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Sugar FAQ

Success in food processing operations requires a delicate balance between premium appearance, taste, texture and traceable quality on the one hand, and consistently low costs on the other. We provide our customers with exceptional capabilities in technologies essential for production-critical processes such as mixing, separation, heat treatment and cleaning. Partnering up with Alfa Laval ensures the best possible results across the whole spectrum of prepared foods.

Can I use vapour from the process as the heat source in a plate heat exchanger (PHE)?

Yes. Steam or low pressure vapour can be used as heating media. Pan vapour or vapour from the last evaporation effect have historically been regarded as waste heat, but a PHE makes use of this energy. This saves the more valuable heat sources for other duties, such as production of electricity that may be fed to the national grid, or production of hot water for the local district heating network.


How often do I need to clean plate heat exchangers (PHEs)?

Although high turbulence in the media reduces fouling in PHEs, they still need regular cleaning to maintain their high efficiency. But it’s easy! How often you clean them depends on your sugar process, and which positions the PHEs occupy in the process. Optimum cleaning efficiency is ensured by using a dedicated Alfa Laval CIP (Cleaning-in-place) system with Alfa Laval CIP chemicals and additives. For fibrous media, regular backflushing is recommended. Our specialists will advise you on the optimum PHE cleaning procedure for your process.


How can I reduce energy consumption in my sugar plant or refinery?

There is no short answer to this question and there are, of course, many ways to reduce energy consumption. These include energy integration between different production steps and using the lowest grade heat source that can handle the requested duty.

However, only by replacing existing inefficient shell-and-tube heat exchangers, or direct contact heaters, with plate heat exchangers can substantial savings be achieved. Changing to plate technology also makes it possible to use lower grade heat sources. Alfa Laval can help you identify areas offering potential energy savings in your plant.


How come I can recover more heat using Alfa Laval plate heat exchangers (PHEs) than I can using shell-and-tube heat exchangers?

It’s due to their high thermal efficiency, which, in turn, is the result of two factors. In Alfa Laval PHEs, counter-current flow enables crossing temperature programmes. Also, high turbulence in the media gives better heat transfer. For sugar applications, PHEs are up to 300% more efficient than shell-and-tubes?


How big are the gaps between the plates in the WideGap heat exchanger?

Up to 17 mm! This wide gap, the unique plate pattern and the smooth port design allow fibres and particles to flow more easily.