Haresh K. Sippy writes that the main driver for heat exchanger market is surging energy price which calls for more efficient use of energy.
Heat Exchanger, as we all know, is a key component used in many industries ranging across process plants, pharmaceutical, refrigeration and storage, air conditioning, chemical, petrochemical, petroleum refining, power plants (thermal, solar and, nuclear) etc. Every reaction, whether it is exothermic or endothermic, will need heat transfer equipments.
Currently, the heat exchanger market in the country is facing a major challenge in the form of dependency on raw material sources, especially the forgings. The dependence on low-cost forgings especially from countries like Korea is a big question mark on quality. This can be a big drain on the country’s economy as the Koreans are even allowed to compete for the heat exchanger requirement of the Indian products. These substandard vendors are causing unhealthy competition. We are unnecessarily killing the domestic manufacturing base because we get succumbed to the manipulative designs of outsiders.
In the wake of these issues, one needs to ascertain the supplier’s track record, the life of the equipment performance in the plant and, accordingly enlist the right suppliers for various projects for a fair competition. Besides, there are propriety exchangers for critical service. One such area is where the service is very corrosive, hazardous and dirty. Dirty service requires an expertise of maintenance friendly design. To add to this when we have high pressure and high temperature, the conventional design becomes obese, therefore no value for money. This redundant design has been replaced with the proprietary Screw-Plug also known as Breech Lock and now with the modified Screw-plug.
There is other area of concern where the flow is viscous and pressure drop availability is a big question. In case of a Helixchanger where the baffles are inclined to make the flow very smooth for avoiding the pressure from dropping. Manufacturing these exchangers to achieve the thermal efficiency that the licensor promises is an art as till date there are no manufacturing standards established and manufacturers are at liberty to do as they please. This is a very precarious situation for the client and this seems coming in a way of preference for this product, which otherwise has a very sound thermal base.
The demand for heat exchangers, whether it is domestic or international, will be definitely growing in the near future considering the key role it plays in the major industries like petrochemical, petroleum refining, power etc. One of the main drivers for the heat exchanger market is surging energy price which calls for more efficient use of energy. Even internationally, major focus of the manufacturers is energy saving. This concern to cut down on energy costs will definitely give rise to demand for heat exchangers.
In India, fresh investments in the various refinery expansion projects, fertilizer projects and thermal power plants will see the surge in demand for heat exchangers in near future. So all in all, rising industrial growth will certainly give boost to growth in the heat exchanger market. Besides, there has been a considerable growth in the global heat exchanger market and it is expected to grow at 10 per cent per annum for the next three years. Globally, the demand for this growth is expected to be driven by investments in Clean Fuels project, LNG project and Shale Gas Processing.
(The author is Chairman & Managing Director – Tema India Ltd.)