Opening and closing plate heat exchangers with pipe wrenches, slugging wrenches, or similar tools is not recommended for many reasons. The main concern being safety, plate heat exchangers are compressed under constant pressure, the wrong tool may not be capable of handling the task.

Assortment of WCR heat exchanger tools

The ratcheting-type spanner wrench is specifically designed for opening & closing plate heat exchanger frames. These heavy duty tools make the job go a lot smoother by being non-slip and interchangeable from either direction.  They can also be used in a variety of other applications.

Our most popular size is the 80mm, which fits a heavy hex nut (3” across the flats) for a 2″ diameter threaded rod. This size fits many larger Alfa Laval models that use 1½” or 2″ diameter closing bolts.

Spanner Wrench Inserts

For clients with a variety of heat exchanger model sizes in their facilities, WCR offers spanner wrench inserts.  The inserts consist of high-strength steel meant to withstand the demand of heat exchanger tightening and decompression. Inserts allow a single wrench to be utilized for multiple applications.

Available Sizes

1 5/8" (~41mm) 1 13/16 (46mm) 2" (50mm) 2 3/16" (55mm) 2 3/8" (60mm) 2 7/16" (~62mm) 2 9/16" (65mm) 2 3/4" (~70mm)
Size Length HeightDiameter WeightMax Torque
1 1/4" (~32mm) 25.5" 3.4" 1.25" 7.4 lbs. 1100 ft/lbs.
1 5/8 (~41mm) 25.5" 3.4" 1.25" 7.2 lbs. 1100 ft/lbs.
1 13/16" (46mm) 27" 3.4" 1.25" 7.2 lbs. 1200 ft/lbs.
3 1/8" (80mm) 37.5" 4.65" 1.5" 14.3 lbs. 1300 ft/lbs.

For use on your plate heat exchanger, we recommend loosening and tightening from both sides at the same time. Two mechanics working at the same time can keep the frame plates much more parallel than one man working alone. This will help prevent damage to not only the frame plates, but also the heat exchange plates and gaskets.


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