Heat exchangers play an important role in the operation of many different types of equipment. They can be found in air conditioners and airplane engines, as well as heavy industries involving chemical, petrochemical, sewage treatment and natural-gas processing plants.

simple heat exchanger

Figure 1. A Simple Heat Exchanger

There are many types of heat exchangers. The simplest double-pipe heat exchanger is very cost-effective to design and operate. In contrast, the modern, high-efficiency and space-saving heat exchanger has become popular for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint and operating space.

History of Alfa Laval

Alfa Laval produces many types of heat exchangers. The company has been a leader in the industry since 1938, when the company introduced its first heat exchanger.

In 1962, Alfa Laval expanded its presence by acquiring a patented spiral heat exchanger. Then, in 2003, Alfa Laval made a breakthrough in the industry with the introduction of the AlfaNova, a line of fusion-bonded plate heat exchangers made of 100% stainless steel.

Patented Tech

The AlfaNova features patented technology designed by Alfa Laval engineers. Manufactured using Alfa Laval’s patented method of brazing the plates, the AlfaNova can resist extreme external factors. Its stainless-steel components also provide the best hygiene and corrosion resistance in the industry.

Why Alfa Laval?

The AlfaNova is favored in heavy industry simply because it is the first of its kind. Its high-efficiency, as well as its resistance to extreme temperatures, pressures and fatigue, is unmatched by other conventional heat exchangers. This makes the AlfaNova the perfect choice for industrial applications involving aggressive liquids, high operating temperatures or high-energy efficiency requirements.

In addition to the fusion-bonded heat exchangers, Alfa Laval also produces a line of conventional gasketed plate heat exchangers. This type of heat exchanger is equipped with gaskets that seal off the heat transfer plate channels. Although conventional, this range is updated regularly to keep up with new innovations.

FrontLine and BaseLine Exchangers

Alfa Laval also caters to industries by producing products that meet specific industry needs. In the food production industry, two lines of gasketed heat exchangers are available.

Known as the FrontLine and BaseLine heat exchangers, the FrontLine series contains more advanced features than the BaseLine series. All models can be trusted to ensure the highest thermal efficiency, low installation costs and straightforward maintenance.

plate heat exchanger design concept

Figure 2. Plate Heat Exchanger Design Concept

Operational Differences

Alfa Laval’s FrontLine heat exchangers are best suited for processes involving strict hygiene requirements. They also meet sanitary requirements and are easy to disassemble for cleaning and servicing.

Fitted with a herringbone pattern, these heat exchangers ensure a gentle and uniform heat transfer for delicate food products. Processes that are best suited for the FrontLine heat exchangers include milk and cheese pasteurization, drink pasteurization, liquid egg processing, bottled water treatment and biotechnology culture sterilization.

In comparison, Alfa Laval’s BaseLine heat exchangers feature cost-effective designs best suited for production processes requiring less sensitive treatments than those used by the FrontLine series. Featuring a conventional gasketed plate design, the BaseLine series can be used for processes, such as milk and beverage processing, wine tempering and reverse osmosis water treatment.

Welded Exchangers

Alfa Laval also produces six models of welded plate heat exchangers for customers looking outside of the gasketed plate range. These welded plate heat exchangers can handle refrigerants on the welded side, making them the ideal choice for processes involving ammonia.

Examples of ideal applications for this series include flooded evaporators, DX evaporators, cascade systems and oil coolers. Two models from this series are described below.


The AlfaDisc is one such heat exchanger that is part of the Alfa Laval’s welded plate series. The AlfaDisc can handle high pressures and fatigue environments.

Featuring a compact design, the AlfaDisc allows for asymmetric flow and can provide the thermal efficiency not found in other plate heat exchangers. Examples for industrial use include processes involving organic solvents and steam heaters.


The AlfaRex is another compact model from Alfa Laval’s welded plate series. This model is ideal for industries requiring minimal maintenance in its heat exchangers. Featuring a laser-welded PHE, the AlfaRex can be used for processes involving aggressive media that are also cyclic in temperature and pressure.

alfa laval headquarters

Figure 3. Alfa Laval Headquarters in Lund, Sweden

Final Thoughts

Today, Alfa Laval continues to produce a variety of heat exchangers to service the food, marine and energy industries. The company also operates on a global scale with an international workforce of around 17,000 employees. It has local subsidiaries in over 35 countries and manufacturers in China, India, Sweden, UK and the USA.

Every Alfa Laval unit is subjected to extensive testing procedures before it is available for purchase. As a result, industries that purchase Alfa Laval products can expect the highest reliability, durability and safety standards. Extensive customization options also make Alfa Laval heat exchangers a great choice for industries with specific needs.