A variety of industries rely on air-to-air heat exchangers to collect heat energy lost during heating applications. They are vital to many industrial applications, recovering heat to save energy, reduce expenses, and increase operational efficiency. Heat exchangers are generally classified by the way the air moves through the unit, and they come in three primary types: plate, tube, and wheel. Each variation provides distinct advantages and disadvantages, for performance in a range of applications and environments.

We will discuss the types of air-to-air heat exchangers, their benefits, and applications to help you select the ideal heat exchanger for your application.

Types of Air to Air Heat Exchangers

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Plate Types

Plate type air-to-air heat exchangers provide a low-cost and effective solution to reduce heating and cooling loads on the treatment of process air. The plates on the heat exchanger physically separate the supply and exhaust air, with the supply air passing on one side and the exhaust air passing on the other side. The exhaust air is used to preheat or precool incoming supply air without mixing the air streams.

Plate type heat exchangers can slide into an enclosure with a box-like design to protect the thermal plates. Their ability to preheat or precool air is ideal for ovens, kilns, and fume incinerators.

There are two variations on the plate type air-to-air heat exchanger that offer a range of advantages.

These include:

  • Dimple plate heat exchangers. Dimple plate heat exchangers have enhanced versatility and ruggedness for heavy-duty applications. The dimples on the plate allow the heat exchanger to handle low pressure drop and improve turbulence. The flat plates and the consistent dimple patterns allow for simple cleaning and maintenance.
  • Wave plate heat exchangers. Wave plate heat exchangers are an all-welded metal heat exchanger that combines in-line dimple patterns with a wave pattern on the plates. This combination allows the heat exchanger to deliver higher turbulence and structural integrity while maintaining low pressure drop. They also feature heavy-duty plates that are easy to clean.

Plate type industrial air-to-air heat exchangers can be made to a range of specifications with various thicknesses, spaces, and sizes. When plate type heat exchangers do not deliver adequate performance, tube type air-to-air heat exchangers may offer a suitable solution.

Tube Types

Tube type industrial air-to-air heat exchangers accommodate higher pressures and temperatures than wheel and plate type heat exchangers. They are also an ideal choice in environments that can become dusty or have a high concentration of particles in the air.

Shell & tube air-to-air heat exchangers deliver optimal performance for recovering valuable heat energy from dryers, ovens, kilns, and furnaces. They can also be a reliable primary and secondary recovery system for fume incinerators and VOC abatement systems.

Shell & tube air-to-air heat exchangers have various patterns on the tubes, including rotated squares, rotated triangles, squares, or triangular patterns. Further variations include multiple tube side passes and shell side passes to increase performance and meet size specifications.

Wheel Types

Wheel type air heat exchangers have a space-saving design, delivering higher efficiency for their size than larger plate type heat exchangers. The rotating wheel’s extended surface makes contact with heat energy from the exhaust and transfers it to the incoming fresh air while each stream remains separate. Wheel type heat exchangers are suitable for hot and cold air ducts, with the capacity to handle high airflow and low-pressure drops in addition to their compact size.

Industrial Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers From PRE-heat

Air-to-air heat exchangers come in several types to suit a range of industrial applications, offering an efficient way to recover heat in various industries. At PRE-Heat Inc., we carry plate type and tube type air-to-air heat exchangers.

We have over 40 years of experience in designing and building industrial air-to-air heat exchangers, offering innovative, top-quality solutions that meet your specific needs. For more information, or to get started on your custom solution, request a quote today.

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