Showing posts with label process refractometer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process refractometer. Show all posts

Hydrochloric Acid Concentration Control Using Inline Process Refractometers

Hydrochloric Acid Concentration Refractometer
Hydrochloric Acid, HCL, is a versatile chemical used in a number of industrial chemical processes such as hydrometallurgical processing, chlorine dioxide synthesis, hydrogen production, and petroleum well activation. Hydrochloric Acid is also commonly used in various metal etching and cleaning processes (pickling of steel), masonry cleaning processes, and the production of plastics (such as PVC), polyurethane production, leather tanning, and in food additive processing.  The dilute version of HCL is Muriatic Acid, which was originally called "acidum salis" and "spirits of salt" because it was produced from rock salt in the 15th century.

Measuring the Concentration of Hydrochloric Acid (sometimes referred to as Concentration Density of Hydrochloric Acid) is a critical part of the production process for all applications mentioned above.  It is important to closely monitor the concentration levels of the hydrochloric acid with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. Although Hydrochloric Acid Concentration can be created in excess of 40% (Concentrated Grade), Industrial Grade high concentration HCL is 30-35%, which is most stable for transport and storage, and reduces the loss of HCL to evaporation.  As the concentration lowers, other names for the concentrations exist, such as Muriatic Acid which can range in concentrations of 21-35%.  

Hydrochloric Acid is a prime candidate for concentration measurement through use of its Refractive Index (R.I.).  Unlike Sulfuric Acid, the R.I. for HCL Acid is extremely linear, rising from 0% at 1.333 R.I. to 40% at 1.425 R.I.  

An inline process refractometer is used to monitor the concentration of Hydrochloric Acid level in real time. Based upon the refractive index (R.I.) of a given aqueous solution, the refractometer can determine the HCL concentration of the solution and relay that value in real time for proactive process control.  

The Electron Machine Corporation’s family of inline process refractometers are the ideal instrument for measuring these concentrations. 

Electron Machine Corporation manufactures the MPR E-Scan; a rugged, dependable, accurate, and cost effective in-line refractometer.  Capabilities include 4-20mA and  0-10VDC outputs, a variety of up to 8 internal relays for direct control of a variety of valves, alarms, and warning indicators, as well as the capability of saving up to 99 different recipes each with their own alarms, set-points and controls. The wetted metal of the sensing head is normally made from Tantalum (other alloys are available). The non-wetted parts and the interconnection cable can be Teflon® coated for added protection.

Benefits of Using the MPR E-Scan:

  • High precision and durability in extremely corrosive conditions.
  • Continuous quality control.
  • Hazardous chemical environmental and safety regulation compliance.
  • Low maintenance, repeatable operation.

Please contact Electron Machine Corporation (+1 352-669-3101) for more information or check out our many accounts on social media. 

New! 24 Volt, DC-DC Option for the DCR E-Scan and MPR E-Scan In-line Process Refractometers

Electron Machine Corporation announced June 2, 2020 that the new 24v DC-DC Power Supply has been officially released for use in the DCR E-Scan and MPR E-Scan models.

“This is the successful culmination of many hours work and several revisions,” says Jack Wilburn, Operations Manager for Electron Machine, “and provides us the ability to satisfy the needs of many clients who seek a mobile solution for in-line process measurement of Refractive Index.” 

Reading Milk Fat content, de-icing solutions, and the measurement of sugars on harvesting equipment are just a few of the applications this new power supply address. Static operations that benefit from this advancement are solar operated locations as well as areas that lack high voltage AC service. This new option provides a solution for these low power areas.

Read the full article here. 


Please contact Electron Machine Corporation (+1 352-669-3101) for more information, or check out our accounts on most all social media platforms.

