Compact Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

Shell and tube heat exchangers in a compact form

We build our compact tube heat exchangers within a shell but utilise compact fin technology on the outer surface of the tube, substantially reducing its size. It makes it an extremely compact form of shell and tube heat exchanger that doesn’t sacrifice efficiency.

These units have a smaller footprint and weigh less. We can build these with less material, which is especially useful in equipment requiring expensive materials. We used costly materials, for example, to increase corrosion resistance. It makes these compact tube heat exchangers an economical choice.

They’re a highly effective, compact form of shell and tube heat exchanger.

How compact shell and tube heat exchangers work

A compact shell and tube design aims to optimise the heat transfer rate, allowing for smaller heat transfer areas. We achieve this by using fins where the shell side fluid flow and heat transfer properties would not usually generate a high heat transfer coefficient.

This means we can design and manufacture a compact shell and tube heat exchanger that is still highly efficient. These can be made from various materials to suit different applications.

Find out more about finned tubes or our wider of shell and tube heat exchangers.

Compact shell and tube heat exchanger applications

The most common application for compact shell and  tube heat exchangers (sometimes called CHE) is the cooling of gases at a pressure in the region of 5 to 10 bar. High-pressure blowers generate significant heat as the gas is compressed and must be cooled before moving to the next process stage. Using fins, the achieved heat transfer increase means that we can reduce the overall unit’s diameter and/or length without diminishing the performance.

photo of a shell and tube heat exchanger for an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) application designed & manufactured by Sterling Thermal Technology
shell and tube heat exchanger for an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) application

This makes them suitable for a wide range of industries, including defence, energy and power, and marine. Furthermore, it needs to be added that compact shell & tube heat exchangers have been seen as a product of choice in Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) systems and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC).

We can manufacture our compact designs from various materials, including those with corrosion-resistant properties such as Hastelloy, Inconel and others. Thanks to this, applications include chemical plants and other contexts where the heat exchanger must handle corrosive materials such as acids or petrochemicals.

Benefits of choosing compact tube heat exchangers from Sterling Thermal Technology

1. Addressing your process needs

Every application is different. We design compact heat exchangers to your specifications that take into account the particulars of your system. Our focus is on designing and delivering a bespoke product that meets all your requirements. 

2. Optimised design

By drawing on decades of experience and cutting-edge advancements in heat exchanger engineering, we can get the maximum performance from compact tube heat exchangers in most scenarios. Our designs are bespoke to each application, ensuring the best performance possible.

3. Flexible

With a wide range of materials and design methods available, we can be agile and flexible in our design process.

Our experts have an intimate understanding of a wide range of industries. Are you looking for a partner in compact heat exchanger technology? Don’t hesitate to contact us and tell us your needs.

Compact heat exchanger design considerations

We ensure the optimum heat transfer in our compact shell and tube heat exchanger designs while considering the corrosion potential of the shell side fluid. How? By matching the fin and tube materials.

We can minimise the cooler footprint and ensure optimum utilisation of the available pressure drop. We do so by adjusting tube sizes, layout, pitch and passes accompanied with fin density, in parallel with shell-side flow passes, and appropriate baffle type and arrangement selection.

Systems that involve a high-pressure gas stream, using a liquid as the coolant, would not usually be able to generate a high heat transfer coefficient. Traditionally, they would have to be larger or settle for a less efficient process. However, in these cases, the optimised fin design in our compact shell and tube heat exchangers may be a great improvement.

We offer a full range of TEMA shell and tube configurations and are happy to discuss process parameters in detail. We will agree with you on the best solution that addresses your application.

Though heat exchangers can be complex, our experts can make the process easy. Ready to discuss your compact heat exchanger needs? Contact us today.

Customised heat exchangers

Over 100 years of design & manufacturing knowledge

Your partner for the entire lifecycle of your business

“Worn Again Technologies required a greater level of flexibility to allow the management of change as they are developing their process technology. Sterling Thermal Technology allowed the flexibility to design the equipment based on limited data and Good Engineering Practice to meet the design specifications.”

Dr. Michael Wise, Chemical Process Engineer, Worn Again Technologies

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We customise our heat exchange solution to meet your requirements. Our in-house design team will help. Contact us today to discover the right equipment for you.

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