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Building the Best,

Servicing the Rest! TM

Plate Heat Exchanger Operation and Maintenance Manual

AGC Proflow Series Operation and Maintenance Manual

Table of Contents
Introduction Plate Heat Exchanger Basics
Plates Thermal Styles Flow Patterns Plate Punching (Vertical Flow) Plate Punching (Diagonal Flow) Gaskets 4 5 6 6-7 7-9 10 11 12 13 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 19 20 21-22 23 24

Installation and Operation

Unloading and Connections Starting Up for the First Time


General Recommendations Opening the Unit Plate Removal Servicing Plates and Gaskets Reassembling the Unit Plate Order Tightening the Unit

Maintenance Records Notes

Congratulations on your purchase of an AGC Proflow Series Plate Heat Exchanger. This manual is designed to aid you in better maintaining your plate heat exchanger as well as provide you with some general information regarding AGCs units. Please read this manual carefully before operating your heat exchanger. Failure to do so may result in personal harm or damage to your plate heat exchanger and/or its associated equipment. Please feel free to contact one of our representatives if you need any further assistance.

AGCs plate heat exchangers are designed to cover the entire spectrum of process applications ranging from industrial to food & dairy. Our trained engineers have selected and streamed a unit to suit your particular application, including the selection of appropriate plate and gasket materials. Each plate heat exchanger comes with a detailed laminated copy of the streaming and process specifications pertaining to your unit. Please reference this drawing when performing any maintenance on your unit. See Fig. 1

AGC has a complete inventory of replacement parts for your plate heat exchanger. Contact one of our representatives, or your authorized AGC distributor when ordering new parts. Make sure to have your serial number ready (located on drawing and on nameplate) when placing an order. This reference will assure that the proper materials are supplied. Please call if you cannot identify your unit and we will locate it in our filing system.

Plate Heat Exchanger Basics

AGCs plate heat exchangers contain the following basic components:
Follower Top Bar

Tie Bolts * Fixed End

End Support

Bottom Bar

Plate Pack

* Some units designed for frequent frame opening may utilize a single or dual spindle type

closure rather than the tie bolt type closure shown above. Multiple section frames will usually include one or more special divider blocks or terminals (not shown).

AGCs frames come in two (2) different materials. Depending on your application, the plate heat exchanger frame can be either stainless steel, or powder coated mild steel. The ProFlow plate pack consists of alternating left and right-hand flow plates manufactured in stainless steel (T-316), titanium, or alternate alloys. Each plate has an elastomer gasket around its perimeter which directs the flow across the plate. The gaskets seal the unit and prevent mixing of the two heat transfer liquids. See Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Fig. 3

All ProFlow Series plates come standard in type 316 stainless steel. This is a general purpose material suitable for most applications. Alternate alloys such as titanium, 254 SMO, or Hastelloy may also be utilized where required. Plate material is selected specifically for your application, and is indicated on the drawing.

Thermal Styles
Most ProFlow Series plates come in two thermal styles classified as Type A and Type B. These different thermal styles may be used alone or together to tailor the heat transfer and pressure drop characteristics of the heat exchanger to your specific application. Type A plates feature a broader chevron angle than Type B plates. See Fig. 4. The exception to this rule is the Pro5 series plate that is a washboard type design with 6

corrugations running horizontally across the plate, rather than V-shaped chevrons shown here.

Flow Patterns
All ProFlow series plates are either right or left hand, and must be arranged in an alternating pattern according to the streaming drawing. Right and left hand plates are identified in figures 5 & 6. The Pro5 and ProHX series plates are diagonal flow, while the rest of the Proflow(tm) series plates are vertical flow. This designation is self explanatory, and refers to how the fluid flows across the plate from top to bottom (or vice versa). See figures 5 & 6.

Fig. 5

Vertical Flow

Right Hand

Left Hand

Fig. 6

Diagonal Flow

Right Hand

Left Hand

Diagonal flow plates utilize different right hand and left hand plates, while vertical flow plates use a common stamping. This means, in the case of vertical flow, that a right hand plate can be made into a left hand plate (and vice versa) simply by turning it upside down.

Plate heat exchangers are streamed for specific applications. This is accomplished by opening or blocking specific plate ports. Turning a vertical plate over may change the port punching! See figure 7. Four-hole plates and blank plates, however, will not be affected. See figures 8 & 9 for port punching diagrams.

