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In the course of the Green Technologies Day series, in April, LEWA once again invited experts to exchange thoughts and experiences, this time on the topic of energy efficiency - a competitive advantage in the process industry? The speakers and participants from the industrial and scientific worlds shed some light on current research activities and they discussed technologies that have been proven in practice. The look beyond one's own nose at today's business clearly showed: in any case, the system approach promises the greatest energy savings potential.

The question of whether energy efficiency is a competitive advantage in the process industry can be answered quickly in principle: of course it is an advantage to be able to produce with lower energy costs. Therefore, behind the topic selected for the second Green Technologies Day in April of this year by the patron lies an expanded question: How high is the true total energy savings potential? How can it be realised with the lowest costs? And is there previously unidentified savings potential?

Depending on how one grapples with the topic, the answer can vary a great deal.

A quick approach is to examine an individual component (pump, armature, heat exchanger, compressor) or a defined part of a system (compressed air supply, cooling water supply) and to optimise it. For many operators this is surely an important first step, as a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) shows: according to this study, flow machines such as pumps, ventilators, and air compressors are among the especially 'energy hungry' components of a system.

It takes much more effort to regard a system as a whole and to optimise it as a system. However, this system approach offers the greatest energy savings as a reward. Last but not least, the operator profits in many cases from the additional bonus of more stable processes and product qualities.

Ionic liquids: still expensive, but very advantageous

The influence of grease liquidity may not be underestimated; specialists see additional optimisation potential with the use of ionic liquids. What are ionic liquids? Ionic liquids are salts built on cations and anions. Their particularity is a melting point below 100°C. All ionic liquids have an exceptionally low fugacity due to their salt-like character. The other physiochemical properties (for example; solubility behaviour, viscosity, electrical conductivity, stability) can vary widely depending on the type of ions.

Due to their special properties, ionic liquids open up many possibilities for optimising technical processes.

Two examples with a view of displacement pumps: with a test gear (medium gear size, spur-toothed, normal degree of efficiency at approximately 85% with gear oil), an increase in the degree of efficiency of approximately 4% could be measured. With a hydraulic diaphragm pump, a volumetric increase in the degree of effectiveness of up to 5% per 100 bar is possible - at 1,000 bar, this amounts to 40%. And this too is an advantage: ionic liquids release less air - they thus guarantee better suction and higher metering precision.

This has also been discussed: the increasing time pressure in the area of system planning makes it indispensable to order components such as pumps on the basis of more or less estimated parameters.

Urgent advice: as soon as there is better data, estimates and assumptions should be replaced by current values and the pump design should be checked. In addition, a system develops further and is driven later on by other operating points than at the time of its design. If deviations exceed particular limits, the design should be adapted.

Acceptance of longer amortisation times required

The initial question: Does energy efficiency offer a competitive advantage for the process industry? This can be answered clearly with a yes. And the advantage is clearer the more complete the systems and not just individual components are optimised.

The discussion brought an insight common to all industries: sustainable energy efficiency is not to be had for free. Investors must release the necessary financial means so that planners can also design and implement energy-efficiency systems for pumps with smaller output. The current amortisation times of two to three years accepted by the management of many companies are clearly too short.

Adapted ROI requirements are needed. And thus it becomes even clearer: the more complete systems and not just individual components are optimised, the more energy-efficiently a company can work.

Another insight: Anyone who offers energy-efficient systems earns 10% more in sales, but must invest 30% to 40% more effort in project work.

A pump manufacturer that sells an operator only individual pumps can clearly rejoice over better profits. However, whether he can be successful on the market in the long term with such a business model is doubtful.

Conclusion of the LEWA CEO for technology Dr Andreas Höhler, "The second Green Technologies Day showed once again: nothing can replace a personal conversation. Only the dialogue between operators and planners and not least with the world of science brings to light what is practically necessary and theoretically possible. It has also become clear to all of us: when it comes to the topic of 'energy efficiency,' it is worthwhile to look beyond one's own nose."

