Benefits of Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers for Heat Transfer Applications

April 4, 2023

Heat exchangers are an essential component in industries where the transfer of heat is critical. Air-cooled heat exchangers are one of the most popular types of heat exchangers used in various applications. They offer several advantages over other types of heat exchangers, such as shell and tube heat exchangers, plate heat exchangers, and spiral heat exchangers. Let’s explore the benefits of using air-cooled exchangers for heat transfer, and why you should get in touch with Altex for air-cooled heat exchanger manufacturing.

How air-cooled exchangers work

Air-cooled heat exchangers (ACHE) are designed to transfer heat from hot fluids or gases to the surrounding air. The heat transfer process takes place by convection, where the heat is transferred from the fluid or gas to the tube surface, and then to the surrounding air by natural or forced convection. The ACHE consists of a bundle of tubes, which are arranged in parallel rows and supported by headers. 

The headers provide the inlet and outlet for the hot fluid or gas, while the fins on the tubes increase the surface area for heat transfer. The fan, which is mounted on the top or side of the ACHE, draws the air through the fins, and the heat is transferred to the air, which then dissipates into the atmosphere.

Advantages and disadvantages of air-cooled exchangers compared to other types of heat exchangers

Air-cooled heat exchangers offer several advantages over other types of heat exchangers, such as:

Cost-effective: Air-cooled heat exchangers are less expensive to install and operate compared to other types of heat exchangers, such as shell and tube heat exchangers, which require a cooling water source and piping.

Low maintenance: ACHE requires less maintenance than other types of heat exchangers since there is no water involved, which eliminates the risk of corrosion, scaling, or fouling.

Suitable for outdoor applications: ACHE is suitable for outdoor applications since they do not require a cooling water source, making them ideal for remote locations or areas where water is scarce.

However, ACHE also has some disadvantages, such as:

Limited heat transfer capacity: ACHE has a lower heat transfer capacity compared to other types of heat exchangers, such as shell and tube heat exchangers, which limits their application in high-temperature and high-pressure processes.

Noise pollution: The fans on ACHE can produce noise pollution, which can be a concern in residential or commercial areas.

Different applications of air-cooled exchangers:

Air-cooled heat exchangers are widely used in various industries, such as:

Power generation: ACHE is used in power generation to cool the condenser steam in a steam turbine power plant.

Oil and gas: ACHE is used in oil and gas processing plants to cool the hot process streams, such as natural gas, crude oil, and other hydrocarbons.

Chemical processing: ACHE is used in chemical processing plants to cool the hot process streams, such as reactors, distillation columns, and other equipment.

Maintenance and cleaning of air-cooled exchangers

Maintenance and cleaning of ACHE are essential to ensure their optimal performance and prevent corrosion, fouling, or scaling. The maintenance and cleaning process includes:

  • Regular inspection of the fins and tubes for damage, corrosion, or fouling.
  • Cleaning of the fins and tubes using high-pressure water or air to remove dirt and debris.
  • Lubrication of the fan motor and inspection of the belt tension.

Get in Touch With Altex to Speak to Us About Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Manufacturing:

Altex is a leading manufacturer of air-cooled heat exchangers with over 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing custom heat exchangers for various industries. Altex offers a wide range of ACHE designs, including forced draft, induced draft, natural draft, and hybrid designs, to meet specific customer requirements.
Contact Altex today to learn more about air-cooled exchangers and how they can benefit your business.


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