Fig. 7

Fig. 8: Plate Punching Diagram: Vertical Flow Units


Fig. 9: Plate Punching Diagram: Diagonal Flow Units


All Proflow(tm) Series plates come with the gasket glued in and the cement oven cured. This assures that the gasket will not shift or be pulled loose during frame assembly and dismantling. The Pro5 model uses adhesiveless press-in replacement gaskets; however, these too are glued-in on factory gasketed plates. Gaskets are available in all popular elastomers including Nitrile, EPDM, RCB, Viton, etc.. Gasket material is selected specifically for your application, and is indicated on the drawing. All FLOW and PORT gaskets are molded as a single piece. The Pro5 END gaskets are also molded as a single piece, but the rest of the Proflow(tm) Series END gaskets are assembled by cutting two flow gaskets. See Fig. 10. END gaskets go on the first plate in each section, as counted from the fixed head end. PORT gaskets are used (as required) on fixed heads, followers, and terminals. All other gaskets in the plate pack are FLOW GASKETS.

Fig. 10

Vertical Flow

Diagonal Flow


Installation & Operation Unloading and Connections

DO NOT lift the heat exchanger by the nozzles when unloading. This may cause severe damage to the unit and affect its performance. It is necessary to mount the unit on a flat level surface to assure a secure foundation when performing maintenance. Make sure that there is enough space between the tightening bolts or spindles and the nearest structure to assure that a wrench can fit without any obstructions. All piping should be connected to the appropriate ports per the production drawing. Make sure that the piping is well supported and connections are made with minimal stress on the nozzles. Some maneuvering may be necessary when aligning the piping.

Starting Up for the First Time

Before applying pressure for the first time, observe the sides of the plates to verify that all gaskets and plates seated properly. Verify that the tightening dimension of the plate pack agrees with the tightening dimension specified on the production drawing. The tightening dimension is measured from the INSIDE of the FIXED END to the INSIDE of the FOLLOWER, and must be identical top-to-bottom and side-to-side. An incorrect tightening dimension may result in improper sealing or damage to the plates and gaskets. See Fig. 11. Give one final check to assure all piping is connected to the proper inlets and outlets as specified on the production
Fig. 11


Over time, your plate heat exchanger will require cleaning and routine maintenance. When performing any maintenance procedure, please use extreme caution to reduce the chance of bodily injury or damage to the unit. Read all safety manuals and follow all precautions when dealing with cleaning chemicals. Always wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment

General Recommendations

It is advisable to check the tightening dimension periodically as well as check for any visible signs that the plate pack is leaking.

Over time, your plate heat exchanger will require cleaning and routine maintenance. When performing any maintenance procedure, please use extreme caution to reduce the chance of bodily injury or damage to the unit. Read all safety manuals and follow all precautions when dealing with cleaning chemicals. Always wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment.
Occasionally lubricate the tie-bolts or spindles to allow for easier assembly and disassembly. Periodically open the unit to inspect plates for wear and corrosion, and inspect gaskets for compression set and breakdown. To assure peak operation, the plates should be regularly cleaned. This can be accomplished by opening the unit and cleaning the plates by hand using a nylon brush or pressure washer. In hygienic applications, the unit will most likely be Cleaned-In-Place (C.I.P.) using chemicals and high fluid flow rates. Always consult your chemical supplier for recommendations of the appropriate cleaning agents, concentrations, temperatures, and exposure times. Every installation is different and requires specific cleaning regimens. Care should be taken to assure that the chemicals and temperatures used will not harm the plate and gasket materials. If chemicals are used for cleaning, be absolutely sure that they are rinsed or removed properly before putting the unit back into service.


Opening the Unit

Always wear leather gloves when handling the plates. Plate edges are extremely sharp. Make sure unit is relieved of pressure and cooled below 90F prior to opening.
Before dismantling the unit, verify and record the compressed tightening dimension of the plate pack. Disconnect all piping on follower and terminals. Once a visual inspection is completed, loosen the tie-bolts and remove them from their slots, or loosen the tightening spindles completely and remove the push tubes. It is important to loosen the bolts or spindles evenly, with no more than 1/4 difference between them. Slide the follower back along the top bar until it contacts the end support. Unit is now open and ready for service.