Inline Process Refractometers for Measurement and Control of Sulfuric Acid Concentration in Industrial Applications

Sulfuric Acid Concentration
Sulfuric Acid (Sulphuric Acid, H2SO4) is a widely used commodity chemical. Because of it's corrosive properties, special attention has to be paid to its handling and storage. Measuring the concentration of Sulfuric Acid (sometimes referred to as Concentration Density of Sulfuric Acid) is a critical part of the production process. Controlling H2SO4 concentration is very important in many industrial applications including the production of fertilizers, oil refinement, chemical processing, mineral processing and wastewater treatment. Maintaining the desired Sulfuric Acid concentration density ensures it's safe handling and ultimately affects product quality. Industrial inline process refractometers provide the best solution for determining and maintaining Sulfuric Acid concentration.


For more information contact Electron Machine by calling +1 352-669-3101 or visit their web site at https://electronmachine.com.

International Certifications and Explosion Proof Ratings for the MPR E-Scan Inline Process Refractometer

International Certifications
Electron Machine Corporation manufactures the MPR E-Scan; a rugged, dependable, accurate, and cost effective in-line refractometer. 

Capabilities include 4-20mA and 0-10VDC outputs, a variety of up to 8 internal relays for direct control of a variety of valves, alarms, and warning indicators, as well as the capability of saving up to 99 different recipes each with their own alarms, set-points and controls. All models of the MPR E-Scan are IP66, NEMA4X rated, for rugged use and maximum durability.

For our European clients, MPR E-Scan in the various models listed above are CE certified, which includes compliance with RoHS and WEEE Directives. Additionally, our MPR E-Scan I.S. is ATEX certified, Certificate Number: ITS19ATEX204319X, and a rating of Ex II 1 G Ex ia IIC T4 Ga -20C <= Ta <= +52C.

Our clients in North America are served by our family of MPR E-Scan that are cETLus certified to UL Standards 61010-1, 60079-0, and 60079-11; as well as CSA standards C22.2 # 61010-1, C22.2 # 60079-0, and C22.2 # 60079-11. Additionally, the MPR E-Scan I.S. model is certified HAZLOC Class 1, Division 1, Groups A-D T4, Class 1, Zone 0, Ex ia IIC T4 Ga, Ex ia IIC T4 Ga at a temperature range of -20C <= T amb <= +52C.

For our clients throughout Africa, Asia, and Australia, the MPR E-Scan I.S. is IECEx Certified, Certificate Number IECEx ETL 19.0001X, fully compliant with standards IEC 60079-0:2017 and IEC 60079-11:2011. The rating is: Ex ia IIC T3 -20C <= T amb <= +52C.

 Electron Machine also works with specific local certifications and is currently in the application process for Japanese TIIS acceptance for the MPR E-Scan I.S.

Please contact Electron Machine Corporation (+1 352-669-3101) for more information or check out our many accounts on social media.

Process Refractometers

Process Refractometer
Process refractometers are used in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications including the measurement of the sugar content of food and beverages, monitoring the purity and concentration of ingredients in pharmaceuticals, analyzing the constituents in petroleum oil, and purity control and concentration measurement of raw materials in the chemical industry.




PROCESS REFRACTOMETERS FOR THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

  • Quality control and purity determination of feedstock and end products.
  • Determination of sugar concentration (Brix).
  • Determination of the alcohol concentration in beer, wine and spirits.
  • Quality control of milk-based products
Substances Monitored
  • Dairy products, jams and jellies, tomato products, fruit juices, beer, wine, spirits.

PROCESS REFRACTOMETERS FOR THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

  • Baseline development of concentrations in research and development.
  • Quality control and purity determination of feedstock and end products.
  • Chemical process monitoring during production.
Substances Monitored
  • Hydrocarbons, organic solvents, alcohols, salt solutions, acids, bases, stains, paints and varnishes, industrial oils, resins, glue, polymers, silicones, hydrochloric acid applications, sulphuric acid applications, boiler cleaning chemicals.

PROCESS REFRACTOMETERS FOR THE PULP AND PAPER  INDUSTRY

  • Black liquor concentration and quality.
  • Green liquor concentration and quality.
  • Boiler cleaning chemicals.
Substances Monitored
  • Green liquor, black liquor, boiler cleaning chemicals, red liquor, white liquor, tall oil, and resin.
For more information, contact Electron Machine Corporation.

