Tempco Blog articles

Production processes innovation, IoT and AI to increase efficiency

Here’s a new Tempco Infographic dedicated to the growing adoption of IoT and Artificial Intelligence solutions within companies in the manufacturing sector, pushing innovation of the process industry toward data-driven models. Connected machines and components ‘talk’ to operators and plant managers, allowing the real time monitoring of the state of production and at the same time of the conditions of manufacturing assets.

Real-time condition monitoring of processes and production systems allows not only to maximize productivity reducing waste and errors, increasing quality using optimization models developed with AI algorithms for specific industrial applications. The data science also allows to extend the life cycle of machinery and equipments, enabling new predictive maintenance functions to increase plants’ availability and reliability, avoiding expensive production downtimes.

IoT and AI combined provide at last a transparent insight on effective energy consumes of production processes, aiming to a constant real-time improvement of energy efficiency and costs reduction within the process industry. This is also the goal of the iTempco platform, which employs IoT, analytics and cloud to maximize thermal energy efficiency and energy saving in temperature control and thermal energy management applications for production processes of all kind of industrial sectors.

 

Tempco Infographic AI IoT industrial process innovation

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Monofluid thermoregulation in pharma Group for API production

For a chemical and pharmaceutical group, we have deployed two thermoregulating units for reactors employed in the production of APIs. The two systems are combined with a chiller that provides anti-freezing solution at a temperature of -10° C, serving the cooling sections of both units.

The thermoregulating units are completely framed and have been developed to implement monofluid thermoregulation of the temperature of the reactors.

Tempco termoregolazione mofluido pharma

Tempco termoregolazione monofluido pharma

Monofluid thermoregulation is indeed a solution very widely employed within the chemical and pharma industry. Here, a unique working thermal fluid flows within an array of heat exchangers, providing the diverse temperature regulation levels for each of the production steps. The solution avoids the downtimes related to empty and load operations of different thermal fluids inside the circuit, achieving in addition very fine levels of temperature control.

The two thermoregulating units have been equipped with state of the art technological solutions, in order to obtain very high levels of precision in the control of process temperatures with tolerances of +/-1° C.

Tempco termoregolazione pharma monofluido

Tempco termoregolazione monofluido API

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Heat exchangers regeneration, it is not always necessary to replace gaskets

A question we are very often asked in Tempco is if during maintenance and regeneration operations on plate heat exchangers the gaskets have to be all replaced every time. The answer is… yes and no. Which means that sometimes the substitution is necessary, sometimes not, and it depends on the kind of application involved.

First of all let’s divide two cases, the first one being heat exchangers for heating that work using vapour. In this case, it is very likely that the exchanger will have gaskets in Ethylene-Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). This kind of gasket will result very stressed by the vapour at high temperatures. When opening the exchanger, it will be clear to see that gaskets are stressed, because EPDM has a lower elastic return coefficient than Nitrile or Vition. So that after 2 or 3 years of operations it looses the elastic return of a brand new gasket. If we don’t replace them after having washed the plates and re-assembled them, we will probably encounter leaks on the exchanger. It is then suitable to replace all of the gaskets while at it.

Otherwise, if we have a plate heat exchanger working with cold water, for example coming from a cooling tower at 30° C or from a refrigerating group, after 3 or 4 years of operations the plates will be dirt and to be washed, but gaskets will probably look as new. It is then very likely that it will be possible to keep and re-use them, especially in case of clip-on gaskets that don’t require the use of glue.

Of course, some good common sense must be used here also. If the regeneration intervention involves a huge plate heat exchanger, with for example a frame of 200 plates with a 0,4 sm surface each and nozzles with 100-150 diameters… the operation will clearly have a high cost, maybe after 4 years of operations. The cost of a replacement of the gaskets will thus have a partial impact on it too, but very much worth it if the exchanger, once washed and re-assembled with the old gaskets still on it and not replaced, will start leaking.

The tip is then to ask experts to have a look on it, which means that in Tempco when we open a plate heat exchanger, we prepare a proposal for the customer that includes the cost of new gaskets, even splitted. And then contacting the customer telling him if it’s better to effectively replace them or, otherwise, if the old gaskets can undergo a further working cycle.

 

 

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Refrigerating groups for production of dialysis plants components

Last month we’ve tested a special refrigerating group developed for production lines of tubes to be employed in dialysis plants manufactured by a pharma company.
The tubes for dialysis systems require a very delicate and sophisticated production process, due to the fact that they are employed for blood transport. The tubes are in particular employed with a peristaltic pump, being squeezed in order to pump the blood.

Mechanical and elastic characteristics of the tubes are therefore fundamental, ensuring they are smooth and flexible but at the same time very much resistant.

