Learn Online about Automatic Filtration Technologies

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The days away at a conference and travel for work remain curtailed in 2021. Yet, you can still learn online. I’ve partnered with the American Filtration and Separations (AFS) Society to offer a short course March 16. Automatic Filtration Technologies for the Chemical Process Industries draws on my decades experience. I hope you’ll join me!

The AFS course presented live online on Tuesday, March 16, from 9am to 11am CST (UTC -6), will cover automatic technologies designed to help alleviate potential process problems and operator safety concerns.

Relaying my first-hand experience with manual filtration solutions, such as plate filters, bag filters, and filter presses, and making the case for automatic filtration solutions, the course will cover:

  • Process problems related to conventional manual filtration equipment
  • Basics of filtration testing
  • Automatic filtration technologies:  candle filters and plate filters
  • Filter media
  • Filter aids
  • Three case histories from manual filtration equipment to improved automatic filtration systems 

I’ll be targeting my discussion to an audience of process, production, plant and project engineers, safety and reliability engineers, and operations and maintenance staff. If that’s you, please sign up for the course!

Automatic Filtration Technology Explained

With over 38 years of technical engineering and business marketing experience in the field of solid-liquid separation including filtration, centrifugation, and process drying, I’ve published and presented extensively worldwide on applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy/environmental industries. You can also gain some insights into automatic filtration technology in my Solid Liquid Filtration Handbook. And keep an eye out for a second book I’m editing for Elsevier, Integration & Optimization of Unit Operations, to be published in 2022.

During the course, I’ll also share case studies illustrating existing problems and the improvements experienced with automation filtration. Ultimately, I want you to leave my course understanding process problems. Especially related to conventional filtration equipment and the value of testing for and installing the best candle or plate filter. The actual case histories exploring real life process problems help drive the lessons home.

Go ahead and register! I look forward to an interesting online discussion of filter tech in CPI. If you can’t make the course, please know I’m available to work on your chemical process industry and automation filtration technology concerns here at P&ID too.

Project Planning Success Factors & Yoga

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Researchers often examine project planning success factors. Everyone wants to know how to run a successful project. Decision-making, budgets, schedules, startup and troubleshooting all matter of course. To me though the most important factor is planning. Now, the question is, how does that relate to yoga?
As most of my readers know, I practice yoga routinely, at least 3 times per week or more, depending on where I am in the world. This article intertwines my yoga practice with essential project planning success factors. I hope the discussion will help you.
Sun Tzu dedicated the first chapter of “The Art of War” to assessing the situation, planning, and decision-making.  A plan does not guarantee success, but having a plan will help. Yet there are other key factors to consider.

Project Planning Success Factors

Preplanning objectives.

One important factor of project planning success is preplanning the objectives. Project goals are defined in this step. For filtration process engineers sample objectives might be increased production, improved quality, or debottlenecking. This establishes the high level vision for the project.
Similarly, in yoga, you have to take a moment to set an objective. In yoga, every practice starts with an intention. Your intention can be patience, breathing, calmness, etc.  

Gathering technical input.

After preplanning, the project team will identify the key people needed for project success. This could include engineers, technicians, and operators. Gathering technical input will include soliciting necessary expertise in electrical, mechanical, and construction areas of the project. 
A yoga practice has a similar information gathering phase. There are many types of practices (vinyasa, Baptiste Power, ashtanga, etc.) temperatures, yogis, and studios.  Finding the right one for you is key to the success of the practice.

Optimizing information.

Having gathered information and expertise, it’s time to optimize information through data collection and goal alignment. In this phase, the work begins in earnest to identify vendors, conduct test work, obtain quotes, drawings, P & IDs and more.  With this optimized information the goals and milestones can be defined such as energy savings, improved quality, debottlenecking or a new process development.  
In yoga, I would call this the discipline and focus phase of your practice.  Others may say that this is the process of yoga.  

Scrutinizing Scope.

In the beginning of the project, the scope may not be well defined. There may not be a set budget.  Now, though, the project enters value-engineering. The scope and financials must be scrutinized to develop more cost-effective alternatives.  
We might relate this need for financial adaptability to the flexibility you’re achieving with yoga. Yoga helps your body to become more flexible. 

