Making stainless steel brazed heat exchangers a success
Savings in space, energy and maintenance are all crucial for gaining a competitive edge in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) market. Gasket solutions for heat exchangers are bulky and often leak. Nickel and copper joints can also be problematic – nickel is expensive, and copper can corrode. Plus they cannot be used if the application involves drinking water, because of strict environmental requirements. Leading heat exchanger manufacturer SWEP was looking for a long-term, sustainable and cost-effective brazing solution that could meet all of these challenges head on.
Says Tomas Dahlberg, SWEP: “We knew what we wanted: a heat resistant filler material that was durable, did not leak and had the potential to increase operating life, thereby lowering maintenance costs. In short, we wanted to replace the nickel and copper joins in our heat exchangers with stainless steel. And for us, Höganäs was the obvious partner – their metal powder brazing expertise is unrivalled.”
The R&D partnership began. Says Tomas: “Openness was crucial at this stage. We wanted to share and adopt each other’s strengths and ideas. In total, we trialled three stainless steel fillers using the brazing technique. A great deal of trust was required during this process. We kept pushing it further and further to get better and better, and Höganäs was always eager to listen and share.”
“They drive us as much as we drive them”
The outcome of the co-development project has led to increased sales and new business for SWEP over time. Moreover, the life-cycle cost of a brazed plate heat exchanger can often be half that of a corresponding gasketed solution.
Tomas says SWEP can also target new applications where nickel and copper cannot be used. “Höganäs' stainless steel brazing filler is highly durable and can withstand difficult conditions that copper can’t. It is also fully recyclable and leaves a much smaller carbon footprint.”
He adds: “We used Höganäs as we knew they would fully understand us and what we need, and they are the best in the world at what they do. Our ongoing relationship is as good as ever. They continue to drive us as much as we drive them.”
To find a resilient and cost-effective solution for joining heat exchangers without using copper and nickel.
A tried and tested, durable stainless steel brazing filler application.