The negative effects of fouling in process industries have been widely researched in order to find solutions to associated problems. In specific, heat exchangers have gained significant attention due to the fact that about 7% of the maintenance costs in a process plant can be attributed to fouling in heat exchangers. The effects of fouling in heat exchangers have raised serious concerns mainly in food and dairy processing, refinery process units, and chemical production plants as costs related to production losses and un-planned shutdowns in these industries can be high. Advances in technology have aimed to approach fouling problems in heat-exchangers at different stages. Fouling prevention is a priority when it comes to saving time and costs of maintenance in industrial processes. Material development has progressed in the direction of making the surface of heat exchangers with low surface energy, which renders the surface non-sticky. Innovative coating technologies and surface treatment methods have been tested and proven effective to prevent fouling and improve heat exchanger efficiencies by up to 50%.
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Keywords: Heat exchanger, fouling, anti-fouling, low-surface energy, anti-stick, food processing, refinery process, dairy processing