Plate heat exchanger certification – a win-win game for the HVAC industry

All market places have parties with different interests and drives. The buying side wants value for money and the selling side is striving for profit. The Plate heat exchanger market is no exemption. Can we change the playground and join forces in a win-win game? A step on the way is called AHRI Performance Certification.

Heat duty calculation, an important step in the specification process, is essentially an assessment of the requirements for maximum performance by the consultant and designer of the heating or cooling system. A common industry challenge is the varying input of sizing tolerances and component cost calculations which complicate the comparison of heat exchanger performances. This makes it harder to choose the optimal heat exchanger for a given application and increases the risk that it will underperform. The built-in uncertainty for everyone involved in recommending, selecting and using heat exchangers – consultants, specifiers and end customers – undermines the confidence of the industry as a whole. At the end of the day, it is the end users that suffer the risk of higher operating costs and compromised environmental performances.

Alfa Laval is committed in driving the manufacturing side to join forces to achieve higher performance assurance. Already in the 1990s, contact was initiated with the non-profit organization the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) for developing a uniform performance certification standard for Plate heat exchangers. The LLHE Certification program was launched in the US in 2001 and is, since 2012, a global certification.

The AHRI Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchangers (LLHE) Certification Program provides third-party verification of thermal performance – it gives independent assurance that the plate heat exchanger will perform in accordance with the manufacturer’s published ratings and has been designed with a reasonable sizing tolerance. The AHRI certification is currently the only program available in the world for plate heat exchangers and any supplier can be part of the LLHE Certification Program.

Multiple long-term benefits
Wider adoption of performance certification by heat exchanger suppliers would remove uncertainty about thermal performance and generate a wide range of benefits.

The certification creates a level playing field for comparing thermal performances and the price/performance ratio of plate heat exchangers. For system builders and contractors, this reduces time spent in the selection process and ensures that the optimum product is selected.

The optimum product ensures end users with a heat exchanger capacity that is sufficient to meet set performance goals and operation of more cost-efficient systems. As calculations have already been verified, costs are lower for field tests and additional component performance margins. Significantly reduced lifetime operating costs and lower energy consumption are key benefits, but also complying to targets for power consumption and carbon footprint.

In general, AHRI performance certification enhances confidence in the industry and provides peace of mind for those who rely on system performance – suppliers, consultants, contractors and end users. In the longer term, it will eliminate concern about calculations and promote a stronger focus on energy efficiency, which will foster innovation and stimulate manufacturers to develop more efficient products.

Alfa Laval promotes AHRI certification
Alfa Laval has chosen to take an active role in promoting AHRI certification and the heat exchangers in the Alfa Laval AlfaQ™ series were the first to be AHRI certified. Since the start Alfa Laval has accomplished a 100% success rate in the AHRI performance certification program.

In our webinar, Stefan Linde, Market Manager at Alfa Laval, will share the how’s and why’s of working with the AHRI performance certification. He will present practical and useful information for consultants, specifiers and end customers. Register now!

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