Vahterus Plate & Shell Heat Exchanger as a Temperature Control Unit

Tuomas Aikkinen visiting Vahterus customer Sanofi-Aventis

Pharmaceutical products are vital to the world, especially during these challenging times in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19). Pharmaceutical companies are working at top speed on vaccines and treatments against this pandemic. The key part of the finished pharmaceutical product is the active pharmaceutical ingredient, called API. Manufacturing APIs is often input-based, and APIs are manufactured in reactors, where the heat exchanger is used as a cooler, heater or steam condenser to maintain or achieve the desired temperature for the reactor. Accurate temperature control is critical throughout the whole manufacturing process.

PSHEs are widely used in pharmaceutical processes, especially temperature-control units, one of the first applications in the chemical sector for PSHE. Vahterus has supplied over 1,000 heat exchangers to thermal oil-cooling applications, including those used in other business areas. During the last 30 years, Vahterus has collaborated with many pharmaceutical companies and reactor manufacturers to create standardised models for their processes and skids.

Temperature-control heat exchangers heat up or cool down the plant’s manufacturing equipment such as reactors, filter dryers, dryers, columns, condensers, crystallisers, evaporators etc. Normally, a reactor requires two heat exchangers, one for heating and one for cooling, as well as other instruments and devices around the heat exchanger. Ensuring safety is vital in the processes of a pharmaceutical plant. Therefore, the heat exchangers that are part of the heating and cooling systems must be stable. Vahterus’ PSHE endures in these challenging conditions because of its fully welded structure without gaskets. There are no weak points in the plate pack construction and the plate pack is not welded onto the exchanger. Temperature-control units are often used for batch operation in the pharmaceutical environment, making the control more complicated and challenging. For batch operation, the main advantage of the PSHE design is the round plate inside the shell, a robust design that can withstand thermal stress in these cyclic load applications. The compact size also allows the reactor to have a short cycle time to keep the process efficient and lower the energy consumption.

Krista Karjala

Key Account Manager at Vahterus

Vahterus unit installed in pharmaceutical process