Plate Removal

Slide the bottom of each plate back, one at a time, so it clears the bottom rail. Once the bottom of the plate is clear, swing the plate toward you and slightly lift up. DO NOT TWIST OR FORCE PLATES AS YOU TAKE THEM OUT. DAMAGE TO THE HANGER AREA WILL RESULT IF CARE IS NOT TAKEN. See Fig. 12 It may be advisable to number each plate (in the hanger area) with a marker or engraver as you remove it. This step will save time when re-assembling the unit.

Fig. 12


Servicing Plates & Gaskets

Eventually, depending on the operating conditions of the heat exchanger, the plates will need to be regasketed or replaced. Gasket Inspection leak testing, regasketing, yourthem. entire AGC complete services for cleaning, If theoffers gaskets are still soft and flexible without any tears, then there should be or no repairing need to replace unit. If the gaskets are hard and shiny, brittle, or are eroding away, then replace immediately. If gaskets excrete a black residue on your hands after rubbing (blacking-off or chalking), then replace in the near future. This is a sign of gasket breakdown.

Plate Inspection
Shiny spots at the contact points are normal, but obvious indentations indicate advanced metal contact wear. If the plate pack has been tightened beyond the recommended dimension, inspect closely for signs of contact point crushing, or bent gasket grooves. Inspect the entire plate surface for any signs of corrosion, especially at the contact points. If the unit has been over pressurized or subjected to hydraulic shock, contact points may be crushed or blocked off ports may be pushed out.

Any plates that exhibit any of the above signs should be replaced with new or reconditioned plates.

If any signs of liquid to liquid cross-over are observed, or if any plates are suspected to leak, they should be professionally inspected for leaks. Most leaks occur at small pinholes or cracks that are almost always impossible to see with the naked eye. AGC offers professional, accurate dye checking at either one of our factories. If down time is an issue, we can provide a factory trained engineer to do a circulatory dye check in the field. The field leak check requires only a few hours for most large plate heat exchangers.


Plate & Gasket Replacement

Factory Service
AGC has facilities to handle practically any service requirement. The following steps are performed when your plates or units are shipped to one of our locations.
Plates are inventoried and stripped of old gaskets using appropriate chemicals or liquid nitrogen, if required. All plates receive a chemical bath to remove old gasket cement and any organic or scale buildup. All plates are leak tested with a special dye penetrant and ultraviolet light, and physically inspected. Results are recorded. All good plates are regasketed with appropriate gasket material and adhesive (if required). Any bad or leaking plates can be replaced with new or reconditioned plates, at the customers option. Gasket adhesive is oven cured to reduce gasket slippage and prolong gasket to plate bond. Each plate is given a final inspection to assure gasket adhesion and proper placement. Each plate is engraved with an AGC job number for future references. Plates are shipped back in supplied crate.

* Please note that we will service loose plates, complete plate stacks, or entire frames. We can refurbish or replace any defective parts, as well as strip and re-powder coat the frame.

Field Service
It is possible to do regasketing, leak testing, and other repairs in the field. AGC can supply the appropriate materials necessary for successful leak testing and regasketing. Be forewarned, however, that regasketing and leak testing can involve many man-hours of labor and longer than expected down-time. Often, we can provide factory service or even new or reconditioned plates at a competitive price compared to field servicing. Always read the safety precautions on the dye penetrant and developer cans before performing a leak test. It will not suffice to hold a bright light on the back side of the plate to see if any light comes through a crack or hole. Cracks and holes are almost always too small to determine using this method. Listed below are general steps to field dye checking and regasketing.
Make absolutely sure that plates are clean on both sides. Use appropriate C.I.P. or manual cleaning methods. PLATES MUST BE CLEAN AND DRY BEFORE APPLYING DYE TEST MATERIALS. OTHERWISE, A FAULTY TEST WILL RESULT. Once plates are thoroughly cleaned and dried, carefully spray a light, even coat of RED PENETRANT on ONE side of the plate. Be careful to avoid over-spray on the other side of plate. Allow the PENETRANT to sit on plate for a minimum of 5 minutes. Longer penetration may be necessary in the case of very small cracks or holes. Apply a light film of the WHITE DEVELOPER to the other side of the plate. DO NOT SPRAY HEAVILY AS THIS COULD CLOG A POTENTIAL LEAK. Allow several minutes for the WHITE DEVELOPER to dry to a bright white finish. Inspect the side you sprayed with the WHITE DEVELOPER. Special attention should be given to any corroded spots and all plate contact points. If the RED DYE appears on the side where WHITE PENETRANT was sprayed, then a leak is present.