Industrial Refractometers and Green Liquor Scale Mitigation

Green Liquor
Green liquor, a by-product of the kraft process, is the dissolved concentration of sodium sulfide, sodium carbonate, and other compounds in solution. Keeping track of its component concentration is important to the pulp processing cycle. Green liquor scaling, which includes calcite, sodium aluminosilicates, and pirssonite,  is a problem in most kraft process mills and can cause huge maintenance problems and slow production. Understanding the formation of, and potential ways to control, these formations scale is critical for optimal safety and performance.

Industrial inline process refractometers, such as Electron Machine's MPR E-Scan, are used to measure the green liquor dissolved density, or TTA, at two stages in the process: after the green liquor dissolving tank and after the green liquor clarifier. The inline measurement, with the refractometer sensing head mounted directly in the main process lines, allows real-time control of green liquor dilution to meet target TTA set-points. The measurement is also used to indicate (and prevent) excessive green liquor density and the resulting dangerous impending crystallization within the dissolving tank, and lower the potential for scaling.

Refractometer Optical Sensor Cleaning System
Refractometer Optical Sensor Cleaning System 
Refractometer operating conditions must be optimized for close monitoring and control of green liquor density. Consideration of scale and coating build-up on the optical sensor on the refractometer sensing head is a primary area of concern. A clean sensing head will allow maximum accuracy of the refractometer,  maintaining tight density control, minimize scaling, and increasing kraft process quality.

With overall quality and safety in mind, the use of a refractometer sensing head cleaning system is compulsory. The use of ancillary inline cleaning systems, such as Electron Machine's HPC-2 High Pressure Cleaner, that use pressurized water heated to the process temperature, will clean the refractometer optical components and therefore mitigate scaling issues and the related quality, safety, and production problems in the kraft process.

Common Applications for Inline Process Refractometers in Everyday Products

Process refractometers are used in many applications, across a wide variety of industries today. These digital electronic instruments are used to measure dissolved solids and percent concentration in many common, and not-so-common, products. From foods such as juice and jellies, to harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid, to the paper you touch everyday, there's probably a refractometer monitoring the production line to ensure consistent quality.

Listed below are industries and applications where you may find inline process refractometers.

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Common chemical processing applications:
Sodium Bicarbonate; Copper Chloride; Hydrogen Peroxide; Acids; Acrylate; Ammonium Hydroxide; Sodium Dichromate; Polymers; Iron Chloride; Sodium Hydroxide; Ammonium Nitrate; Polymers; Lubricating Oils; Chromium Trioxide (Or Chromic Acid); Acetic Acid; Ammonium Fluoride; Oleum; Amine Oxide; Resins; Ethylene Glycol; Polyamides; Nickel Chloride; Ethylene; Glycols; Formic Acid; Amino Acid; Resins; PET; Solvents; Sulphuric Acid; Glycerol; Urea; Formaldehyde; Fluranes; Coolants; Nitric Acid; Polycarbonates; Caustic Soda; Polyethylene; Gels; Cellulose Derivates; Ammonium Sulphate; Citric Acid; Sodium Gluconate; Lactic Acid; Resins; Styrenes.

THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY AND SYNTHETIC FIBER INDUSTRY

Common process applications in the production of plastics and synthetic fiber:
Hexamethylene Diamine; Polycarbonates; Vinyls; Polyethylene; Additives; Dimethylformamide; Fiberglass; Rayon; Cyclohexanol; PET; Polyamides; Cyclohexanon; Nylon Salt; Adipic Acid; Styrenes; Polyesters; Polymers; Dimethylterephthalate; Acetate; Resins; Acrylics.

THE PULP STOCK & PAPER PROCESSING INDUSTRY

Common applications in pulp processing and paper production include:
Chlorine Dioxide; Alum; Oxidized Starch; Sizing Chemicals; Black Liquor; CMC; Green Liquor; Starch; Latex; Ozone; Hydrogen Peroxide; White Liquor; PVA; Styrene Acrylic; Dextrin; Styrene Butadiene Latex; Sodium Dithionite.

