We’ve just completed an interesting supply in the biotechnology sector, for a manufacturer of fermenters, bioreactors, FTT (tangential flow filtration) and bioprocessing systems. Aimed for thermostatation of his equipments, the customer selected our brazed plate heat exchangers Tempco T PLATE B, in a special version with tri-clamp fittings suitable for applications in pharma production.
Tri-clamp fitting is very common and classic connection type on pharma and food processes, due to the fact that they allow easy connection in assembly and disassembly operations of equipments. At the same time, they prevent pressure drops and ensure easy cleaning operations, without gaps where sediments and production waste could deposit, leading to bacteria growth. Products are in direct contact with stainless steel, and with a gasket which is FDA compliant, suitable for contact with food and drugs.
We supply the same kind of fitting also on heat exchangers employed in beer production, wine and beverages in general. Similar brazed plate exchangers and thermoregulating units are also employed by another Tempco customer, who use them on his pharma equipments thus requiring the same kind of execution.
In the video, you can see a more in depth explanation of the project we deployed for the Marina di Loano seaport, in the Liguria Region. The direct immersion of dimple jacket exchangers in the seawater allowed to eliminate almost completely the pumping and suction systems of seawater that previously served traditional heat exchangers. The exchangers serve in turn a network of heat pumps, distributed all over the wide area of the seaport. The cut of electricity consumes have thus been really interesting.
TCOIL exchangers have been realized using a special material, super-duplex stainless steel, in order to ensure corrosion resistance against chlorides in the brackish water. After two years of operations by immersion, the exchangers naturally showed a certain level of biological and organic growth on the surfaces. That’s the reason why a special support structure has been designed, equipped with lifting hooks allowing to pull out the exchangers from the seaport to proceed with cleaning and washing operations using a pressure washer. This operation is much more easy with this kind of exchangers, compared to traditional heat exchangers, and doesn’t require any specific expertise thanks to the high mechanical resistance of TCOIL exchangers.
Furthermore, the video also tells about another similar installation we did in Tempco, for the Ispra Research center of the European Commission. Here, TCOIL exchangers have been immersed inside the water of an artificial drain, using its water to feed heat pumps. Fresh water entails here less material problems, which was here AISI 316. Anyway, the customer wanted an electropolished stainless steel, a special finishing that reduces the deposition and growth of algae and other organisms above the exchangers surfaces, reducing the maintenance needs.
At last, there is also a quick mention of another very interesting application of TCOIL immersion cooling exchangers, having a huge potential. That is the liquid cooling of data centers, of servers and electronic equipments. In this sector is indeed possible as well to take advantage of these exchangers by direct immersion in cold water, providing the cooling of IT devices.
Commissioning completed last January of a very special thermoregulating unit, for implementation by the Italian Abete company within an innovative concept of a variable flow lubricating oil pump for the DEVILS Project, supported by EU Horizon2020 funds.
This is a very important project aimed to develop a new oil lubrication and heat management system in a VHBE (Very High Bypass Engine) Turbofan, realized by Rolls Royce for future aircraft applications offering high efficiency levels and reduced fuel consumption.
A Turbofan, or fanjet, is a special kind of air breathing jet engine that combines a gas turbine engine and a ducted fan employed in aircraft propulsion, which uses two separated air flows, a cold one and a hot one. Indeed, while in a turbojet all the air taken in passes through the combustion chamber of a turbine, in a turbofan some of the air bypasses it. The ratio of the mass-flow of air that bypasses the engine core divided by the mass-flow of air passing through it is called bypass ratio. A high bypass ratio thus entails lower consumes and reduced noise levels.
Model of gas turbine engine airplane in the section
The DEVILS (Development of VHBR Engines Innovative Lubrication System) project is then intended to develop an innovative oil lubrication system for Turbofans. This kind of engine presents indeed some challenging tasks to the oil lubrication and heat management systems, because the latest trends of developing aircraft engines that consumes less fuel involve higher speeds, loads and temperatures, due to the integration of high-power gearboxes (allowing high bypass ratio) and high-power starter-generators.
The diathermic oil thermoregulating unit we engineered in Tempco is integrated in the production line and stress testing of the special variable flow lubricating oil pump by Abete. This is a unit designed to work with diathermic oil at high temperatures, up to 300° C, with PID regulation of the temperature control and management through static relais. Likewise all of the similar applications we supply in this field, the unit is equipped with a magnetic drive pump and special components and fittings suitable for continuous operations at such challenging conditions.
