Tecniplas extends useful life of composites equipment used in paper mill by 50%
Taking into accordance corrosive fluids and high process temperatures, the new FRP up flow tower is able to operate for 15 years without need for maintenance.
With a height of 42 meters, the tower was transported in two sections and assembled in the field. All photo credit: Tecniplas
In November 2020, Tecniplas (Cabreúva, Brazil), a manufacturer of tanks and special fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) equipment, took advantage of FRP’s versatility and developed composite equipment for a paper mill, extending the equipment’s useful life by 50%.
According to Luís Gustavo Rossi, director of Tecniplas, said composite equipment was a flow tower used in the pulp bleaching process. “The customer has operated this type of equipment for a decade. However, in the last five years of use, some structural reforms were necessary, due to the high aggressiveness of the environment.” In addition to working with highly corrosive fluids, the tower operates at 70°C.
With the support of the resin manufacturer INEOS Composites (Dublin, Ohio, U.S.), Tecniplas' engineering department redid the structural calculations based on the ASME-RTP1 standard (for FRP vessels) and a 144 kilometer-per-hour wind load. With a diameter of 2,220 millimeters, the tower is 42 meters in height, with two 21-meter sections mounted in the field.
Up flow tower.
“After the first five years in operation, we verified a corrosion factor of about 1 millimeter per year,” says Rossi. Then, the company factored into the new tower’s lamination plan nine strand mats of 450 grams per square meter (g/m²) for the chemical barrier. In addition, all the equipment — liner, chemical barrier and structure — was produced with INEOS Composites’ Derakane Signia 411 vinyl ester resin.
Thanks to this new combination of raw materials, the new up flow tower is able to operate for 15 years, without the need for maintenance interruptions. “We were able to meet customer demand in a relatively simple way and 100% based on technical standards,” concludes Rossi.
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Yes, advanced forms are in development, but has the technology progressed enough to make the business case?
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.