DETERGENTS, LOTIONS, AND SOAP PRODUCTION

Common applications in soap and detergent production include:
Palm Oil; Glycerol; Caustic Soda; Salt; Fatty Alcohols; Caustic Potash; Soda Ash; Sodium Bicarbonate; Citrus Oils; Fatty Acids.

THE PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING OF STARCH SWEETENERS

Common applications in the production of starch-based sweetners:
Maltose; Fructose; Aspartame; Sorbitol; Flavors; Lactitol; Xylose; Mannitol; Dextrose; Glucose; HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

IN SUGAR PROCESSING

Common applications in sugar processing:
Liquid Sugar; Confectionery Sugar; Affination; Extraction; Vacuum Pan; Molasses; Thick Juice; Press Water; Brown Sugar; Molasses; Thin Juice; Invert Sugar; Cane Sugar; Sucrose; Beet Sugar.

For more information about the application of process refractometers in industrial applications, contact Electron Machine Corporation by calling 352-669-3101 or by visiting https://electronmachine.com.

Visit Electron Machine at the 2019 Chem Show in NYC!


Come Visit Electron Machine Corporation at the 2019 Chem Show in New York City, October 22-24!

Held every odd year, The Chem Show is the showcase for the latest process equipment, products and services, bringing together manufacturers and innovative new suppliers with executives, process engineers, production teams and plant personnel throughout the CPI (Chemical Process Industries).

Why Attend?
  • Thousands of Industry Professionals and More Than 270 Exhibiting Companies
  • Free Best-Practices & Technology Seminars
  • Rapid-Fire Exhibitor New Product & Technology Presentations
Who Attends?
Process Engineers, Plant & Production Personnel, and Executives From These Process Industries:
  • Adhesives & Sealants
  • Chemicals
  • Cosmetics
  • Food & Beverage
  • Metals
  • Paints & Allied Products
  • Petrochemical & Refining
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics & Synthetic Resins
  • Rubber/Rubber Products
  • Soaps & Detergents
  • Stone/Glass/Ceramics
If you attend the 2019 Chem Show, please stop by Booth 705 and say hello to the good people at Electron Machine Corporation.

Using a Spool Adapter with Your Inline Process Refractometer

Spool Adapter
Two versions of inline refractometer adapters.
Inline refractometers use process adapters as the mechanical connection between the refractometer sensing head and the process piping. The adapter, also referred to as a "spool piece", is designed specifically to accommodate the pipe size and application.

On applications where pipe sizes are 2" or larger, the use of a refractometer sensing head spool adapter is suggested. This ancillary piece of hardware provides a mounting point for the sensing head between two flanges directly in the process piping.

The spool adapter positions the sensing head so that it measures from the center of the process flow. The spool adapter design includes an internal deflector and a 5 degree (angular) sensing head mounting connection. The deflector and angled mounting connection reduces sensor head coating issues from the process media. A steam purge tube connection is standardly included to accommodate steam/fluid cleaning.

Spool Adapter
Spool adapter with sensing
head mounted.
Spool adapters recommended mounting orientation is horizontal, generally placed in a horizontal segment of process piping. Vertical mounting is also acceptable, as long as the process flow is in an upward direction.

Spool Adapter
Spool adapter with hand
cleaning option.
Inline refractometer spool adapters are available with option to facilitate cleaning, service and process protection. Examples are lined adapters, hand cleaner adapters, high pressure cleaner adapters, isolation valves, sanitary connection adapters, and weld-in adapters.

BLRBAC Recommended Good Practice Document: Thermal Oxidation of Waste Streams in Black Liquor Recovery Boilers

The black liquor recovery boiler presents problems of operation and safety that far exceed those of the conventional power boiler or other forms of combustion equipment that can be used for the thermal oxidation of waste streams. The recovery boiler is primarily a chemical recovery process unit in which organic materials in the black liquor are burned while the oxidized sulfur compounds of sodium and potassium are reduced and drained as molten smelt from the furnace bottom. At the same time, the heat released is used for generation of steam for power and process.