The ChargePoint® range of containment valves and integrated systems have established themselves as market-leading solutions for contained powder handling throughout a wide range of chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech and food manufacturing processes.

Powtech, which will take place 27-29 April in Nuremberg, Germany, is the world's largest exhibition for mechanical processing technologies, making it the ideal location for ChargePoint to display its latest technologies.

At our stand (5-448) you can discover our latest valve technology and discuss your requirements for safe powder handling with our industry experts. Our range of split valves will be available for live demonstrations and hands-on experience.

Exhibits will include:

  • ChargePoint DL - unique DiscLock™ technology containment valve and docking systems ideal for the dust-free handling of larger quantities of material with intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)
  • ChargePoint - a versatile range of containment valves for the safe transfer solid and semi-solid ingredients for a wide range of processes including pressure and vacuum rated applications
  • ChargePoint EXCEL - high-performance containment valves for high levels of operator and product protection including solutions for use within aseptic and sterile processes

Leaders in stainless steel equipment manufacturing, Allegheny Bradford Corporation, will be exhibiting at a range of trade shows across the year.

You will be able to find them at the following:

  • Interphex Mexico, 21 to 23 April 2010, booth 1313
  • Cophex Korea, 2 to 5 June 2010, booth F 512 at the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry exhibition (co-exhibit with DongJin and Top Line Process Equipment Company)
  • Interphex Asia, 7 to 8 June 2010, booth 208
  • ISPE - Boston Product Show, 7 October 2010
  • China-Pharm, 26 to 29 October 2010
  • ISPE - Annual Meeting, 7 to 10 November 2010

A&B Process Systems supplies sanitary process vessels, skidded systems and process piping to the pharmaceutical industry. A&B Process Systems has been supporting customers with sanitary process applications for over 35 years.

At this year's Interphex New York event, which will take place 20-22 April at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, US, A&B Process Systems will exhibit its products at booth 1928. Come along to the booth to find out more.

Allegheny Bradford Corporation, leading manufacturers of stainless steel equipment, will be exhibiting at Interphex 2010 in New York, US.

Interphex runs from 20 to 22 April 2010, at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre in New York.

You will be able to find Allegheny Bradford Corporation's exhibits at the following booths:

  • Allegheny Bradford Corporation – booth 2037
  • Top Line Process Equipment Company - booth 2043
  • Allegheny Surface Technology - booth 2043
  • ABC-Actini – booth 2037

The new HF8 humidity and temperature transmitters from Rotronic are ideal for fixed-installation applications requiring high-precision measurements. Based on the new advanced AirChip3000 technology, the HygroFlex8 communicates with all HygroClip2 probe types, which utilise Rotronic's time-tested sensors and are used in thousands of applications worldwide.

Precision that is tough to beat

Together with the digital HygroClip2 probes, the HygroFlex8 is one of the most versatile and precise humidity and temperature measuring instruments available on the market.

With a measurement accuracy of 0.8% RH and 0.1°C, the instruments can measure humidity ranges from 0% to 100% RH and overall temperature ranges of -100°C to 200°C depending on the type of probe being used. The latest AirChip3000 technology guarantees an automatic sensor test and drift compensation, and every probe is temperature-compensated with over 30,000 data points to maintain the highest possible accuracy over the entire measuring range.

The ultimate transmitter in flexibility and configurability

The HF8 has two probe inputs and the optional HW4 software allows users to configure the connected HygroClip2 or third-party analog probes exactly to their needs. Each HF8 has four analog outputs and four alarm relays programmable to any probe input and any probe parameter, including all psychrometric calculations such as dew point or wet-bulb. Audible and visual alarms can be activated as well. The data logging function on the HygroFlex8 allows recording of up to 20,000 data points with date and time stamp. Users can configure the logging intervals and download, store and graph the data with the HW4 software.