The cooling section has a double purpose:
Temperature retention for thermal drift compensation
Final cooling at the end of the operations
The unit is equipped with a special heat exchanger able to withstand high thermal shocks.
Beyond Abete and Rolls Royce as end user, the DEVILS Project also sees the contribution of other important companies from the Campania Region: the leading Euro.Soft, which is to deploy all of the avionic controls, and Protom, in collaboration with the Engines Institute of the CNR of Naples and the Industrial engineering department of the Federico II University, as well as the Israeli company TAT. Objective of DEVILS project is as well to research, implement and validate smart fault detection and health monitoring algorithms to assist the system in reducing oil low flow rate needs and allowing advanced functions for predictive maintenance.
During the summer break, last August, we completely renewed all of the heat exchangers installed within the production plant of a multinational manufacturer of plastic material grains.
The exchangers were really in bad conditions, and the regeneration intervention has been complete and massive, involving the cleaning and re-gasketing of more than 200 free flow plates and 200 traditional plates, having a thermal transfer surface from 0,4 to 0,3 square meters each.
After the cleaning of the plates, with the removal of limescale, we proceeded with the test with penetrating liquids, represented here in these pictures with plates under a blu-purple light. This is a crucial step in order to identify all the cracks along the plates (appearing in brighter light).
The regeneration then also involved the frames of the exchangers, with the renewal of nozzles and related coatings.
The intervention had to be done in a very narrow time span. The customer, indeed, after a slowdown of the production during the lockdown period, had to be ready for the restart. We succeeded in respecting his requests, and all the maintenance and regeneration work has been made during two weeks in August. Everything was then ready for the restart of the production, which has been hectic.
An extremely fine and precise regulation of the temperature is a fundamental requirement within the production of chocolate. Chocolate production plants are very sophisticated ones, and in Tempco we have supplied really a lot of different machinery and solutions for the several production steps involved, from conching to refining, through molding and packaging, covering in fact almost the entire production cycle.
The control of temperature is in fact a crucial need in every step of chocolate production. That typical characteristic, which in advertisings is called ‘smoothness’, being that sensation of chocolate melting in mouth and leaving a more or less sweet taste, depending on personal preferences… well, this effect is strictly related on the accuracy on the treatment of chocolate, both in its mechanical processing and the temperature regulation.
Temperature control starts with the conching phase, one of the most delicate production steps aimed to transform chocolate from solid and gritty to smooth and silky. This process employs mono-fluid systems similar to the ones that are used in the pharma industry. In fact, there is a couple of heat exchangers with cooling and heating fluids, aimed to maintain a constant temperature within the conche machine.
Another crucial step, from the point of view of temperature control, is the refining step. Here, the main requirement in related to cooling. And straight forward to the molding of chocolate. That typical glossy look of a chocolate bar, with that precise pattern divided in small squares, is also obtained thanks to a very accurate temperature regulation of the mold where the chocolate is poured.
During this time of the year we usually receive many service and maintenance requests for the complete regeneration and revamping of plate heat exchangers. In this case, inspectable type heat exchangers offer the possibility to be opened to proceed with washing and cleaning operations and the inspection of all the parts, in addition to the possibility of an upgrade of the thermal performances.
Very often heat exchangers that come for a revamping are in quite disastrous conditions, after years of functioning. First of all, we open the exchanger in order to inspect the wear status of tie-rods, port linings and gaskets. While doing a complete regeneration of exchangers, we usually suggest customers a complete replacement of the gaskets with a full kit of brand new ones, even if the operation is expensive and invasive, but it is suitable while doing the washing of the plates.
Another operation we usually do, once the plates have been washed and cleaned, is to undergo plates at 100% with an integrity testing using penetrating liquids. It allows to ensure that plates have no micro-holes or hairlines cracks. These could be caused by corrosion, revealing a serious problem of incompatibility of the fluids with the construction material of the plates, or even due to erosion or engendered by a wrong tightening made by the end user. Once the exchanger is reassembled it is indeed complicated to search for possible leaks or mixing.
And so, washing of plates, penetrating liquids test and potential discharge of damaged plates. These operations allow to understand if there is any issue of compatibility between the fluids circulating within the exchanger and the material of the plates, alerting the customer.
The exchanger is then re-gasketed, using brand new gaskets, and also potentially damaged port lining – in case of flanged exchangers – and threaded connection ports are replaced. The exchanger is then reassembled, with the attention of replacing the tie-rods, or at least to clean the existing ones. The exchanger gets tightened with the right level, and undergoes a pressure test, aimed to ensure that the two circuits are correctly sealed with no leaks within the exchanger.