This document is intended to address concerns of the industry relating to safe thermal oxidation of waste streams in recovery boilers. “Waste streams” for this document are produced in the pulping process. The major waste stream is noncondensible gases (NCG), which are gases that contain reduced sulfur compounds from the digester and evaporator operations and are a source of odor.

The following list is representative of the pulping process waste streams that are addressed:
  • Dilute Noncondensible Gas (DNCG)
  • Concentrated Noncondensible Gas (CNCG)
  • Stripper Off Gas (SOG)
  • Chip Bin Noncondensible Gas (CBNCG)
  • Dissolving Tank Vent Gas (DTVG)
  • Soap
  • Methanol
  • Turpentine
  • Tall Oil
  • Spent Acid
  • Secondary Sludge

The Preferred Inline Process Refractometer When Safety and Quality Are on the Line


Electron Machine inline process refractometers provide safe, reliable, and accurate process measurement for thousands of customers in the pulp and paper industry, food and beverage industry, and chemical industries. Known for their ruggedly designed instruments, Electron Machine refractometers provide accurate and repeatable measurement of Refractive Index, Dissolved Solids, and Degrees Brix. They also distinguish themselves from competitors by providing fast response to customers needs after the sale. For applications where accuracy and reliability are critical to safety and quality, there really is only once choice - Electron Machine.

Throwback Thursday - 1972 "Instrumentation Study - Black Liquor Solids Content" by the The Institute of Paper Chemistry

For all you Pulp & Paper historians out there, here's an "oldie but goodie" from the Electron Machine archives.

In 1972 The Institute of Paper Chemistry wrote a paper titled "Instrumentation Study - Black Liquor Solids Content" detailing a comparison between an Electron Machine Corporation refractometer and an NUS Corporation sonic velocimeter and their respective capability of measuring black liquor solids. Below is the document to view online, or you can download your own copy here.

8 Reasons to Partner with Electron Machine Corporation

  1. Our History - We designed & patented the 1st process refractometer in 1957.
  2. Our Quality - We maintain the highest certification levels and standards.
  3. We Solve Problems - Innovative designs that perform far beyond expectations.
  4. Our Experience - 60+ years successfully applying process refractometers.
  5. Our People - Professional, knowledgeable, courteous, enthusiastic.
  6. Our Leadership - Committed, strategic and transformational.
  7. We're Community Involved - Supporting local colleges, businesses and organizations.
  8. We're Environmentally Friendly - Doing our part with renewables for a greener tomorrow.

The Three Major Causes of Refractometer Trouble in Black Liquor Recovery Boilers

Pulp and paper mill
Pulp and paper mill.
The three major causes of refractometer trouble or failure in black liquor recovery boilers are:
  1. Loss of cooling water and its effect on the sensing head.
  2. Lack of reliability of the prism wash.
  3. Condensation in the sensing head.
These may not apply to all refractometers due to differences in construction and circuitry.

Cooling Water Loss

It is of vital importance that the loss of cooling water be detected. This may be done through a temperature sensing element or flow monitor which shuts down the refractometer involved.

Damage to the sensing element of a refractometer does not occur instantaneously, but it is essential that the system detect abnormal temperatures due to cooling water loss, flow blockage, etc., and that the cooling water be promptly restored.

The individual refractometer manufacturer’s instruction and maintenance manuals shall be consulted with reference to: potential damage to the sensing element; identification of a damaged element; how and when to replace a damaged element.

Prism Wash

The time interval between prism washes may vary with the black liquor composition. It is recommended that the minimum wash period be 7-10 seconds of wash every 20 minutes. Short duration washes at more frequent intervals are more effective than long washes at long intervals. Ideally, steam pressure for prism washing should be 35 psig above the black liquor pressure, plus the pressure required to open the protective check valve.

Awareness must be maintained of the effect of changes to the prism wash programming variables. Various refractometer systems have the capability to adjust: condensate drain time, steam on time, recovery time and interval between wash time. It may be possible to configure the system to have the total time that both refractometers are in their wash cycle represent a significant percentage of operating time. If one refractometer is out of service for repairs and the remaining refractometer is in prism wash, black liquor solids are not being monitored. Prism wash should be minimized to that needed to maintain the system.

