Crystallizers – Enhancing industrial processes through controlled crystallization

We have previously talked about crystallizers and their role in various industries (read the blog post here) and explained briefly how Altum’s solution can help optimize their operation. Just like various other equipment, crystallizers can suffer from scaling and fouling: scaling can occur during the crystallization process when crystals stick to the surfaces of equipment, reducing heat transfer efficiency and hindering overall performance, not allowing the crystallizer to work up to its full potential. The removal of this scaling in turn can cause shutdowns and stability issues in the process. Altum Technologies’ ZPD (Zero Process Downtime) solution can help solve these issues.

In this blog post we will discuss results we’ve achieved with our solution installed on a nickel sulfate crystallizer: what did we do, why, and what did we achieve?

Objective: Decreasing Unnecessary Downtime

The issue in this case was a common one: due to scaling issues in a nickel sulfate crystallizer, the process had to be stopped every five days to wash the crystallizer with hot water. This process took approximately one day per stop, leading up to over 70 days of lost production annually. The crystallizer formed a clear bottleneck in the process: when it was not able to receive the process liquid, it had to be run back to the previous process stage. If the crystallizer was out of order due to, for example, a washing period or reduced capacity caused by fouling, some batches were even lost completely. The goal was to lengthen the production cycle and reduce maintenance stops by preventing scaling.

Solution: Using Ultrasound to Prevent Scaling

Altum’s multichannel solution was installed on the crystallizer. Like always with our solution, the installation was done based on the customer needs and the equipment targeted. In the nickel sulfate crystallization process, Altum’s solution works by sonicating the location prone to fouling with ultrasound. It affects scaling locally by preventing it with microscopic vibrations at the inner surface of the equipment to detach the foulant. This is done with low power and with multiple channels to ensure an even ultrasonic field and vibration. With Altum’s solution, this vibration is precise and software-guided to ensure equipment safety and the best possible results.

Results: Benefits from Increased Uptime

The results from this installation were measured in the time the crystallizer was able to operate between maintenance breaks: the increase in the production cycle duration was 100%, from 5 to 10 days. This substantial increase adds up to approximately 35 more annual operation days for the crystallizer, and increased uptime enables the process to create approximately 1100 tons more end product per year. Improvement in the production cycle duration creates a substantial financial benefit, leading to an added revenue of over a million.

In addition to this, multiple other benefits were received from:

  • less maintenance: safety and savings in maintenance costs,
  • decreased energy use: clean equipment takes up less energy and makes the process more stable and predictable through increased availability, and
  • higher quality of the end product due to longer crystallization periods.

Overall, with Altum’s solution:

  • 100% increase in operation running time.
  • 1100 tons increase in end product amount annually.
  • Added revenue of over 1,5 million.
  • Decreased emissions and energy consumption.
  • A safer, more stable, and predictable process.

Want to find out how you can reach similar results while making your process more sustainable and environmentally friendly? Don’t hesitate to contact us!