Reciprocating Action Solves Tough Heat Exchange Challenges

HRS offers the Unicus Series of reciprocating scraped surface heat exchangers

3 Min Read
HRS has launched the Unicus Series of reciprocating scraped surface heat exchangersImage courtesy of HRS Heat Exchangers

Scraped surface heat exchangers have been used for difficult heat transfer applications involving viscous fluids or where fouling is an issue, such as evaporation processes. The most common type of scraped surface heat exchanger (SSHE) uses a rotating shaft with blades or augers that scrape the surface of the tube. The HRS R Series is based on this approach. However, the design is not optimal for every situation, and so HRS developed the Unicus Series of reciprocating scraped surface heat exchangers.

The HRS Unicus Series is specifically designed to provide the improved heat transfer of a traditional SSHE, but with a gentle action to preserve the quality and integrity of delicate food products such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream, meat paste, and products containing whole pieces of fruits or vegetables. Over the years, a number of different scraper designs have been developed, meaning that every application, from processing curds to heating sauce or pasteurizing fruit compotes can be handled in the most efficient yet gentle way possible. Other applications where the Unicus Series has been beneficial include handling meat slurry and mince, and processing yeast-malt extracts.

The hygienic design uses a patented stainless steel scraping mechanism that moves hydraulically back and forth within each interior tube. The movement performs two key functions: it minimizes potential fouling by keeping the tube wall clean and creates turbulence within the material. Together, these actions increase the rate of heat transfer in the material, creating a highly efficient process that is ideal for viscous and high-fouling materials.

Since they are controlled separately, the speed of the scrapers can be optimized for a particular product being processed, so that materials that are susceptible to shear stress or pressure damage (such as creams and custards) can be handled delicately to prevent damage while still providing high levels of heat transfer. The Unicus Series is particularly useful in handling viscous food products where texture and consistency are important attributes. For example, some creams or sauces may shear when subjected to excess pressure, making them unusable. The Unicus means that effective heat transfer can be carried out at low pressures, which overcomes these problems.

Each Unicus SSHE consists of three elements: a hydraulic cylinder and power pack (although in smaller units a pneumatic cylinder can be supplied instead), a separation chamber to ensure hygiene and preserve product separation from the motor, and the heat exchanger itself. The heat exchanger consists of a number of tubes, each of which contains a stainless-steel rod to which the appropriate scraping elements are fitted. Using a range of food-safe materials including Teflon and PEEK (polyether ether ketone), these provide different internal geometry setups according to the application, such as 120° scrapers for large particulates and 360° scrapers for viscous fluids without particulates.

The Unicus Series is also fully scalable by increasing the shell diameter and adding more interior tubes from a single tube up to 80 in one shell. A key feature is the specially designed seals that separate the inner tube from the separation chamber, tailored to the product application. These seals prevent leakage of the product and ensure internal and external hygiene. A standard range of models for food processing provide heat transfer areas from 0.7 to 10 sq m, while larger models up to 120 sq m can be made for specific uses.

HRS Heat Exchangers, Atlanta, GA 770-726-3540

About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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