Instead of tube and shell heat exchangers, framed plates can be used as an heating surface. These plate assemblies are similar to plate heat exchangers, but are equipped with large passages for the vapor flow. In these units a product plate and a steam plate are connected alternately. The product passage is designed for even distribution of liquid on the plate surfaces and low pressure drop in the vapor phase.
Plate evaporators are of compact design. Separators are flanged directly to the plate packages with short interconnecting pipe-work. Thus, space requirements are low and the building height normally does not exceed 10-13 ft (3-4m). This means that plate evaporators can be installed in most buildings. Very often GEA Niro delivers these units preassembled as skid-mounted systems, further simplifying installation.