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Thin Film / Wiped Film Evaporator

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  • Overview

  • How It Works

  • Design Principles

  • Brand Names

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An LCI agitated thin film evaporator (TFE) or wiped film evaporator (WFE or "wiffe") provides short residence time and open, low pressure drop configuration, allowing continuous, reliable processing of many heat sensitive, viscous, or fouling materials without product degradation.

LCI’s thin film evaporators quickly separate more volatile from less volatile components using indirect heat transfer and mechanical agitation of a flowing product film under controlled conditions. Either the vaporized component (distillate) or the concentrated component may be the product depending on the application.

thin film evaporator rotor

How It Works

How Thin Film Evaporators Work

The LCI agitated thin film evaporator (also commonly referred to as a "wiped film evaporator") consists of two major assemblies: a cylindrical heated body and a rotor.

Product is introduced above the heated zone and is evenly distributed over the evaporator's inner surface by the rotor. As the product spirals down the wall, the high rotor tip speed generates highly turbulent flow resulting in the formation of bow waves (see illustration above) and creating optimum heat flux and mass transfer conditions.

Volatile components are rapidly evaporated via conductive heat transfer. Vapors flow either counter-currently or co-currently through the unit, depending on the application requirements. In both cases, vapors are ready for condensing or subsequent processing (i.e. fractionation) after exiting the vapor discharge section.

Nonvolatile components are discharged at the outlet. Continuous agitation and mixing by the rotor blades minimizes fouling of the thermal wall where the product or residue is most concentrated.

The combination of 1) extremely short residence time, 2) narrow residence time distribution, 3) high turbulence, and 4) rapid surface renewal permits the LCI thin film evaporator to successfully handle heat-sensitive, viscous and fouling-type fluids.


  1. Feed Inlet
  2. Product Stream Through the Evaporator
  3. Product Bow wave
  4. Counter-Current Vapor Outlet
  5. Co-Current Vapor Outlet
  6. Concentrate Outlet
Thin Film Evaporation

Design Principles

LCI offers thin film / wiped film evaporator designs in a wide range of configurations.

Rotor Designs
Thin film / Wiped film Rotor Designs
  • Fixed Clearance for all horizontal designs and most vertical applications for less viscous liquids, generally less than 50,000 cps
  • Wiped Film/Hinged Blade for materials with very high fouling tendencies or vaporization ratios
Rotor Orientation
  • Vertical is used for most applications. The vertical configuration provides reliable, efficient processing of viscous and fouling fluids. Units are available with either an internal or external bottom bearing.
  • Horizontal designs are ideal for applications where longer residence times are required for mass transfer and reactions, or where headroom is limited. The tapered configuration allows adjustment of the rotor clearance to control residence time, and assures heat transfer surface wetting at low throughput rates.
Vapor Flow
  • Countercurrent is used for most vertical applications since it maximizes both heat and mass transfer efficiencies and accommodates internal vapor/liquid entrainment separation.
  • Co-Current is the best choice for applications where there is heavy vapor loading, foaming, or flashing.

Brand Names

LCI Thin Film and Wiped Film Evaporator Brand Names

LCI Corporation's many thin film and wiped film evaporation technologies are known by a number of trade and product names. In 1992, we changed our name to LCI after having been known as Luwa for over 30 years. And in addition to our long collaboration with Buss-SMS-Canzler, we have acquired product lines from several manufacturers.

LCI sells and services all these products and technologies:

Manufacturer Names

  • Luwa
  • Buss-SMS-Canzler
  • Blaw-Knox
  • Chemetron
  • Cherry-Burrell
  • Kontro
  • Rodney Hunt
  • Anco / Votator

Product Names

  • Ajust-O-Film®
  • Filmtruder®
  • LabVap®
  • Roto-Vak®
  • Sako™
  • Sambay®
  • Samvac®
  • Turba-Film®
  • Viscon®
  • Vistrac®
  • Vistran®

*The Filmtruder, Viscon, Sako, Sambay, and Samvac names are registered trademarks of LCI's teaming partner, Buss-SMS-Canzler.


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