Tempco produzione tubi dialisi

The system we’ve supplied is a first equipment prototipe that produces a refrigerated air flow at a controlled temperature down to -15° C, with precisions of +/- 0,5° C. The refrigerated air is employed in a patented process which allows to obtain a suitable modification of the dialysis tube.

Previously, the manufacturer employed a venturi effect cooling system, but it failed in obtaining the necessary effect. The results of the test phase of the new refrigerating group totally satisfied the customer, eventually leading to the decision to implement these equipments in all its production lines installed in its facilities globally.

Tempco gruppo frigorifero tubo dialisi

Tempco gruppo frigorifero dialisi

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How shell and tube exchangers are made and their applications

Shell and tube exchangers represent the history of thermal transfer, being the first ones that have been employed for cooling applications both in industry and conditioning.

There are several types of shell and tube heat exchangers, cleanable straight pipes exchangers, U tube bundle exchangers, multiple and mono passage exchangers and with floating heads.

Each typology has its own advantages and limits. The kind we use the most is the cleanable straight pipe exchanger: in this kind of equipment the two heads can be dismantled showing the straight tubes where the fluid flows, going from one head to the other. Being straight, they can be easily cleaned using a pipe cleaner, taking away the dirt and scaling. The diameter of the tubes depends on the kind of fluid to be treated, on the type of thermal transfer and process. These are usually welded exchangers, so that the tube bundle cannot be extracted. The clean fluid flows therefore inside the shell.

This kind of exchangers is commonly employed in cogeneration, for exhaust recovery on engines. The exhaust fumes flow inside the pipes, that are then cleaned. Another application is in the biogas sector, for biogas dehumidification. The biogas flows inside the tubes, while water glycol flows on the outside, within the shell.

Furthermore they are used for hot water production from vapour. Water flows inside the tubes and the vapour flows within the shell, heating the water that comes out at a higher temperature.

The limits of straight pipe cleanable shell and tube exchangers is related to their length, so that if long thermal transfers with long thermal gaps are required it is necessary to install multiple exchangers in series. The passage in series is possible, but in this case the construction of the heads becomes much more complicated.

The other classic typology is the U tube bundle exchangers. This kind of shell and tube exchanger has a bundle of U shaped pipes, welded upon a unique head. In this case, the section that can be cleaned is the shell, thus the external one, because the pipe bundle can be extracted. The pipes cannot be cleaned instead, because the curve cannot be reached using a pipe cleaner.

The dirty fluid usually flows inside the shell, even if when having bundles with a high amount of pipes, and very packed, cleaning operations can become very difficult to achieve.

This kind of exchanger allows to better leverage the thermal length, because here the thermal length of pipes doubles the overall length of the exchanger.

In terms of construction materials, shell and tube heat exchangers can employ mostly every kind of materials, from stainless steel to copper and iron. The selection depends on the kind of fluid to be treated, on the kind of process and the temperatures involved.

 

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Cooling water distribution circuit optimization project

As a follow up to our past august’s intervention for the complete regenaration of heat exchangers for a customer that manufactures plastics for the manufacturing sector, the company contacted us again asking for a re-engineering and update of their cooling plant for the production lines.

The messy growth on the facility during the years has generated indeed a series of great issues within the cooling water distribution circuit.

Tempco distribuzione acqua raffreddamento

utenze acqua raffreddamento granulo plastica

 

After a preliminary study, the customer accepted the proposal we’ve deployed in modular steps, divided by areas of problems. The aim is not to generate production downtimes, thus implementing the intervention in a non invasive way in order to ensure operations continuity. The intervention schedule will therefore follow these three steps:

  1. Intervention to solve water distribution problems
  2. Once the water will be properly supplied to all of the utilities, analysis of temperatures required and fulfillment of them, in order to implement wherever is necessary new cooling solutions or proceeding with a boosting of the existing ones
  3. Energy efficiency increase of existing utilities

 

Tempco impianto raffreddamento plastica

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Chocolate pattern on plates of heat exchangers

Let’s talk about Chocolate pattern, which in our sector means talking about plate heat exchangers. One of the mostly asked questions we receive is what is the best configuration of the connections distribution on plate heat exchangers.

Plate heat exchangers of latest generation have for the majority parallel connections, which means primary fluid on the right and secondary fluid on the left, or viceversa. Since a few years ago there were also exchangers with crossed connections. We are then very often asked if crossed connections, on the perspective of the distribution of the fluid within the plate, is not better than parallel ones.

In fact it can be natural to think crossed connections are better than parallel ones, when looking at the design of a plate and at how plate heat exchangers do work. Just because, especially with large sized plates and maybe with lower flow rates of the fluids, the distribution doesn’t happen on the overall thermal transfer surface of the plate but only on the side where connections are.