Once the pressure test is completed, the plate heat exchanger is ready to be dispatched to the customer. A new label is placed, reporting the date of the revision and complete with all the codes that identify the provided operations.
At last, a further operation we usually offer is to ask the customer if he needs to upgrade the performances of the exchanger in order to meet new requirements of his plant. Is it possible indeed to expand the exchanger, or to make some variations to the design of the plates, giving in fact a brand new life to the plate heat exchanger.
Happy New Year and a good start 2021 to everyone!
During this past Christmas holidays pause, in Tempco we’ve fulfilled a revamping intervention on the interfacing heat exchanger employed for the temperature regulation of reactors in the production plant of a customer in the life science and pharma sector.
The customer contacted us after more than 15 years of non-stop operations of the plate heat exchanger, contributing to the correct temperature regulation in the production of APIs. The intervention involved the complete regeneration as new of the plates in the heat exchanger.
In addition, in order to fit the new production needs of the customer, we’ve also ensured an increase of the thermal exchange surface of the heat exchanger, which in this kind of thermal machine is possible by simply adding further plates to the exchanger.
This 2020 is turning to an end, and every year during this period we are committed to find a special phrase for an emotional email, to be sent to a list of people who collaborated and collaborate with us.
This year I wanted to do something different. I thought about making a video, similar to the ones we are currently using to maintain our social relations.
While preparing this video, I asked myself what this New 2021 will bring to us. And I’m sure there will be a huge increase in artificial intelligence applications, employed for control and monitoring of industrial plants. Everyone speaks about Industry 4.0, but in the utilities sector, in which Tempco operates, this is something that still struggles taking off.
Well, I believe that in 2021 we will see an increase in these applications, for the control and monitoring of performances of industrial plants, with a fundamental goal, the smart management of energy. I do believe there will be a growth in smart monitoring systems that allow to use energy only when it is necessary, and only in the right amount that is needed.
I believe this could be our mission for the New Year. I wish you all then a Happy Holidays Season and a Happy 2021!
The accident occurred to Grosjean in a recent Formula 1 Grand Prix prompted me for an interesting more in-depth reading. Eventually also related to the relevance of the control of temperatures required for the manufacturing of today’s safety fiber carbon structures.
Looking at the pictures of the fiber carbon car body after the accident, I suddenly remembered some older accidents that involved in the past other drivers such as Ronnie Peterson in Monza, or also Ayrton Senna and Alex Zanardi. Sadly deployed in really much more serious consequences compared to Grosjean, who will be probably able yet to participate at the next Grand Prix.
A very huge step forward in the safety within F1 is of course due to the driver crash-protection system (Halo) employed in today’s cars, which offers an extreme toughness. So I stumbled upon a very interesting interview to the AD of Dallara, the company that has the exclusive for the manufacturing of carbon fiber chassis of Formula Indy. In the video the AD explains how each and every single carbon fiber ensures the dissipation of energy generated by a possible accident, that otherwise would be discharged directly on the driver, causing fractures and damages to internal organs too.
Then I’ve realized that, with our small contribution, in Tempco we also do our part because we supplied a cooling and fine temperature regulation of furnaces employed for the processing of carbon fiber structures. The application required the thermoregulation and cooling of the furnace, in order to avoid temperatures to exceed upper limit levels.
This is a kind of cooling toward the bottom, then similar to another application we deployed for the cooling and fine thermoregulation of furnaces employed for the production of carbon ceramic brakes, also employed in high-performance cars and airplanes. A crucial step in the production of these special brakes, both for preparing them to further mechanical processing and to guarantee the high mechanical characteristics that define their perfect functionality.
Delivery of a second refrigeration unit for extremely low temperatures for a Swiss customer operating in the pharma sector. The application involves the cooling of pharma reactors employed for the production of APIs, requiring cooling at near-cryogenic temperatures, -25° C. The new plant has been supplied following the success of a first installation made a couple of years ago at the same customer’s facility.
The customer increased indeed by 50% the production capacity of the pilot line, and thus asked us to increase its overall capacity with an additional similar solution, offering half the cooling capacity.
This is therefore a solution employing air condensed chillers, able to achieve cooling at temperatures of -30° C. Full stainless steel execution with special insulation suitable for extremely low temperatures. Automatic condensate regulation in order ensure maximum efficiency and availability through the whole year, avoiding the risk of unwanted downtimes.
We’ve accepted the challenge and fulfilled the request, even though respecting the limitations imposed by the current regulations on refrigerant gases.