Completely networkable

The optional digital outputs additionally enable connection to a network via Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (POE). If the user so wishes, the HF8 can be integrated into an RS485 network and/or make multi-drop connections in which an unlimited number of devices can be connected. All this complies with FDA CFR 21 part 11 and GAMP regulatory requirements when used with the HW4 software.

The HygroFlex8 is a true 'all-in-one' device suitable for use in nearly all industrial applications - in the pharmaceutical and food industries, automotive industry, BAS/HVAC and many others.

Email Rotronic or visit their website to find out further information about the new HygroFlex8 and all about humidity and temperature measurement.

Raising the bar in the dietary supplement industry to pharmaceutical standards, Enzymatic Therapy has relied on compact vibratory screeners to optimise product quality and production while meeting growing demand.

When Enzymatic Therapy stopped outsourcing and built its own FDA-approved manufacturing facility, the goal was to improve product quality, streamline production and ramp up sales growth. Now the Green Bay, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of dietary supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) medications is one of only a select few dietary supplement manufacturers that are in full compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) established for drug manufacturing facilities. Sales have also grown along with product quality.

When a company is as committed to quality and streamlined production as Enzymatic Therapy, starting the manufacturing process off properly is critical. A crucial step was selecting the right sieving equipment to remove any agglomerates, oversize particles or contaminants from incoming raw dry materials.

"For a quality end product, we need quality from the start," says Dave Hoffman, production lead for Enzymatic Therapy. "Sieving is the first step in manufacturing for every product we make. We depend on it to break up lumps and remove any foreign materials. When some materials come out of containers, they're hard as a rock yet have to blend properly with all the other materials."

For quality assurance and maintenance reasons, the company frowned on brushes or metal rollers that pushed product through the sieve. "We wanted to avoid the possibility of brush fibres getting into product, as well as issues of chains, grease and metal debris potentially linked to metal rollers," says Hoffman. For similar reasons, they disapproved of equipment where parts could potentially vibrate loose into the product stream.

"The right sieving equipment had to meet pharmaceutical grade standards, not just those for food processing," explains Hoffman. "To minimise production downtime, all surfaces had to be cleanable. The equipment had to be quick to disassemble / reassemble, and easily portable to go where needed."

A high-capacity Finex 22™ screener

To resolve these challenges, Enzymatic Therapy chose a high-capacity Finex 22™ from Russell Finex. The first step in ensuring quality involves passing all dry materials through a 16-mesh screen to remove oversize particles. A special magnetic trap removes any submesh-sized ferrous contaminants, which can sometimes occur due to the pulverising or processing of raw materials into powder.

"While some manufacturers do ferrous metal detection at the end, in encapsulating and tabletting areas, we do it at the beginning," says Hoffman. "That way we can ensure that the raw materials are pure before continuing production. There's no sense in coating a capsule or tablet, only to find out they don't meet quality standards."

Some materials are also run through a finer 40-mesh screen to improve binding with other materials. "What emerges is a nice, uniformly blended product that'll pass lab specs, flow on production equipment, and dissolve properly for consumers," explains Hoffman. "Being proactive about sieving also minimises downtime on all our other equipment downstream."

Unlike some screeners, which have commercial hardware such as nuts and springs exposed to the material being screened, Hoffman appreciates that the Finex 22 does not, thereby eliminating the risk of hardware vibrating loose to enter the product stream. "Materials go right through the screener into containers, and there's no chance for parts to vibrate loose into product," says Hoffman.

Since the Finex 22 is crevice-free and entirely constructed from polished stainless steel including stands - all surfaces are easily cleanable. Its simple design makes it easy to strip down and clean without tools.

"There's no need for tools or a tool belt when cleaning the Russell Finex unit," says Hoffman. "We can strip one down for cleaning in 30 seconds and reassemble it just as easily so there's no wasted downtime."

As Enzymatic Therapy's business has grown with its focus on quality, production and customer value, it has purchased additional compact screeners from Russell Finex. Enzymatic Therapy now has a total of four compact screeners in applications ranging from initial ingredient dispensing to product mixing.

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