2013 Vaaler Awards: Five Products Win Laurels

Chemical plants face ongoing challenges to increase their efficiency and profitability.

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Suitable for powders, pellets or other granular materials, Tigerflex Voltbuster is constructed of extra-thick single-ply food-grade polyurethane with an external grounding wire. The thermoplastic is transparent and resists abrasion as well as most animal- and petroleum-based oils. It remains flexible at sub-zero temperatures, won't contaminate material being transferred and enables visual confirmation of flow. The hose tube meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements, Not only is the polyurethane food grade but also the grounding wire is embedded in a helix on the outside of the tube to prevent contamination of material being transferred. That rigid external helix also protects the hose from wear and enables it to slide easily over rough surfaces.

Tigerflex Voltbuster hoses come in nominal sizes of 2-in. to 8-in. inner diameter, or 3-in. to 6-in. reinforced with high-tensile-strength food-grade polyester yarn. The fabric-reinforced hose can handle both suction and higher-pressure discharge applications. The hose's service temperature range is from -40°F (-40°C) to 150°F (65°C). Pressure ratings vary depending on size.




Software Gives Insights on Complex Piping Systems
Epcon International's Process Innovator, which debuted commercially in June 2013, models, simulates and analyzes pipe distribution systems. It can identify and correct root-cause problems in steam, condensate, cooling water, compressed air, fuel and process systems. It provides an effective way to assess complex systems, including ones that haven't been modeled in detail since plant startup, and can lead to significant cost savings. The software also can contribute to more accurate scoping of utility systems for prospective plant expansions.

Process Innovator can create a process flow diagram (PFD), size process equipment and accurately simulate flows and pressure drops throughout a process or utility system. It can be used to confirm proper design and operation of equipment including pumps, compressors, blowers, heat exchangers, control valves and flow meters. The computational engine is extremely fast for solving plant-wide complex piping distribution systems.

The software can quickly generate diagrams of a process or utility system in PFD format. Once the PFD is completed and equipment and piping specifications are entered, a user can select "Simulate" to calculate flows and pressures throughout the entire system. This only takes seconds even for a flow model with hundreds of pipes. Selecting "Analyze" will show how equipment and piping conform to design specifications.

Process Innovator powers Epcon International's flow simulation and process engineering software products, Engineer's Aide SiNET and ChemPro Engineering Suite.



Cleaning Process Effectively Eliminates Polymeric Deposits
Perigee Solution's EnviroSol 531, which premiered in February 2013, is a non-hazardous high-boiling low-vapor-pressure chemical that can remove fouling caused by many types of polymers. The cleaning process, which uses no water, is safer, faster and more environmentally friendly than alternatives, such as acidizing or hydro-blasting. It doesn't require vessel entry or taking equipment apart. Moreover, the process is suitable for all metallurgy and doesn't generate significant waste.

Conventional techniques to remove polymer buildups often involve sending workers into confined spaced to use chainsaws or high-pressure hydro-blasting equipment, and thus pose risks of injury to personnel. In contrast, the Perigee process circulates EnviroSol 531 in the equipment. It can decrease cleaning turnaround time by up to 30%.

It's the only process that can effectively clean diamond-pitch-tube-layout heat exchangers. EnviroSol 531 can remove buildups on other process equipment, including some vessels, as well as piping. The plant gets the recovered polymer to sell as scrap or dispose of, as appropriate.

Perigee brings a skid containing the cleaning system to a site and operates the process, which involves circulating EnviroSol 531 in process equipment and piping fouled with polymeric buildup.

The technology already has successfully cleaned a variety of process equipment, including a polycaprolactam oligomer cracking reactor, a polypropylene reactor, a polymer flare knockout drum, and the jacket of a very-high-pressure low-density polyethylene reactor. EnviroSol 531 also has removed polymeric fouling from ethylene and related process equipment.


THE JUDGES
Vic Edwards, process safety consultant, Houston
Tim Frank, associate R&D director, Dow Chemical, Midland, Mich.
Ben Paterson, senior engineering advisor, Eli Lilly, Indianapolis
Roy Sanders, process safety consultant, Lake Charles, La.

Ellen Turner, tech service and application development rep, Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, Tenn.
Ben Weinstein, section head, chemical systems modeling and simulation, Procter & Gamble, West Chester, Ohio
Jon Worstell, consultant, Houston
Sheila Yang, principal engineer, Genentech, South San Francisco, Calif.

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