If high pressure steam is used, it may abrade the prism. If only high pressure steam is available, a reducing valve shall be used.

The refractometer prism must have a clear polished optical surface, and if it becomes abraded, it must be replaced.

If the prism wash system has not operated properly and the prism becomes coated, it must be removed and properly cleaned.

Condensation in Sensing Head

Condensate may build up in the refractometer sensing head and if this occurs, the instrument operation will be erratic.

The procedure for determining this condition and for the elimination of excessive moisture in the sensing head is not the same for all refractometers. The manufacturer’s instruction and maintenance manuals shall be consulted and followed carefully.

Reprinted from "Recommended Good Practice: Safe Firing of Black Liquor in Black Liquor Recovery Boilers" courtesy of the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee.

Image by AlexiusHoratius [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The Basics of Process Refractometers

Light refractionA refractometer is a process instrument capable of determining a solution's refractive index. Light bends and changes velocity as it travels from one media into another through the media interface. When light traveling through air enters liquid, the light rays change direction by an amount determined by the liquid's density.

Angle of refraction refers to the magnitude the light bends as it exits one media and enters the interface of another. With the angle of refraction defined by their densities, different liquids display different amounts of refraction - for example, a higher density juice such as orange juice will have significantly different refraction than cranberry juice, because of its higher density.

Light refraction
Light bends when traveling through
different media. That's why this pencil
appears to be "broken" when it enters
the water.
A liquid's refractive index relates to the amount of light bending that liquid displays. The greater the bending, the greater the refractive index. The lower the bending, the lower the refractive index.

Standard tables are available that correlate refractive index to a variety of materials. These same tables also correlate refractive index to varying concentrations of particular liquid media at a particular temperature. Take corn syrup for example. Different refractive indexes are observed for different corn syrup samples of different concentrations. Therefore, by using a process refractometer to observe the refractive index of a particular corn syrup sample, a determination of the concentration of that particular sample can be made. By referring to the table or scale that correlates the refractive index to concentration at a particular fixed temperature, liquid concentration can be determined.

The refraction index of the liquid medium readings will vary at different temperatures, and therefore, the sample's temperature must be measured and compensated for in order for refractive index readings to be accurate and repeatable.

Refractive index measurements have been used for process control in the food, juice and beverage industries for decades, with the most common applications being the measurement of sugars (Brix) and total dissolved solids (TDS). Large scale production and processing of fruit juices, jams, tomato products, wine, beer, coffee, and many other products rely on industrial refractometers for quality and consistency.

For more information contact Electron Machine Corporation by visiting https://electronmachine.com or by calling 352-669-3101.

Process Refractometers Built to Handle the Toughest Conditions

Users agree. Electron Machine builds the most rugged process refractometer available for the pulp and paper,  food and beverage, and chemical industries.

https://electronmachine.com
352-669-3101

Have Your Old Electron Machine Refractometer Isolation Valve Rebuilt to "Like New"

Send you old Isolation Valve back to Electron Machine to be restored to like new condition!

The Electron Machine Isolation Valve is a valve designed to isolate the sensing head from the process media for safe removal. There are many in service all over the world. Electron Machine recommends that these valves be repaired/refurbished at least once every ten (10) years.

Contact Electron Machine by calling 352-669-3101 or by visiting https://electronmachine.com to set up your return.

To view a longer, more detailed video of the rebuilding process, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZmHmYxj3Lo

Measuring Brix

Brix measures sugar content
Degrees Brix is the unit used to determine
sugar content in a solution.
Degrees Brix is a measurement unit to determine sugar content, typically in the food and beverage industry using a refractometer. Brix measurements allow precise quality control for sugar levels in different beverages, with one degree Brix equating to 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution. While sucrose is the primary element measured by the Brix reading, it is important to understand how other ingredients affect the Brix reading. The Brix reading can relatively calculate the amount of sweetener in a certain product in addition to exactly calculating the previously mentioned sucrose level.

