A frequently asked question from our customers in Tempco is referred to the possibility of swapping the connections of pipings in plate heat exchangers. That’s the topic I’m discussing in the new tutorial on our Tempco Youtube channel (please turn on english subtitles). In the majority of cases, the answer is Yes, it is possible, but there are also some exceptions so that is always better to ask for it in advance.
The request regards usually the possibility of reversing the direction of the flows, or to swap connections between the primary and secondary circuit. Plate heat exchangers generally have symmetrical hydraulic circuits, so that’s why it is usually possible to reverse the directions of the flows, that typically travel in countercurrent within the exchanger, and also to invert the connections between primary and secondary circuit. In both cases, the thermal transfer efficiency of the heat exchanger is not affected in a sensible way.
Anyway, is always better to ask in advance, because there are some applications with circuits that are not symmetrical, or with draining requirements. This is the case of steam, which must always enters the heat exchanger from above, so that condensation can go to the bottom in order to be completely drained from the exchanger. When using steam, it is then possible to swap primary and secondary circuit, but the direction of the flows cannot be reversed.