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Thread: Cleaning Heat Exchanger

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    14

    Cleaning Heat Exchanger

    We are looking to take our heat exchanger apart and clean the plates, inspect the gaskets, replace any in question, etc. It is a Thermaline T8 S-30.

    We do a normal back flush then forward flush after each brew. We also CIP regularly. Is it necessary to disassemble?

    Does anyone know of any companies that do this?
    Evan Fritz
    Head Brewer
    Manayunk Brewing Co.
    Philadelphia, PA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    384
    Are you having problems with it? My opinion on HE is if it aint broke dont fix it. They are horrible to put back together and one plate wrong and then its a real mess. I water hammer mine when flowing caustic and acids thru run water both ways sometimes change caustics and I havent had an issue. But Im not one to gossip
    Mike Eme
    Brewmaster
    Cheboygan Brewery
    Cheboygan Michigan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,511
    If you don't have any good reason to tear the HX down, don't. Good reasons would be leaks and/or reduced efficiency (increased knock-out times) and not much else.

    If you do decide to tear it down, have a full set of gaskets on hand so you won't have days or weeks of downtime when you tear one--a set for our Mueller Accutherm is about $450. Be meticulously careful about keeping the plates in order and orientation. A good way to do this is to paint a diagonal stripe on one of the long edges of the plate pack before tearing it down. Be sure you have the manufacturer's specs for final pack thickness.

    Our cleaning regime is much like yours, and my boss decided we needed to open the plates up last year just because it hadn't been done for a number of years. They were fine.

    If it ain't fix, don't broke it.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Duluth, MN
    Posts
    721

    Preventive Maintainance

    Hey- that's the first brewery I ever worked on. I heard its a new brewhouse though.

    Documented PM's should be a part of every breweries overall maintenance plan. Waiting for things to break before paying attention to them is a poor way to run a brewery.
    The heat exchanger should be at least a Annual PM item and as much as Quarterly. Additionally if the cleaning regime is changed, a tear-down can confirm the efficacy of the new program.

    Points to remember:
    • - Have a full set of new gaskets on hand in case you need them.
    • - Use an engraver to number the plates in like manner, upper right corner for example, so you can reassemble them facing correctly and in the right order. Paint or sharpie can come off
    • - Take note of the packing dimensions, usually on the ID plate, and tighten accordingly. Over-tightening is just as bad as under-tightening.
    • - Passivate after you re-assemble.


    One thing you did not mention is packing the Heat-ex with sani in-between brews. Its a good practice and gives you peace of mind. Id avoid long contact with PAA though as it tends to eat gaskets. Iodophor or an acid anionic work good hear as they also have longer persistence.

    Don't worry about getting help, its really not that hard. But there are a lot of friendly brewers in that area, I'm sure someone would be willing to stop by if you reach out.

    Good Luck!
    Brewmaster, Fitger's Brewhouse
    tbriggs@justtakeaction.com
    "Your results may vary"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,520
    I know some people are happy with iodophors, but I have seen stainless chewed up just like it does with chlorine - fully perforated, cracks, the works - both PHEs and assorted other brewery kit. Personally I would leave the PHE with the final rinse of PAA, but definitely no more than 250 ppm, and preferably more like 125 ppm or, my preference, sterilise with 90 degree hot water, and allow to cool down without allowing any air ingress. Resterilise before use if over 24 hours gap. If the gaskets are attacked by this strength of PAA, then in my book they are not fit for purpose, You should be able to get Viton seals, which are far, far more resistant to PAA than any non viton gasket.

    Re other comments - all good in my book, don't strip unless you have a known blockage, or if it was blocked previously after a similar number of brews, but if you do strip - be prepared with all the measurements and fresh gaskets etc.
    dick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Enumclaw, WA.
    Posts
    13

    Heat exchanger procedure

    Quote Originally Posted by ferman View Post
    We are looking to take our heat exchanger apart and clean the plates, inspect the gaskets, replace any in question, etc. It is a Thermaline T8 S-30.

    We do a normal back flush then forward flush after each brew. We also CIP regularly. Is it necessary to disassemble?

    Does anyone know of any companies that do this?
    I agree that if it is not broke, don't fix it, but you should inspect it periodically, depending on volume through it. Here are some tips for you. If you are using a built caustic, then once or twice a month purchase a percarbonated alkaline cleaner, use at 2 oz. per gallon of hot water, circulate for 30 minutes, and leave it full or "packed up" overnight and flush out very thoroughly with warm water in the morning. This really cleans them out, and is not harmful to the gaskets. Leaving caustic in contact with gaskets for long periods will cause them to start deteriorating and "inking out". That is why you should always acid rinse or clean after caustic to neutralize it to protect your gaskets. Hope this is helpful ! Dean of Clean

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Birmingham, UK
    Posts
    8
    Old topic but thought I would post in case this throws up in google for anyone. Recently cleaned out our UKE-2A2 (6bbl micro brewery) and found it immaculate - we flush with caustic after every brew and during CIP of fermenters. Lots of scum around all connections etc though and valves get nackered, so worth a routine clean.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    Ted is spot on. Don't wait for things to break in your brewery, preventive maintenance is a must. If you have never torn a heat exchanger apart before it can seem a little daunting at first; hire someone to come out to run maintenance and take notes so you can do it in the future. Annual breakdowns, or anytime you see your efficiency drop are ideal times to tear it apart. Always run your CIP backwards and at least 1.5x faster than your wort runs through to optimize cleaning, this should prevent any unnecessary build up and save headaches down the road.

    Cheers

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Van Nuys, CA, USA
    Posts
    7
    FWIW, we tear ours down once a year and do a cleaning and inspection. It's a really great validation of CIP procedures.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Farmington, ME
    Posts
    32
    Reviving an old thread...purchased a used Mueller and it looks like it was slightly over tightened (back plate is bowed in at center). Any good fixes other than a new plate and all new gaskets?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    384
    I wouldnt take a chance on it. IMHO replace gaskets and plates
    Mike Eme
    Brewmaster
    Cheboygan Brewery
    Cheboygan Michigan

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,511
    If you haven't taken it apart already, the minimum pack thickness is stated on the data plate. Measure from the outsides of the heavy plates. If the measurement isn't less than the minimum on the DP, it hasn't been over tightened.

    I'd still replace the gaskets and inspect the plates. You can get the gasket kit and anything else from Mueller. They're good folks to work with.

    Once again, to make your life easier, paint a diagonal line on the edges of the plates. This will make any mis-placed/reversed plates stand out like a sore thumb.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    12

    Exclamation yearly inspection is good practice

    I see people stating that "if it aint broke don't fix it"...id like to ask these people if they also refuse to visually inspect their ferms/brites/hoses and such at regular intervals? It only takes one link in your brewery maintenance chain to ruin your efforts. It is a good idea to break open your HX once a year...we do it Jan 1 to keep it simple. Even if you have sound brewing practices, you can get debris that gets trapped between the plates that can harbor bugs. I've inspected used HX's we've purchased and before putting them into service found what looks like strips of wood, whole cone hops and buildup on the plates. We do the typical back flush, CIP and sani cycle where we "trap" and push out with wort. We also periodically "trap" caustic in the HX during the CIP process to sit for a while...I TIG'd a HX bypass into place. To date we've had consistent cooling times, no infections and can sleep at night. Even if you have a large HX it only takes a few hours to break apart an inspect. Our HX has long guide bars so we don't even need to fully disassemble...you can order longer bars for most HX's to make your inspection faster and ensure you don't get the order of plates mixed up.

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