Vahterus Plate & Shell goes underground – high-pressure units in the mine


World’s leading primary producer of platinum group metals was searching for heat exchangers suitable for high pressure water cooling in one of their South African mines. These eight heat exchangers were to be installed more than a kilometer underground.


  • Shell and tube heat exchangers were too large and heavy to fit under the lift cage to be transported underground to the end-use point, which was also facing severe space limitations.
  • The demanded high design pressures were not suitable for Plate and Frame heat exchangers’ gasketed construction.
  • Placing the exchangers above ground would have involved large energy costs as well as excessive heat losses.


  • The solution was found with Vahterus -Plate&Shell- heat exchangers, which were the only products fulfilling all the requirements of space and efficiency and still able to handle a design pressure of 159 bar.

  • Vahterus Plate & Shell Heat Exchangers provided the required integrity in working underground in a mine where risks are higher than in many other applications. With the safe Vahterus PSHE construction, the chosen Vahterus unit fulfilled all the requirements of mines and safety.

Eight Vahterus PSHE openable units were installed more than a kilometer underground of the shaft to cool service water with chilled water from the surface refrigeration plant. The units’ design pressure was 159 bar(g).