At PRE-heat, Inc., our team has one goal: “Design and deliver equipment that saves energy and exceeds the customer’s performance and quality expectations.” To that end, over the past four decades, PRE-heat has evolved into a leader in the heat transfer equipment industry, focused on delivering industrial, packaged air-to-air heat recovery units for clients in a range of diverse industries. Learn more about the various types of air-to-air heat exchangers we offer and the applications for which they’re best suited.

What Are Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers?

Air-to-air heat exchangers bring multiple air streams of dissimilar temperatures together to facilitate the thermal transfer of heat, without actually mixing the streams. As a system’s internal air is exhausted, incoming air replaces it, resulting in cooler temperatures and cleaner air. By regulating and reusing heat, an air-to-air heat exchanger will lead to considerable energy savings over time. Heat exchangers are also ideal for the mitigation of airborne particulates and fumes because they keep the exchanged air totally separate, and a system of sleeves, grills, and filters pre-filter the interior air.

The design of most heat-transfer equipment begins simply enough with a vertically or horizontally stacked core, which consists of a series of plates. Optimal plates will be:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Capable of noise absorption
  • Excellent thermal conductors
  • Highly corrosion resistant

Industrial air-to-air heat exchangers are categorized based on the manner in which different air streams flow through the exchanger. Counterflow designs facilitate hot and cold air moving in opposite directions, while a cross-flow system’s air streams move perpendicularly. An axial-flow system utilizes a large wheel that turns as warm air heats a portion of it before cycling that heat into the remainder of the system, whereas a heat pipe exchanger transfers heat within a system using a refrigerant.

Types of Industrial Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers We Provide

PRE-heat designs and manufactures several types of air-to-air heat exchangers, each providing specific airflow movement and unique benefits, as follows:

  • Dimple plate heat exchangers. For this type of heat exchanger, the plates have many consistently spaced dimples ideal for bettering turbulence and managing low pressure drop. Dimple plate heat exchangers have versatile uses, and many industries utilize them for rugged applications given their durability. The uniformity of the plates makes them easy for users to clean and maintain.
  • In-line wave plate heat exchangers. The plates that comprise the core of a wave plate heat exchanger are made with wave patterns interspersed with in-line dimples that create higher air turbulence while retaining a low pressure drop. This keeps the cool and heated air moving at a faster pace, and the extra material gives the plates more structural integrity while making them easier to clean.
  • Shell and tube ALT-imate heat exchangers. These exchangers’ tubes utilize square, triangle, and rotated square or triangle patterns. Design features like multiple side passes in both the tubes and the shell as well as size options can increase performance. Shell and tube heat exchangers recover high levels of heat from equipment like ovens, kilns, and furnaces. They can also function in a primary or secondary capacity for fume and volatile organic compound (VOC) abatement. 
  • Cooling Towers. These towers, which are a vertical variety of shell and tube heat exchangers, cool air while filtering out excessive volumes of particulates. Heated air containing pollutants enters through the top of the exchanger and moves through large-diameter tubing. The heavy particulates fall through and into a collection hopper, while the air cools prior to receiving a final clean in the baghouse. 

Our team understands that it’s important to match the right material to the application. That’s why we use 409 stainless steel for low-temperature applications and grades 304, 309, 310, and 316 for use with higher temperatures or corrosive environments.

Industries We Serve

Heat exchangers are important for a myriad of industries, with applications in pre-cooling or -heating air, drying, curing, and supplying recovery heat or secondary air. Industrial and commercial air-to-air heat exchangers allow facility operators in chemical or industrial manufacturing, in particular, to handle toxins, fumes, or other pollutants within the air. They also increase efficiency and help businesses reap energy and cost savings. Some of the industries that rely on heat transfer equipment include:

  • Shell and tube
    • Boiler blowdown heat recovery
    • Industrial paint systems
    • Oil refining and cooling
    • Preheating
    • Steam generation
    • Vapor recovery systems
  • Plate
    • Chemical processing
    • Closed-loop to open-loop water cooling
    • Cryogenic
    • Food processing
    • Furnaces

Custom Products From PRE-heat

Whatever your industry, the team at PRE-heat can work with you to custom design a heat exchanger that fits your material, sizing, plate spacing, configuration, and airflow needs. We manufacture our all-metal, all-welded equipment for structural integrity and reliable high performance. If you need help selecting the appropriate heat-transfer solution for your facility, please contact us or request a quote today.


We have been designing and building industrial, packaged air-to-air heat recovery units for over 40 years.