Plate Heat Exchangers, Cooling Plates & Additive Layer Manufacture
Precision Micro leads the field in the manufacture of plate heat exchangers for the linear motor, aerospace, petrochemical and chemical industries. Typically manufactured from stainless steel, aluminium, titanium or inconel, they are fabricated from flat plates with fluid flow channels chemically etched into them.
The photo etched plates are stacked and diffusion bonded or brazed together to make the core of the heat exchanger.
Highly compact, in some instances up to 6 times smaller than shell and tube heat exchangers for the same duty, they deliver excellent space and weight benefits.
They are robust, extremely efficient and can have a pressure capability of 600 bar while coping with temperatures ranging from cryogenic to 900°C. More than two process streams can be incorporated in a single unit and the requirement for piping and valves is dramatically reduced.
Reaction and mixing can also be incorporated in the plate heat exchanger design, economically increasing functionality in a single unit.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Unlike laser sintering chemical etching and diffusion bonding (or brazing) are proven techniques for 3D component manufacture, currently utilised in a wide range of markets and applications. Material integrity is maintained as chemical etching does not alter the properties of the base material and the process is scalable from prototype to serial production, quickly and economically.
Our components are...
- Highly durable
- Thinner, producing greater efficiency in a smaller space
- Have a non-directional surface finish within the channels for optimum flow
- Excellent thermal conductivity for better cooling
- Enable interlaced channels to further optimize efficiency
Key Benefits of the Chemical Etching Process
- Plates are profiled and channels generated simultaneously in a single etch process
- Photochemical machining imparts no mechanical or thermal stress on the plate that could compromise its planarity (flatness) ensuring bonded plates remain leak tight
- Highly accurate channels can be produced on both sides of the plate economically in a single operation and interlaced for more efficient use of space and optimal cooling performance.
- Large plate sizes up to 700mm x 1500mm can be processed
- Ambient process imposes no thermal or mechanical stress on the plates, preserving planarity for future stacking and bonding.
A leader in this field, Precision Micro operates the largest chemical etching plant of its kind in Europe, dedicated to the manufacture of plates with channel features, producing thousands of tonnes of bespoke plates each year.
With a flexible manufacturing technology that does not cost penalise complexity, Precision Micro offers:
- Rapid prototyping (in days)
- Economical, high volume manufacture in weeks
- Digital tooling for low set-up costs and design flexibility
- Laser Direct Imaging for faster response, greater accuracy and accurate top to bottom alignment
- Multiple channel depths and precise interlacing channel capabilities
- Burr-free, stress-free plates
- No hard tooling or expensive time consuming mould making
Precision Micro has developed quality control procedures to ensure reproducible tolerances on all critical plate dimensions including gas track depth and manifold geometry, and has demonstrated the capability to manufacture parts to stringent pressure-drop specifications.
Further Reading: LEEP produced channels enhance fluid management