A special transport was required to send the first three of a series of BE design glass-lined agitated tanks with a volume of 16,000 litres to Taiwan. The customer, a large Taiwanese chemical company, decided almost a year ago to purchase several THALETEC agitated reactors. From the customer's point of view, there were essential points which led to a decision in favour of THALETEC:
- THALETEC's advice in the run-up to the awarding of the contract
- The long tradition and experience in the production of glass-lined equipment
- The optimal glass lining for the process
- The shortening of process time achievable with the THALETEC PowerBaffle
- The shortest delivery time compared with competitors
Several on-site visits to the customer enabled the engineers of THALETEC GmbH and THALETEC GLES ASIA, based in Singapore, to gain a detailed insight and deep understanding of the customer's specific requirements for the apparatus and process control. Two main topics emerged as essential tasks: Firstly, the optimal agitation system had to be defined and tested. Secondly, the topic of heat transfer and cooling during the critical exothermic reaction phase had to be analyzed. The agitation system was set up, demonstrated and jointly optimized on a model scale during a visit by the customer to the THALETEC agitation technology center in Thale. The thermal behavior of the agitated tanks as well as the determination of the heating and cooling times and the transferable heat output was carried out iteratively in several steps with the aid of a separate calculation system.
Finally, the final concept was adopted. This is based on a 2-stage agitator and two PowerBaffles (Flyer K018) instead of conventional baffles. To finally secure the design, THALETEC allowed the customer to contact three reference users for comparable configured agitation and heat transfer systems and to exchange practical experiences. A video shows shots of the test run of an agitated tank in throughput operation.
The great experience and unique manufacturing facilities for the manufacture of reactors and PowerBaffles: During a visit to THALETEC's production site in Thale am Harz (video), the customer could be left in no doubt as to the company's size and capabilities. He was particularly impressed by the quality and variety of the equipment and components manufactured in Thale (video).
From the customer's point of view, THALETEC offers the most innovative glass linings: the process in the agitated tanks will be polymerization. THALETEC offers a poly-glass lining especially for these processes which is characterized by a particularly high surface quality and good heat transfer. Both are crucial for effective process control: the anti-adhesive properties of the surface prevent the product from caking and sticking and the good heat transfer allows rapid heating and safe dissipation of the exothermic heat.
The concept pursued by THALETEC is based on an optimized two-stage agitation system in conjunction with two Powerbaffles (Flyer K018), which simultaneously fulfil the functions of internal heat exchangers, baffles and temperature probe carriers. Through the use of PowerBaffles instead of baffles, the effective heat transfer surface factor was able to be more than doubled compared with the pure double jacket tank. This significantly increases the productivity of the equipment, resulting in an extremely economical process. The competing solutions, consisting of a single-stage agitation system and two cylindrical heating or cooling plugs, were far inferior to the THALETEC concept.
It is important to note that THALETEC was able to demonstrate that the small distance between the individual heat exchanger tubes in the PowerBaffle has a very favorable effect on the adhesion behavior of the agitated medium. The high flow velocities between the tubes in conjunction with the vortex shedding create a highly turbulent flow profile which prevents the product from sticking. The small number of spacers required further reduces the risk.
THALETEC offered the shortest delivery time for the reactors: As with many customer orders, the customer’s decision phase was also very long here. Nevertheless, the customer did not want to deviate from his plan as to when the first reactors were to be delivered. Thanks to efficient production methods and systematic parallel processing of all assemblies, the production time of these highly bespoke reactors could be implemented in such a way that the equipment could be delivered BEFORE the promised delivery date.
Due to the necessary clarifications and preparations in advance, the customer order described above was one of the most extensive to date in 2018. The close cooperation with THALETEC GLES ASIA in Singapore and the THALETEC organization in Germany made it possible to work out an optimal solution for the customer. The customer now has a highly efficient plant for the production of high-quality polymers.
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