What is a wiped film evaporator?


A wiped film evaporator is a device used in the process of distillation and purification of liquids. It operates on the principle of creating a thin film of liquid on a rotating cylindrical surface to facilitate evaporation. Through a combination of heat transfer and mechanical wiping action, this sophisticated equipment efficiently separates components in a mixture. Over the years, wiped film evaporators have gained popularity in various industries due to their ability to handle a wide range of high-viscosity liquids and their excellent performance in refining and distilling delicate products. In this article, we will delve deeper into the working mechanism, applications, advantages, and maintenance of wiped film evaporators.

Working Mechanism

1. Thin Film Generation

One of the key aspects of a wiped film evaporator's operation is the generation of a thin film. Initially, the liquid mixture is fed into the evaporator and enters the cylindrical surface. The surface is continuously rotating to maintain a uniform distribution of the liquid. As the liquid spreads across the surface, gravitational force and centrifugal force cooperate to form a thin film.

2. Heat Transfer

Concurrent with the thin film generation, the evaporator applies heat to the cylindrical surface. This heat promotes the vaporization of the volatile components, as the temperature exceeds their boiling points. The heat is typically supplied through a heating jacket surrounding the evaporator. The thin film ensures efficient heat transfer between the liquid and the heating surface, maximizing the evaporation rate.

3. Wiping Action

The mechanical part of the wiped film evaporator is its distinctive wiping action. A specially designed rotor or wiper blades continuously rotate, scraping the liquid film off the surface. This action not only prevents the liquid from overheating but also enhances the mass transfer by constantly exposing fresh liquid to the surface. The wiper blades are carefully engineered to strike a balance between maintaining film integrity and avoiding excessive disturbance.


1. Pharmaceutical Industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, wiped film evaporators are extensively used to refine active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and other high-value compounds. This equipment ensures the separation of impurities, solvents, and degradation products from the desired pharmaceutical product. The gentle and controlled operation of wiped film evaporators prevents thermal degradation and maintains the purity and efficacy of the final pharmaceutical compounds.

2. Food and Beverage Industry

Wiped film evaporators find wide application in the food and beverage industry for concentration, purification, and deodorization processes. They are commonly used to remove undesirable flavors, colors, and odors from various products. Additionally, wiped film evaporators are employed in the extraction of essential oils from plants, enabling their use in perfumes, flavors, and herbal remedies.

3. Petrochemical Industry

The petrochemical industry relies on wiped film evaporators for the distillation and refining of crude oil and its derivatives. They are especially effective in separating complex hydrocarbons, such as fatty acids, waxes, and lubricants. The high thermal efficiency and ability to handle high-viscosity liquids make these evaporators vital in the production of petroleum-based chemicals.

4. Waste Treatment

Wiped film evaporators also contribute to environmental preservation through their application in waste treatment processes. They are utilized to treat liquid waste, removing harmful components and reducing the volume of waste for disposal or recycling. The evaporators' ability to handle challenging liquid mixtures and their energy efficiency make them a sustainable solution for waste treatment plants.


1. High Efficiency

Wiped film evaporators offer exceptional efficiency due to their unique design. The continuous renewal of the liquid film ensures an effective heat transfer process, maximizing the evaporation rate. Furthermore, the equipment's compact design enables better control of mass and heat transfer, achieving enhanced separation efficiency.

2. Versatility

One major advantage of wiped film evaporators is their versatility in handling various types of liquids. From low-viscosity solvents to highly viscous substances, the equipment can effectively handle a wide range of fluids. Additionally, it is suitable for processes involving heat-sensitive compounds, as the gentle operation minimizes the chances of product degradation.

3. Compact Footprint

Wiped film evaporators are known for their compact and space-efficient design. Their small footprint makes them suitable for installation in limited spaces, allowing businesses to optimize their production areas. The compact size also simplifies maintenance tasks, as components and surfaces are easily accessible for inspection and cleaning.

4. Energy Efficiency

Compared to traditional distillation methods, wiped film evaporators demonstrate superior energy efficiency. The continuous renewal of the liquid film, along with the optimized heat transfer efficiency, reduces energy consumption significantly. This ensures cost savings and aligns with sustainability goals.


1. Regular Cleaning

To maintain optimal performance, regular cleaning of the wiped film evaporator is essential. The surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any residual material that may hinder the evaporation process. A systematic cleaning schedule and proper cleaning agents should be followed to prevent contamination and ensure product quality.

2. Inspection of Wiper Blades

Periodic checks on the wiper blades are necessary to detect any signs of wear or damage. Damaged blades should be replaced promptly to avoid disruption in the wiping action and ensure an even film distribution.

3. Lubrication

Wiped film evaporators contain moving parts that require lubrication. Proper lubrication of all moving components, including bearing points, guarantees smooth operation and extends the lifespan of the equipment.

4. Calibration and Testing

Regular calibration and testing of the equipment are crucial to ensure accurate temperature and pressure control. Deviations from desired parameters can impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the evaporator. Calibrated sensors and periodic testing should be implemented to maintain optimal performance.


The wiped film evaporator is a versatile and efficient device widely used in various industries for distillation, concentration, purification, and separation processes. Its ability to handle a wide range of liquid types, thermal efficiency, and compact design have made it an indispensable tool in pharmaceutical, food and beverage, petrochemical, and waste treatment applications. By understanding its working mechanism, advantages, and maintenance requirements, businesses can leverage the benefits of wiped film evaporators and enhance their production processes.


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