Finalizing Good Decisions.

The project eventually must freeze the design. This can be one of the more difficult phases. Finalizing decisions may lead to disappointments. However, for an on-time and within budget project, this is the sine qua non of the work.
This is comparable to the discipline both required by and gained during yoga. Yoga isn’t something you do one time to reach your physical goals. Nor is business something you do for an hour a day or just once a week to be successful. Both take practice and discipline.

Better Business & Yoga

Summarizing, business and yoga are more intertwined than one might think. It doesn’t hurt that yoga can also help you relieve the stress or project planning. With yoga you can calm the mind of your life and business worries. Yoga seeks Upeksanam, which means equanimity, a ”mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situations.”
Do you practice yoga? How does it impact your business and project planning success? I’m a big believer that the two together can provide a framework for productivity, efficiency and personal and business growth. 

business consulting

Business Consulting Takes Me into New Year

business consulting
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It’s 2021. A new year! Many of us look at the arrival of January on the calendar as a time to make changes. I look at it as a time to reflect. This year, it’s also an opportunity to anticipate a new chapter in my career.

After 20 years at BHS, I am transitioning in December 2020 to start my own business consulting company, P&ID, PERLMUTTER IDEA DEVELOPMENT LLC. Tom Adams, after 19 years with De Dietrich Process Systems, joined BHS as its new President & Managing Director. 

Of course, I couldn’t quite cut all ties. In addition to P&ID, I will continue to consult for BHS over the next year. So, you can continue to contact me via BHS.

Reflecting on Time at BHS

Looking back  on my time with BHS, and the many worldwide customers I had the pleasure of assisting over the years, I am truly grateful to every one of you who allowed me to assist you year after year. Through hard work and long hours, I met a personal goal to make every contact with you an informative and productive experience.

We built relationships, and more importantly friendships, over all these years. These relationships kept me striving to make sure you receive the best possible service from BHS, whether it was your first PLF test, first purchase or repeat purchase.

Business Consulting for New Ideas & Innovation

Regular readers of my blog know how enthusiastic I am about innovation and creativity. Well, my new business venture will embody that spirit. My consulting company,  Perlmutter Idea Development (P&ID), will work with both business clients for sales and marketing strategies and operating companies with solid-liquid separation needs as well as process development needs with industry partners.

Drawing on my breadth of experience at BHS and beforehand, as well as relying on the network of experts I have cultivated over my nearly four decades in business, I will focus on providing the business and process development, leadership, technical or sales and marketing support you deserve. 

And don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my thoughts via my blogging. Plus, you can continue to follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Don’t think of this as goodbye; it’s more a change of address. I look forward to staying in touch and doing all I can to support you with my new venture.

mixing and drying technology

Mixing Drying Technology Across Industries

mixing and drying technologyLast year, BHS announced its acquisition of AVA-GmbH company and its mixing, drying technology. Combining our engineering expertise and project management know-how helps us both better provide a full process solution including mixing-reacting-filtration-cake washing-dewatering and final bone-dry powder. It’s been a year, so let’s now take a look at the different industry application for AVA dryers.
The AVA dryer technology handles mixing, drying, reacting, granulating, sterilizing, evaporating, humidifying, and homogenizing. The tech is batch and continuous, vertical-conical and horizontal for atmospheric and vacuum mixing and drying operations.
mixing and drying technology
In the pharmaceutical  industry, the AVA mixers and dryers have uniform heat transfer and drying for temperature sensitive APIs without crystal breakage. The horizontal designs homogenize and dry with very short residence times taking advantage of the  AVA back-mixing techniques. For vertical designs, the agitator is heated and sealed with dry-running mechanical seals. These applications benefit also from:

  • Validated PLC control systems with CIP 
  • Complete discharge without residual product for batch-to-batch integrity
  • Easy handling of pasty and poor-flowing products 

The agricultural chemical industry can also benefit from consistent product quality with CIP and complete discharge without residual product. The AVA mixers and dryers have uniform heat transfer and drying for bulk material products. Integrated dust filters are included. In the vertical designs, the agitator is heated and sealed with dry-running mechanical seals. 
Similarly, end users in the fine and specialty chemical industry, can rely on AVA mixers and dryers for uniform heat transfer and drying for bulk material products. The horizontal ploughshare and paddle drying designs homogenize and mix/dry with very short residence times. Taking advantage of the  AVA back-mixing and turbulent-mixing techniques allows for pasty and poor-flowing products processing.  High-density blending and granulation are also typical operations.  

