The WCR reconditioning service is normally a 10 to 12 day program, depending on the required cleaning, plate size and number of plates. If required, a 2 or 5 day turnaround is possible against surcharge.

The WCR 10 step reconditioning service covers

  1. Plate log
  2. Old gasket removal
  3. Plate cleaning
  4. Dye-penetration test
  5. Cleaning
  6. Gasket groove preparation
  7. Gasket preparation
  8. Gasket application
  9. Heat curing
  10. Final quality control

1 - Plate log

The first part of the regasketing service program is the initial log in. Every plate is identified, logged, and visually inspected, to determine if it merits reconditioning. In this step the objective is to identify deformation, obvious pin holes, cracks, corrosion or, even erosion. The inspection requires highly trained and experienced competences.

2 - Old gasket removal

WCR service engineers select the best possible method for removal of old gasket. The selected method differs from application to application in which the plates have operated, as well as it will differ from plate to plate. In some cases liquid nitrogen is used for removal of gaskets glued with two component epoxy.

3 - Plate cleaning

Pre-cleaning of plates is in almost all cases high-pressure water cleaning, where all loose scaling and fouling will be removed. Depending on application of operation, type of fouling, and amount of fouling the WCR engineers select the proper cleaning and treatment process needed for the particular model and material. This will vary from case to case as different cleaning techniques are implemented. A carefully selected cleaning solution will be used to assure the quickest possible refurbishment. Different temperatures, agitation, and concentrations will be utilized to assure maximum cleaning efficiency. It is not always possible to reach the required result by using one cleaning solution. Sometimes hours in an agitated acid solution has to be followed by hours or even days in a high temperature caustic solution.

4 - Dye penetration test

Each plate is also dye-penetrated tested. This will eliminate any plates that may have pinholes, cracks or anything that would cause cross contamination. It is extremely important that every plate is dye tested, as 90% of the plates tested have less than 10% failure rate This means that if the plates are random checked or tested at a 10% rate the bad plates will not be identified. Pinholes or cracks can be very costly if put back into operation. It could mean costly down-time and possibly loss of product if cross contamination would occur.

5 - Cleaning

The plates are cleaned again to remove the fluids used in the dye-penetrate test. If necessary, plate cleaning needs to be repeated.

6 - Gasket groove preparation

It is imperative that the gasket groove is prepared before applying new gaskets. A rolled groove is the primary cause for external leakage after regasketing. If a rolled groove is not identified the plate pack will not seal properly and cause costly down-time. With the WCR regasketing service program this type of deformation will be identified. In most cases WCR will be able to repress the plates. This can save up to 60% of the costs of the new plate and extend the life of the plate for years.

7 - Gasket preparation

Gaskets are inspected and cleaned to ensure proper bonding.

8 - Gasket application

Gasket application using superior bonding adhesive is critical in the regasketing process. Selection of adhesive depends on the application and the operation conditions under which the plate heat exchanger will be in service. Media as well as temperatures and pressure steer which adhesive is selected. If the proper adhesive is not selected, the lifetime of the gaskets will be reduced dramatically. In fact, using improper adhesive can cause improper conformance of plate to gasket and result in rolled grooves, corrosion and even cracked plates during assembly.

9 - Heat Curing

At WCR all gaskets that are glued, are also heat cured under pressure for three to four hours in an industrial oven. Depending on the adhesive used and the gasket and plate material the curing temperature is between 135 and 155°C. If the adhesive is not properly heat cured, the gaskets might fall off during installation. Resulting in longer down-time and loss of production. One of the major benefits of the plate heat exchanger is that it is designed for opening, washing and reassembly without having to replace gaskets. If oven curing has not been performed, it is most likely the gaskets will end up on the floor when the heat exchanger is opened. Again wasted down-time and often very costly. Correct heat curing increases the lifetime of the gasket by up to 10 times, compared with rubber glue without curing.

10 - Final quality control

Before shipment every plate is carefully inspected for straightness, solid bonding, excess adhesive, deformations and plate pack sequence. If drawings are supplied, every plate pack will be returned in assembly order allowing for quick and easy installation.