Maximum product yield and optimum cleaning: the Whirlwind technology

In producing companies, mix phases when switching batches or when cleaning are often process steps leading to major product loss, and especially with expensive products increase the cost of production. The Whirlwind technology offers a solution to this problem. The following article describes the task given by a production company which produces and fills water-based dispersion colours, as well as the task solution. The report compares the various systems usable for batch changing and shows the possibilities of the Whirlwind system.

The task

At the location in Ober-Ramstadt of the Deutschen Amphibolin-Werke v. Robert Murjahn Stiftung & Co. KG, a piping system from the mixing tank to the handover to a branching piping network is to be emptied and cleaned. The objective is to minimise product loss when changing batches and to clean the piping in a quick and efficient way, to enable a more rapid production change. The product is transported by a pump from the mixing tank through a filter to the storage area, which is up to 6 m elevated and connected with up to 240 m of piping.

 

At the end of production, the product is to be emptied as loss-free as possible into either an existing pigging system or into the product tank farm. The used cleaning medium is cold tap water. The objectives can be summed up as follows: Reduction of loss or maximum yield, respectively / Efficient cleaning / Reduction of cleaning medium use / Quick switching of production.

Possible solutions

Pigging technology or Whirlwind technology

When using the pigging technology, a fitted plug (the pig) is inserted into the piping. This is then pressed by either gas or a liquid through the piping and squeezes the product in front of the pig out of the piping section. When using the pigging technology, special care has to be given to the design of the piping. As the pig is a solid object, the whole stretch of piping, all bends, T-pieces, fittings, sensors need to be ‘piggable’, i.e. all need to have the same diameter. Due to this, the pigs are always inserted right after a pump, and retrieved in front of a tank. Filters can also not be emptied with the pigging technology. This necessitates an additional cleaning of the piping system when switching products.

Results

Yield:                 90 – 95 %
Duration Whirlwind phases:                 < 20 minutes
Cleaning medium usage:                 100 l each cleaning run

(with a pipe diameter of DN 125)

Advantages

Following advantages outweigh in the medium run the increased starting investment and especially contribute long-term to a less strained environment: minimal product loss, because the complete intake line and the filter are included / highly efficient cleaning leads to minimal product residue / reduction of the normally used cleaning media by more than 70 %. In September 2010, the ordered plant was commissioned. More about optimising the yield.

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