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Managing Heat Exchanger Design and Market Trends with CAD

Heat exchangers find the largest application in various verticals of process industry, be it food processing, chemical processing, pulp and paper, HVACR, power generation or any other. Heat exchangers are probably one of those types of equipment that have undergone constant fundamental changes in design and form since the evolution.

Due to changes in this one component, the entire processing industry market is experiencing transition. In an era of changes, 2D CAD drafting and 3D CAD modelling of heat exchanger design accommodates innovations and keep fabricators tuned at the market demands frequency.

By Usha B. Trivedi, a Technical Writer at TrueCADD - Gujarat, India​

Heat Exchanger Design

Almost all the technologically advanced nations have seen a sharp rise in demand, hence the increase in the capacity of heat exchangers. Market demands of heat exchangers in terms of manufacturing and innovative designs have grown significantly in the recent past. It isn’t stopping and it will continue to grow, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and India will demand the most. Let us take a look at some of the market trends across the globe.

As we report, the heat exchanger market is expected to reach USD 19.14 Billion. The forecast for CAGR during the period of 2016-2021 is projected at 8.2%. This market is expected to grow at a rapid pace, similar to it did in the past.

Europe is the largest market for heat exchangers, and also a global leader in terms of demand as well as the best heat exchangers produced and designed. This grandiose dominance of the continent is seen mainly due to the increased replacement demand for heat exchangers. Sweden, Denmark and Germany are the leaders in Europe as well as international markets, manufacturing heat exchangers for processing industry.

It is not only the nations which are technologically advanced and economically powerful who are demanding enhanced designs, there is also an increasing numbers of heat exchangers being manufactured elsewhere. The emerging markets like China in the APEC region are also reinforcing and understanding the need of innovation forced because of the demands in China, Japan and India. The entire Asia-Pacific regions as a whole are showing a market growth of 13.90% CAGR for year 2015-2020.

Spontaneous rise in innovations of various types of Heat Exchangers

In addition to these areas the heat exchanger market has also seen an uptrend in specific types of heat exchanger. Among all types of heat exchangers, shell and tube heat exchangers are the most commonly used kind on an international platform across process equipment industry. The reason behind this is their characteristic of the large ratio of heat transfer, weight, ratio of area to volume etc. Besides, building authorities are demanding shell and tube type heat exchangers to meet HVAC requirements across facilities, adds to its increased demand and supply.

The Asia-pacific region, with the aforementioned CAGR, has become the fastest growing heat exchanger market place for plate and frame type of heat exchanger. The numbers show diverse and vivid applications of the type across various industries such as chemical, food and beverages along with oil and gas – the richest industry in terms of Returns on Investments [ROIs]. This increasing number of demands in the region is putting heat exchanger design engineers under rigorous pressure to develop an extremely strong base of plate and frame design development and thereby reduce the imports.

Until now, a variety of anti-corrosion materials are being used for tubes fabrication in shell and tube type heat exchanger. But with recent developments in technology, Tantalum, a corrosion resistant material, has found its applications in shell and tub kind of heat exchanger inside the tubes in either vertical & horizontal types.

What does the sudden rise in heat exchanger demands and innovation suggest?

Upon analysing the aforementioned statistics and market conditions worldwide, fabricators and design engineers are compelled to look out for a solution to tackle the increased demand. The solution to reduce frequent replacement and tackle rising demands lie in the designing of equipment according to internationally accepted standards such as ANSI.

It is a common practice for fabricators to adhere to the final product to ASME standards for “U” certification and NBIC for “R” certification that makes them stay ahead in the markets. 2D CAD design drafts and 3D CAD modelling allows channelizing the efforts made by design engineers by accounting for all the said guidelines of international standards. CAD design solutions empower design engineers to keep a track of what they are designing by giving a holistic view of the entire equipment with part assembly and animation videos in 3D.

One stop solution for reducing frequent replacements

Heat exchangers, like any other industrial equipment is a device that is an amalgamation of several smaller components, performance and designs of which, directly impact the final output. While designing heat exchangers as a unit, design engineers need to effectively prepare design drafts and develop models for components such as tube, channel partition plates, baffles; barrels, tie rods, flanges, bellows, etc.

CAD modelling of these heat exchanger components in CAD platform serves as a stepping stone for engineering analysis and heat transfer study. CAD modelling is thus revolutionising the means of understanding design intent for manufacturers on the shop floor and easing the assembly process with animation videos.

Furthermore, when the aim is to reduce frequent replacement, appropriate fabrication isn’t the only fix. They also need to replace faulty systems with innovative design solutions. Howbeit, incorporation of innovation traces its roots back to CAD models for performing CFD analysis such as thermal analysis, structural analysis, heat transfer, pressure drop analysis, etc.

For validation. Heat Exchanger Production Cost Estimation – Can CAD assist?

In addition to designs, when demands are high, and replacements are frequent, what a manufacturer is concerned about is determining the entire cost of heat exchanger production. Manufacturers insist on getting a nearly rough cost of fabricating the entire heat exchanger unit, from start to assembly that include labour charges and cost of material. When these costs are known to manufacturers in advance, they are empowered to set the exact market price and respond to quotes early.

Bill of Materials (BOM) and BOQs extracted from 2D drafts of the equipment allows manufacturers to make informed and timely decisions about the order quantity. Seeing such a wide variety of offerings of CAD drafting and modelling solutions for process engineering equipment and changing market demands, manufacturers are shifting their core focus on full-proofing of designs.

CAD technology allows designer to valid their designs before setting out the models to fabrication shop floor and empower manufacturers to perform better in volatile markets.

About the Author

Usha B. Trivedi is a Technical Writer at TrueCADD. She is a qualified mechanical engineer and contributes in-depth articles for industrial equipment, processing plants and fabrication sector. Her contributions are primarily focused on enabling engineering professionals, fabricators and plant owners to accelerate design and improve project efficiencies through BIM, 3D CAD and CAE tools.

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