting internal coil improves mechanical strength under high pressure.
Qualified support at your facility
True onsite service by skilled engineers, anywhere in the world.
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Rethink your refinery
When partnering with Alfa Laval, you get access to a range of process optimization services. They cover all stages of your project from initial idea generation, through the feasibility-and basic design study, to installation and commissioning of our equipment. Working closely with licensors, engineering companies and end-users, Alfa Laval’s refinery team brings world-leading expertise in process optimization to all types of refinery projects, maximizing the probability of project success and ROI.
Save your energy – from start to finish!
Benefit from Alfa Laval’s decades of experience of working with EPC projects and your end customers. We can support you throughout the project to make sure your customers get the optimal heat exchanger package.
Imagine a more sustainable world. A world where it takes less to produce even more. A world where we efficiently meet our growing energy demands and simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions. Imagine a world where we can harness the power of natural resources, while preserving them at the same time. At Alfa Laval, we don’t just imagine this world. We’re building it – together with our customers and our partners.