More Markets for Mixing and Drying Technology

In the environmental market, horizontal ploughshare and paddle drying designs homogenize and mix/dry with very short residence times. AVA’s back-mixing and turbulent-mixing techniques allow for the processing of hazardous and combustible waste as well as mixing of dewatered cake and dehydrated pellets at municipal wastewater sludge drying facilities.  
The metals market is another primary user of AVA mixing and drying technology. The horizontal ploughshare and paddle drying designs offer the benefits already outlined. Meanwhile, the vertical agitated cone mixer is intended for mixing of free flowing bulk goods within a wide range of particle sizes. The units are equipped with a spraying system used for spray coating of materials.   
In the metals industry, high-density blending and granulation are also typical operations with AVA tech.  Metals include phosphorus, lithium, anode and cathode pastes and pyrolysis reactions at high processing temperatures, up to 650 degrees C, and drying of single lithium components as well as their precursors, to obtain the required dryness or chemical reactions.
Whatever your industry. the choice of vertical or horizontal designs for batch or continuous operations requires careful analysis of the process and the bulk material. AVA mixing and drying technology is adapted exactly to your respective requirements and raw material properties. At the AVA technical center, each individual application can be tested on horizontal and vertical systems to decide upon the best possible configuration. 
You can rely on AVA mixers and dryers along with BHS-Sonthofen many years of process know-how and continuous product development to optimize your full process solution. The goal is to accomplish as many processes as possible in one unit in order to minimize investment and process costs. Learn more today!

Know Your Options for Particle Fine Removal

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Process engineers struggle to clarify process liquids. Particle fine removal is part of the ongoing battle. But there are ways to automate the clarification processes to improve filtration and minimize operator exposure. The cake solid’s structure and the nature of the process will determine which types of pressure-filtration automated clarification technologies are best for you.
Before we discuss removal of particle fines, let’s discuss how they are generated.  Tom Blackwood, in his Chemical Processing article, Fend Off Fine Particle Frustrations, talks about two main areas for fines generation.  First, the problem can start in the particle formation step (crystallization, reaction or extraction). Excess supersaturation or the lack of nucleation control can allow fine particles to persist through the process.  
Next, upstream processing can lead to particle fines through attrition. Attrition can occur in centrifugation, drying, conveying and storage. Tom has even seen attrition in liquid/liquid separation processes where crystals have formed due to the immiscibility of the chemical in a solvent. Centrifuges are a common source of attrition due to their filtration and discharge mechanism via the solids hitting the cloth or solid surface due to a poorly designed inlet.

Particle Fine Removal Approaches

How can pesky particle fines be removed? Throughout my career in the solid-liquid separation market space, I have seen some interesting solutions. At one melamine resin facility, the slurry was in a formaldehyde process. The operators were wearing masks and opening up a manual plate filter in a room with residential floor fans to dig out the cake from the paper filter media.
In another case for zeolites, the client had multiple bag filters to clarify the filtrates following a vacuum belt filter. When the filtrates, the final product, remained cloudy, to my surprise, the client decided to add another set of bag filters!
There are better ways! Engineers have many choices to automate the particle fine removal process. This might involve candle filters, pressure plate filters, or sintered metal filters. Each type has its place. With testing and careful evaluation, engineers can make the correct choice. 
Candle filters, for instance, are best suited for filter cakes that are vertically stable. Pressure plate filters are used for filtration of cakes up to 75 mm thick. Sintered metal cartridges are used for high temperature applications greater than 200 degrees Celsius where the solids are well-defined hard crystalline shaped. But there’s so much more to know about these options, check out what I’ve written about these in the past.
In the meantime, I’ll tell you filter aids are generally the last resort. Filter aid improves filtration, but there’s more work involved. 
Finding the right approach to particle fine removal is going to take into consideration cake structure and thickness, filtration pressure, filter media and more. At least with automated clarification technologies the process can be a little easier once you find the best choice for your needs.