Popular Right Now: Evaporator Health Assessments

Caloris is seeing many customer requests for evaporator health assessments. Let’s explore what’s entailed in a health assessment and the benefits that may result.

Most calls for evaporator health assessments are triggered by a growing concern that the equipment is underperforming, and operations staff are unable to identify the root cause. This can occur with relatively new installations, but more often it occurs at facilities with older equipment. As we have all learned over time, when troubleshooting equipment issues, it can be very effective to introduce a new set of trained eyes on the problem. That is what a formal assessment is all about.  

Periodic evaporator health assessments can also identify developing problems well before they cause a major equipment failure. This typically improves the overall life of the equipment and prevents unscheduled downtime. An assessment will also help ensure the evaporator is operated safely, both in terms of plant staff safety and product quality. By making sure the system is operating as efficiently as possible, the plant will often reduce energy consumption.

Evaporator health assessments offer a comprehensive review of the evaporator operation during production and CIP, along with an “inside-out” condition inspection of the key equipment components. An engineer will interview the operators before and during the inspections to fully understand their observations as a tool for rationalizing where further attention is needed.

During these inspections, the engineer will look for evidence of vacuum leaks and other equipment defects that may contribute to inefficiencies. They will look for signs of corrosion, fouling, misalignments and/or imbalances affecting equipment performance. They will also check instrumentation to confirm functionality and proper calibration.

In the case of MVR evaporators, the MVR unit (turbofan or compressor) is of particular importance because it is rotating machinery that requires special attention to ensure maximum performance and safe operation. The operation and condition of this machine will be carefully reviewed, with a focus on vibration levels, shaft sealing, oil lubrication systems, bearing temperatures, etc. The MVR unit’s settings will be checked against those recommended in the OEM’s documentation. The engineer will also want to review the maintenance log for the equipment.

There are typically established SOP’s for the evaporator systems, which are designed to achieve consistency in production output and product quality. As practical, the engineer will also try to observe operators over multiple shifts to assess whether the SOPs are effectively being followed.

When circumstances warrant, our engineer may recommend ancillary evaluations, such as an eddy current test to detect defects in the tubes of the evaporator heat exchangers, which are otherwise impossible to detect.

In preparation for the inspection visit, the plant will be asked to supply recent operating data as well as operating data from when the evaporator was performing optimally. This data can be very valuable and point to potential problem areas if one knows what to look for.

The health assessment will culminate in a report covering all of the engineer’s observations plus recommendations where follow-up actions are needed.

Our engineer may recommend follow-up services like training for plant staff or another visit to ensure the equipment performance is improving after the recommended changes have been made. They also may work with plant staff to create a predictive maintenance plan. Scheduling maintenance strategically can help reduce unplanned downtime and operational costs.

Beyond looking for defects, inefficiencies and other standard problem areas, Caloris engineers are always on the lookout for hidden capacity-boosting opportunities. If it has been a while since a practiced engineer has laid eyes on your equipment, contact us to arrange a visit. Call us at 410-822-6900 or send an email to problem.solved@caloris.com to request assistance with your processing equipment.


About Caloris

Caloris transforms process systems design for the better with unexpected, future-focused solutions that solve real operational problems. We engineer efficient, dependable and productive solutions that also improve environmental sustainability where practical. Designed with the end user in mind to drive plant productivity. Caloris offers evaporation, membrane filtration and spray drying process systems for food and dairy industries, as well as for water reuse and wastewater treatment applications. Both Caloris’ custom and pre-engineered packaged systems are designed to meet our customers’ specific concentration/purification needs utilizing the most cost effective and energy efficient technologies available. Whether concentrating dairy, food or juice products at a high-volume production facility, or processing industrial wastewaters to reduce transportation and treatment costs and recover re-usable water, Caloris provides a range of options and technologies.