Clearly, having crossed connections it doesn’t happen, because the fluid gets automatically distributed upon the whole surface of the plate.

This kind of implication has been studied indeed, leading to the famous Chocolate pattern design. Looking carefully to photographs of the triangular area between the nozzles, it is possible to observe a very peculiar design that reminds the one of chocolate bars, from which it gets its name. This system has been designed and engineered in order to allow a uniform distribution of the fluid upon the whole surface of the plate.

Looking with further attention, one can see that the channels that distribute the fluid upon the whole width of the plate have differentiated passage sections. This allows to foster the correct distribution of the fluid upon the whole width of the thermal transfer surface. And finally, see also how this kind of distribution design is equally applied to small size plates.

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Enhancing Industry, temperature and automation – Infographic

The growing adoption of robotic automation systems within the industrial sector increases the efficiency in production processes. The Tempco Infographic we are presenting here showcases a reached value of 62,75 billion of dollars in 2020 for the worldwide robotics market, with an interesting growth trend for collaborative robots, or cobots, which enable the safe interaction without protection fences between humans and robots in any kind of industrial application.

The concept of efficiency in the enhancement path of industry is a cornerstone here, establishing a strong connection between the world of industrial automation and Tempco, committed in the development of solutions for temperature control in industrial processes aimed to implement energy efficiency approaches and savings on energy consumption.

The implementation of robots and automated systems increases the efficiency of production processes, enabling a more smart and efficient employ of resources, evolving at the same time working methods and human skills, placing operators at the core of the Industry 4.0 transformation. Energy, and thermal energy in particular, is therefore one of the most precious resources to safeguard, by adopting waste reduction approaches but also leveraging energy recovery.

Cooling, heating and thermoregulation are strongly linked to the robots sector, where a number of Tempco solutions provide the temperature control and hydraulic oil cooling in order to ensure excellent operational conditions of actuators and motion control devices of robots and automation systems along the production lines.

In a growing market of robotics, which lead to a constant improving of efficiency toward a more smart and sustainable industrial production built upon a more responsible employ of energy.

Info_enhancing-industry

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After cooler and jackets cooling in power generation engines

Following the administration last year of the Covrad company, a historical manufacturer of cooling systems and heat transfer equipment based in Coventry, UK, recently in Tempo we have received several requests from manufacturers that are looking for similar solutions to those once supplied by the British company.

Tempco engine cooling Covrad

In particular, the company used to provide thermal modules to be combined with power generation groups for cooling of jackets and after coolers, radiators, heat exchangers, engine cooling modules and remote cooling kits in a near-to monopoly regime of the market.

Since a few months now, in Tempco we are therefore working to develop similar solutions to those that Covrad provided since last year, opening the opportunity to offer systems aimed for this kind of application. Three first projects are already being defined, in an advanced engineering step in order to further optimize the construction and quotation of the solutions.

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TCOIL dimple jacket exchangers for contact cooling of batteries

Another interesting use of TCOIL dimple jacket exchangers, of which we often talk about for immersion cooling applications, is using them for contact cooling applications, as if they were a jacket. A very interesting characteristic of TCOIL exchangers is in fact the capacity to be shaped to fit the shape of the equipment to be thermoregulated.

It is then possible to use TCOIL dimple jacket exchangers for application on the outside of equipments employed in the chemical industry, such as mixers and reactors, or generally on the outside of tanks or furthermore on the outside of electric batteries. The metal sheets of the plates of a TCOIL exchanger are in fact easily made into a cylindrical shape, to fit the shape of cylindrical objects to be cooled or heated. Otherwise, it is also possible to use flat plates to cover the external surface of a machinery.

 

In order to increase the thermal transfer efficiency of a TCOIL exchanger in contact cooling applications, it is therefore necessary to have a flat sheet on the side at direct contact with the equipment. This is achieved using metal sheets having different thickness. When inflating the plates of the TCOIL exchanger, only the external sheet with lower thickness will blow up, taking the typical dimpled look of a TCOIL exchanger, while the internal side with greater thickness, aimed for direct contact with the object to be cooled or heated, will remain flat.

A further trick to increase even more the thermal transfer rate in TCOIL exchangers contact cooling applications is to rub a thermal conductive paste on the flat side aimed for direct contact with the outside of the equipment to be thermoregulated.

This kind of contact cooling application of TCOIL dimple jacket exchangers is triggering a high interest for employ in electric battery cooling, as well as for cooling of electrical and electronics machinery that clearly cannot be cooled using a direct flow of cold water.

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