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Case Study: The Solex Heat Exchanger for Cooling Polypropylene Powder

July 21, 2008
Samsung General Chemicals manufactures various petrochemicals and polymers. The cooling step in their polypropylene line was a bottleneck that limited the amount of powder polypropylene that they could produce per year. The PP is used for a wide variety of applications ranging from packaging films to automotive components.

Samsung General Chemicals (SGC), a subsidiary of the global Samsung Group, is a
petrochemicals company that manufactures various petrochemicals and polymers. The cooling step in
their polypropylene (PP) line was a bottleneck that limited the amount of powder polypropylene that
they could produce per year. The PP is used for a wide variety of applications ranging from packaging
films to automotive components.

The PP is made in a multi-reactor liquid-gas phase system. In the original system, the bottleneck
in the process was the cooling step. The powder was pneumatically conveyed from a reactor, and
dropped into a 40 metre silo. Once the silo was filled, it was purged with nitrogen in order to cool the
PP in a batch-wise, direct contact system.

Effective cooling is an essential step in the powder manufacturing process; otherwise the PP has a
tendency to form lumps if it is stored and transported at elevated temperatures. These lumps can
cause processing difficulties with the SGC customers downstream.