In-line mixing processes
Automatic additive dosing in a pipeline.
The customer needed to incorporate diverse additives into a product. The process required an operator to introduce all the different amounts of additives to a tan, which produced the risks inherent in working at heights for the operator and the possibility of error in the quantities to be added.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PROJECT
The customer needed to incorporate additives such as colorants, aromas, preservatives, solids, and so on, to a product during a process that was previously manual and where their operators had to introduce different amounts of said additives to a tank.
The amount of these additives and their different mixtures exceeds 1000 recipes and the possibility of error in the amounts to be added during a manual process was high.
At Fecoatec we designed a solution that allowed them to fully automatically dose the different additives in a pipeline, not in the tank, using a static mixer.
TYPE OF PROJECT
The design was carried out with the customer’s requirements in mind. Of special importance was the repeatability of the process (ensuring that the same quantity of additives is always introduced into the process), safety, and cleanliness (possible mixtures should be avoided).
A solution was designed that allows the different additives to be dosed fully automatically in a pipeline, not in the tank.
With this, rejection rates were improved (fewer errors), a better mixing was achieved (we designed and installed a static mixer, to improve the mixing of the components), and the constant necessary presence of an operator was avoided.
3 skids were designed and manufactured including tank, pumps, valves, pipes, instrumentation, electrical panel and touch screen and PLC for process control.
The different additives are pre-weighed and marked with a barcode gun on the skid itself.
If the coded additive mixture and its sequence are correct, the mixing tank lid opens, and the additives are incorporated
They are homogenized, and later they are pumped and injected into the main fluid line.
Subsequently, an automatic CIP of the dosing skid is carried out.
A multitude of innovations and engineering solutions were included:
- Calculation and design of a hygienic, removable, in-line static mixer in stages for mixing the injection of additives in the main fluid line.
- Installation of double seat and double butterfly valves, with leak detection, allows cleaning with CIP (acid, base, and so on) with the certainty that mixtures are not produced after the product is dosed.
- High-efficiency agitator installed in mixing tank.
- Twin screw pump, driven by a servomotor, allows pumping a large quantity of additives with different rheological characteristics, as well as CIP. The Rotation speed of the pump depend on the combination of additives to be incorporated and is controlled on the touch screen using recipes.
VALUE-ADDED PROPOSITION AND SOLUTIONS
These dosing teams were unified with the factory’s SAP management program.
Once the additives were included in the main fluid, they changed state in the SAP program (For example, they changed state from raw material to finished product).
What are the most difficult challenges we faced?
- As an innovative project, the correct in-line mixing of the additives with the main fluid was correctly achieved with the static mixer, using FECOATEC’s design.
- The thorough cleaning of the installation after each cycle was a critical point, which was correctly solved.
- Automation, and drastic reduction of errors compared to the manual use of adding minority ingredients.