Additive Manufacturing of a Heat Exchanger at the formnext in Frankfurt 2019

Additive Manufacturing of a Heat Exchanger at the formnext in Frankfurt 2019

Hello, everybody.

As someone who created his first computer programs with punch cards on IBM mainframes, blogging is something new. But now it’s time for me to get started!

On Thursday I was at the “formnext” in Frankfurt, a fair for additive manufacturing. I couldn’t even imagine the possibilities of 3D printing before the visit.

In the latest 12th edition of the VDI Wärmeatlas (Heat ATlas), new calculation methods for heat exchangers with helical baffles have been published. However, these baffles are difficult to produce, which is why the VDI Heat Atlas also offers a “slimmed down” version with stepped spirals, rather guide vanes, for calculation. These calculation methods are included in our Atlas program system.

The advantage of helical baffles is obvious: no flow deflections, no change between transverse and longitudinal flow, no unsupported pipes in the window zone. Consequently, I was dreaming and imagine printing such a heat exchanger, at least the tube bundle. So visiting the fair was a must.

And then it stood there, as an exhibit, my dream of a printed heat exchanger!

Printed in one piece with helical baffles, together with the tube bundle, the tube sheets and the shell. No welding seams, no tube welds and above all no gap currents!

Of course, we will not be printing out power plant condensers in the near future, but in areas up to a shell diameter of DN 150, these high-performance exchangers can already be printed out now. The printing time of 2 days stated by the exhibitor was certainly no longer than the traditional production of such a transformer. Without welder, lathe operator, milling cutter or mounter!

I would also like to point out that both the ASME and the DIN/EN standards committees have been working for some time on the preparation of standards for additive manufacturing in the pressure vessel sector.

Exciting times!

Dietmar Fischer

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