Non-destructive testing in closed condition of plate heat exchangers

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Non-destructive testing in closed condition of plate heat exchangers

This leakage test method simulates production conditions by using water as carrier fluid. Defects that cause cross-contamination in the heat exchanger between media connections and the hot side are localized by passing traceable fluids under pressure through cracks and pinholes up to a size of at least 5 μm. If defects are found during inspection, this method can be used to locate defects in the heat exchanger in 5-20 plates. Serves as documentation in your HACCP plan to confirm that your equipment is in a safe condition.

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Contents of the leakage test of AKK
  • Pressure test on both sides to detect defects that cause contamination inside the heat exchanger
  • Localization of defects in the heat exchanger without the need for disassembly.
  • Visual inspection of accessible inlets and outlets to locate defective seals and residues.
  • Visual inspection of the outside of the heat exchanger to locate residues indicating leaks in the heat exchanger.
The test method offers the following features and advantages:
  • Non-destructive testing in closed condition
    To perform the test, plate packs or tube modules do not have to be opened either before or after the test. The material is protected and time is saved
  • High accuracy
    The method allows the measurement of the test equipment in the range of 0.01 ppb. Smallest breakthroughs in the μm range are reliably found.
  • No drying necessary
    Some test procedures for checking for cross-contamination require that the sections to be tested are completely drained and dried. The method uses water as a carrier medium, so this step is not necessary.
  • Leakage to the outside
    Leaks to the outside are reliably identified by a fluorescent test medium and at the same time have no effect on the testing of the internal tightness (measurement of a possible cross-contamination)
  • Reproducibility and product proximity
    Untreated water with the addition of an approved testing agent is used as the carrier medium. Water is not compressible and represents the largest component in terms of quantity of the products which are processed daily via heat exchangers. A precisely prescribed test sequence simulates the production process by means of pressure changes and pressure holding phases. This creates maximum product proximity and reproducibility.
  • Localization of ad spaces
    Thanks to finely tuned measuring technology, measured cross-contaminations can be localized to within +/- 5 plates in the case of plate heat exchangers and to the module in the case of tubular heat exchangers.
  • Predictability
    The inspection can be planned exactly according to the requirements of the operating procedure and is very efficient with a time expenditure of a few hours.
  • Documentation
    All tests and results are recorded in an audit-compliant test report and archived via the online reporting system. Every customer can view and download his test reports 24/7 and add his own comments. An important and practical tool for planning further measures and tests.
  • Audit compliant
Leak test test / measurement of cross-contamination

The procedure for checking the tightness covers two sub-areas simultaneously. On the one hand the test for tightness to the outside and on the other hand the test for possible existing cross-contamination through plate breakthroughs (in the case of shell-and-tube heat exchangers, tube breakthroughs). For this purpose, only the pipe connections of the individual inlets and outlets of the sections are separated and the test station is connected to the system to be tested. As a rule, all sections of the heat exchanger can be connected via coupling hoses and tested together.

For this purpose, a circuit of all sections carrying energy media or all „non-sterile“ sections is closed and filled with water: transmitting side. The circuit now circulates with the addition of an approved testing agent via the first pump of the testing station.

The second closed circuit, which is connected to the test station, includes all product-carrying or „sterile“ sections and is filled with clear water only: measuring side. In this circuit the sensitive measuring units are additionally integrated, which continuously measure the concentration of the test medium in the water.

If both circuits circulate stably in countercurrent, the test engineer starts the test program by setting and observing different pressure changes and pressure holding phases on the transmission side.

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Connected test station with circulating test solution
Crack under magnifying glass
Crack visible by dye penetration method