A plate heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat from one fluid, gas or liquid to another without them mixing. They are made up of multiple thin metal plates machined with complex grooves or channels which enable the fluid, gas or liquid to flow.
Whilst CNC machining and stamping can be used to machine these channels, traditional metalworking has limitations, such as compromising flatness and introducing stresses and burrs. Single-point machining processes and presswork tooling can also be slow and uneconomical to produce.
Benefits of etching plate heat exchangers
Complexity at no added cost
Photo etching removes metal simultaneously, meaning complex, bipolar flow fields can be etched with accuracy to ±0.025mm.
Digital photo-tooling, which is low-cost and quick to produce, means set-up costs are minimal. Designers can vary the size and shape of plate channels and incorporate headers, collectors and port features without additional cost or excessive lead times.
Burr- and stress-free
Photo etching imparts no mechanical or thermal stress, unlike CNC machining, stamping and laser machining, which can compromise planarity (flatness) and subsequent stack bonding.
Etched predominantly in 300 series stainless steels, photo etched plate heat exchangers can be specified in lighter-weight, corrosion resistant metals such as aerospace grade aluminium or titanium for extreme environment applications including aircraft engines and photolithography systems.
Brazing and diffusion bonding
Precision Micro offers a number of added value plate heat exchanger technologies. Combining photo etching and diffusion bonding ensures complex cooling channels can be incorporated into heat exchangers at a fraction of the price of laser drilling.
Did you know?
Photo etching is the principal technology used in printed circuit heat exchanger systems (PHCEs). PCHEs are used in LNG carrier reliquefaction systems and are up to 85% smaller and lighter than traditional shell and tube technology.
Benefits at a glance
- Unlimited complexity – headers, collectors and port features without additional cost
- Low-cost tooling/design iterations
- Burr, stress-free and flat
- Channels to 0.025mm and accuracy to ±0.025mm
- Brazing and diffusion bonding available
- Cold plates
- Heat sinks
- Plate heat exchangers
- Cooling plates
- Printed circuit heat exchangers