In the event that you are unsure or feel that over-spray is present, you should re-clean the plate and perform the dye test once again.

Replace any plates that have pin holes or cracks. crushed plates should also be replaced.

Corroded plates, excessively worn plates, or

Remove old gaskets by pulling them out of the gasket groove with your hands. A DULL screwdriver may be used to lift a corner to get the gasket started, but should never be used to scrape out the old gasket. If gaskets are difficult to remove, apply gentle heat to the back side of the gasket groove to soften the glue. Clean gasket groove of old adhesive using solvent. DO NOT use power tools or wire brushes. Apply a thin line of the appropriate gasket adhesive to the center of the gasket groove on plate. Place gasket in gasket groove on plate. Continue regasketing, alternating left hand and right hand plates as you stack the plates on a secure table. Apply a heavy weight on top of the plate stack and allow gasket adhesive to cure for approximately 10-12 hours before re-installing plates in the frame.

*Please refer to the reassembling portion of this manual before reinstalling plates and tightening unit.

Exchange Plate Packs

If the majority of the plates in your heat exchanger need to be serviced, it may be advantageous for you to consider an exchange plate pack. With this option, you receive new or reconditioned plates, stacked in the order of your plate streaming, prior to opening the unit. The replacement plates are installed and the old plates are returned to the factory. Plates that cannot be reconditioned will be subject to a bad plate adder. The only down time is the time it takes to replace the plates.

Spare Parts
Spare parts can be obtained directly from AGC, or through your local AGC distributor. replacement parts are in stock for immediate shipment. All common

When inquiring about a particular unit, it is important to have the Model number and serial number available. These are located on the AGC nameplate on the fixed head of your heat exchanger, as well as on the production drawing. These numbers will ensure that the correct parts and materials are supplied.


Reassembling the Unit

Follow the same care and procedures as you did when dismantling the unit, only in reverse order. With all Proflow(tm) Series plates, the gasketed side of the plate should face the fixed end. Plates should be re-installed in the order shown on the production drawing.

Fig 13

Step one is to align the top portion of the plate hanger on the support of the top bar. See Fig. 13

Next, swing the bottom of the plate back towards the end support and in toward the centerline of the frame until it lines up with the bottom bar. (See Fig. 14)

Fig 14

Finally, swing the plate forward so that the bottom of the plate clears the bottom bar. Push the follower forward when all plates are in place. (See Fig. 15)

Fig 15


Plate Order
Always refer to the production drawing when assembling the plate pack. All plates must go back in the same order they came out. Plates must always alternate left hand and right hand. If plates are alternated properly, a honeycomb pattern should be evident on the sides of the plates. See Fig. 16


Tightening the Unit

Once all plates are in place and the follower is pushed against the plate pack, it is possible to reinsert the tie-bolts (or reinsert the push tubes and re-extend the tightening spindles). It may be advisable to lubricate tie-bolts or spindles prior to tightening. If you have a tie-bolt frame, always tighten tie-bolts by the number pattern specified. See Fig. 17. Tighten each nut or spindle by hand until all slack is taken up. Use a wrench to tighten the unit down to the tightening dimension specified on the production drawing. Do not tighten any bolts or spindles more than 1/4 at a time when using a wrench. Make sure unit is tightened evenly. As you are tightening, check to make sure that the follower and terminal(s) (if applicable) are vertical and moving freely. It is important that the plates are hanging properly and are aligned both vertically and horizontally. STOP IMMEDIATELY if you notice that the plates are shifting, the gaskets are not sealing properly, or the follower and terminals are not moving freely. Open the unit and correct the problem. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE TIGHTENING DIMENSION IS NOT EXCEEDED. PREMATURE PLATE AND GASKET FAILURE WILL RESULT. CONSULT YOUR PRODUCTION DRAWING WHEN TIGHTENING! See Fig. 18 Reconnect all piping per the production drawing. If you encounter any problems with your AGC Proflow(tm) Series heat exchanger, please contact either of our factories, or your authorized AGC Proflow(tm) Series distributor.


Fig 17

Fig. 18


Maintenance Records





Eastern Factory 8509 Quarry Rd. Manassas, VA 20110 800/825-8820 703/257-1660 fax: 703/330-7940

Western Factory 8969 SE 58th Ave. Portland, OR 97206 800/715-8820 503/774-7342 fax: 503/774-2550