Refineries are constantly pushing to improve their processes in order to improve profitability. Because refining is such an energy-intensive process and many refineries are using outdated technology, there is room for improvement.
One way refiners have been able to improve profitability is by using welded plate heat exchangers in place of shell-and-tube heat exchangers. Traditionally, shell-and-tube exchangers have been the primary heat exchangers used in nearly every refinery process for transferring heat. While effective some applications, when compared to alternative designs, they are large, relatively inefficient and do not inherently produce high wall shear — the force a fluid puts on the exchanger surface to deter particle buildup — to combat fouling.