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100 hours less downtime annually with a bulletproof centrifuge

By Andritz |

When Lubrizol needed a safe, cost-efficient alternative to a titanium grade 2 case experiencing corrosion, ANDRITZ stepped in with a special FRP centrifuge casing tested at a shooting range.  

Develop a safe, cost-efficient alternative to titanium grade 2 case

Lubrizol, a highly advanced chemicals manufacturer, was experiencing severe corrosion in the case of one of its decanter centrifuges. In theory, the centrifuge’s titanium grade 2 case and rotating assembly should have been able to withstand the hydrochloric acid that passed through the centrifuge. However, changing process conditions (elevated temperatures and concentrations) were causing substantial corrosion problems and increasing maintenance costs. In addition to meeting its functional criteria, Lubrizol needed a solution that was:
• Safe under all operating conditions despite high operating speeds, which generate a force that couldrelease large particles at a lethal velocity if they were to penetrate the case.
• A cost-effective alternative.
• More resistant to the highly corrosive chemicals used in the separation process. 

The customer turned to our local partner for an answer to these challenges. We at ANDRITZ have developed an innovative solution using FRP by working together with Plasticon Europe B.V., Netherlands and Lubrizol Advanced Materials Resin B.V., Netherlands.

An impenetrable new type of casing material

Robust and chemically resistant, FRP proved in initial calculations to be costeffective compared to titanium. But was it strong enough? Having reached the limits of analytical calculations, it was clear that a new type of safety test was needed. One that would simulate large solids and/or wear elements coming out of the centrifuge at extreme velocities, but without putting anyone at risk. The answer was found in the most unlikely of places – a shooting range. An FRP construction, resembling the eventual shielding material, was used as a target. 

A safe, corrosion-resistant solution with 100 hours less downtime annually

The excellent teamwork between Lubrizol, Plasticon, and ANDRITZ resulted in an entirely new and innovative application for FRP. Used for a decanter centrifuge case, the material enabled safe and reliable operations while allowing substantial savings for the customer in terms of purchasing and maintenance ammunition was fired at the target to replicate the trajectory of the potentially dangerous materials. After shooting, measuring, and investigating the results, it was proven that projectiles moving at six times the speed of any part coming from the centrifuge could not penetrate the 10 mm thick FRP construction. Even projectiles fired multiple times at the same impact area did not penetrate the target. This proves that, without a doubt, the safety of the surrounding personnel and this equipment could be guaranteed with an FRP centrifuge case. Two years after installation, the case is still in excellent condition, reducing downtime by one hundred hours annually. As an added bonus, the plastic case makes far less noise than the titanium metal case it replaced.

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ANDRITZ Decanter centrifuge with FRP casing