Swedish manufacturer Alfa Laval has signed a global collaboration agreement with U.S. software giant Microsoft to develop digital tools that facilitate service and maintenance for its portfolio of plate heat exchangers. 

The new tools will use artificial intelligence (AI) to enable end users to determine whether maintenance is needed, and if so, what type, Alfa Laval said in a statement on December 13.

Alfa Laval specializes in heat transfer solutions, including brazed heat exchangers suitable for propane (R290) and CO2 (R744) applications. This includes the AXP82, launched in February 2021 and designed specifically for CO2 applications; it has a new channel plate design, giving it a fatigue performance that exceeds the standards of previous heat exchanger models from Alfa Laval.

“The service [tools] will also give sustainability advantages, as estimates show that up to 2.5 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions could be prevented if heat exchangers currently installed in industrial processes were simply cleaned and maintained properly,” the statement said. 

“With this agreement we are able to create unique customer value with high availability, said Thomas Møller, President of Alfa Laval’s Energy Division. “We can ensure that our heat exchangers are working optimally and maximize customer uptime, which is beneficial for both customers and the environment.” 

Good service of heat exchangers is also important for the longevity of refrigeration systems, as “properly serviced and maintained” Alfa Laval heat exchangers can run for more than 20 years in industrial applications, the company noted.

Microsoft is not the only global player that Alfa Laval is collaborating with in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2019, Alfa Laval and Schneider Electric began digitizing Alfa Laval’s energy infrastructure. Gathering energy consumption data from across Alfa Laval’s  business divisions allows it to identify projects to reduce energy usage.

Earlier this year, Alfa Laval also launched a program to recycle its heat exchangers.

The company aims to become carbon neutral along its entire value chain by 2030.

In addition to its heat transfer solutions, Alfa Laval is also active in fluid handling and centrifugal separation. The company is active in more than 100 countries and has 16,700 employees. Annual sales in 2020 were SEK41.5 billion (US$4.54 billion).

“With this agreement we are able to create unique customer value with high availability. We can ensure that our heat exchangers are working optimally and maximize customer uptime, which is beneficial for both customers and the environment,”

-Thomas Møller, Alfa Laval


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