Sucrose and other sweeteners allow for members of the food and beverage industry to create unique recipes for their products. However, a sucrose solution dissolved in water will return different Brix values than a soda because other elements in the process impact the Brix reading. To account for these shifting variables, a Brix value can be measured through either density or refractive index. Specific control parameters need to be established prior to measuring these solutions with refractometers, thus causing the term “Refractive Brix” to be used when comparing samples against results obtained via different calculation methods. Along with the numerical sugar concentration of a particular product, a product’s sugar concentration correlates to the product’s sweetness, giving controllers the ability to ensure repeatability in their process.

Process refractometers monitor and control
the quality of products containing sugar by
measuring Brix. 
Alongside Brix’s main functionality as an indicator of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become popular in the food and beverage industry as a replacement for sucrose. Recently, the amount of HFCS in a certain product has also been expressed as Brix, allowing for the Brix degree measurement to expand past its original purpose. Digital refractometers have become increasingly popular in measuring Brix degrees and also the percentage of HFCS in a certain product. These dual measurement possibilities allow operators to compare the content of a certain substance across multiple variables of sweetness. Additionally, the availability of these measurements in a certain process via the same measurement device allows for simplification of the measurement process. Hydrometers are another method used to measure Brix, although, as opposed to refractometers, variations in operator control may cause the results of a hydrometer test to be different. Both Brix and HFCS allow for food and beverage controllers to maintain cost and quality control, both in determining how much sucrose should be used in the process and to ensure each individual product meets quality standards.

Electron Machine Corporation
https://electronmachine.com
352-669-3101

Black Liquor Recovery Boilers

Recovery Boiler
Recovery Boiler (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Article courtesy of Electron Machine Corporation

“Black liquor” is a term used for the waste products that result from the pulping process. The black liquor recovery boiler (BLRB) allows for the chemicals in the waste products to be reclaimed via combustion. These reclaimed chemicals are then utilized to both meet steam demands in the process and to generate electricity.

Modern day BLRBs are designed similarly to industrial boilers, typically as two drum designs, for operating pressure under 900 psi, or single drum designs, for operating pressure over 900 psi. The combustion gases utilized by the boilers can be sticky, so the BLRB furnaces are taller than their utility or industrial watertube counterparts. The amount of pulp producible by a particular mill directly correlates to the size of the BLRB. Small BLRBs process about 750,000 pounds of dry solids per day, and larger BLRBs process about six million pounds of dry solids per day. Precise attention and vigilant maintenance are required in order to maximize investment return for each particular boiler.

Black Liquor
Black Liquor
In order to ensure stabilization of combustion, BLRBs are equipped with auxiliary burners which raise boiler temperature for the combustion process. The firing of the black liquor will eventually become self-sufficient. Combusting the black liquor allows for sulfur compounds used in the pulping process to be reduced to sulfide while inorganic chemicals essential to the process are melted down for reuse. The furnace vaporizes the black liquor as the liquor is sprayed into the furnace. Extra water is vaporized, and some of the combustion takes place as the black liquor falls to the furnace’s floor. The resulting molten smelt flows through spouts, which are operantly cooled via water, to a smelt dissolving tank.

A particular risk of the BLRB process stems from the relationship between molten smelt and water. The pool of molten smelt that accumulates as a result of the reclamation process needs to be kept separate from water, because water and molten material mixing at high temperatures can result in a smelt-water explosion. These explosions can occur when black liquor water content is greater than 42% of the mixture. Additionally, there are numerous ways water can enter the process – as condensation from the soot blower, a faulty steam coil heater, wash hoses – so controller vigilance is absolutely key to explosion prevention.

The Black Liquor Recovery Board Advisory Committee has recently introduced an emergency shutdown procedure, where an emergency evacuation alarm signals as soon as suspected water enters the BLRB furnace. The operator, with corresponding training, shuts down all fuel flow and minimizes combustion until all but a minimal amount of water is drained rom the BLRB. Annual inspections of BLRBs mandate the testing of all pressure parts and safety systems, because utmost care must be assured in preventing risk of system damage or operator harm when dealing with BLRB processes.