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Danfoss Inverter - Save Your Power

I attended a training on Wednesday. It was a training about inverter conducted by Danfoss. Danfoss is a big company based in Denmark producing various products. The trainer (product manager) was really well prepared. We were given a file complete with colourful brochures and slides as well as papers to jot down note. The introduction of the presentation was very well define. The presenter informed us the flow of presentation together with the expected time (in minutes) for each topic. All together 120 minutes (2 hours). That's good. At least we know when the training will end.

The training commenced with a short 5 minute video introducing Danfoss. It was a very impressive and informative presentation. They really have state of the art technology (which utilizes efficient and effective robots) to manufacture inverters as well as other products.

Inverter can save power and money (reduces maximum power demand). In addition to that, it can lengthened the life span of your motor and other equipments. It reduces start current and reduces start torque by the square of the current reduction. Inverter actually reduced voltage starting attempts in a motor and avoid it to start instantaneously. Inverter will slowly and gradually supply the voltage and current to a motor until a maximum level.

There are more to discuss about inverters. Inverters are really impressive in saving power. A lot of process plant are installing and utilizing inverters. I shall discuss more about it in a few days time.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:20 PM, , links to this post

Don't Panic! I'm Renovating This Site

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you might be surprised by this moment. It's not dark black anymore... I'm in the process of improving and changing the look of this blog. It may take a few days for me to get everything in place. For the time being, you might see that this blog is missing a lot of its links and other contents. Don't worry, it will be back to normal soon.

I'm doing some improvement in this blog. I'm introducing a new face lift or theme for this blog. I hope it looks more appealing than before. Thanks to Gecko and Fly for the new template of this blog. In addition to that, I'm inserting few more pages to this blog: "links", "jobs", "books", "magazine", contribute" and "search". I hope with those pages, this blog will be more organize instead of everything being packed in one single page. Feel free to check out and utilize those pages. However, I'm still improving and upgrading, adding more content to those pages. So, I apologize if the pages are not perfect yet or still under construction when you visit/click them.

If you are a new visitor to this blog and have great interest in anything associated with Chemical Engineering, then this is the perfect site for you. Learn stuff about Chemical Engineering that is not in your text book such as heat exchanger, cooling tower, boilers, oil and gas updates, conferences and much more. Don't miss any post. Subscribe to this blog and get email updates or RSS feeder. To know me slightly better, go to the "about" page. I've a little summary about myself and my career.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:08 PM, , links to this post

Oil and Fats International Congress 2007 in Cairo

My job is not flexible enough to allow me to visit the recent Oil and Fats International Congress (OFIC) 2006 in Cairo last March. That's fine. Even if I can go, I don't have the budget!!! If I'm a researcher and I have a research grant and have a paper to present, then I can probably go. I participated in OFIC 2006 in Kuala Lumpur last year. Check out my previous post:

I'm back from the Congress
OFIC 2006 Exhibition
OFIC 2006 Modules

Enough about that, back to OFIC 2007. The aim of the conference was to provide a good overview of the edible oils and fats industry by covering current processes and products together with a look at future trends. Expert speakers were invited from all over the world. Day 1 focused on raw materials and their processing, and Day 2 on applications, both industrial and consumer products. Other subjects covered included quality control, crystallisation , labelling and nutrition.

A colleague of mine from Taiko Clay who went to OFIC 2007 in Cairo was kind enough to email me the link to the list of papers/slides presented during the conference - soci.org.

Among the interesting topic covered during the conference are:

Production and Processing - An Overview of Future Trends
Ken Carlson, Crown, USA

Potentials in Bleaching Earth Reduction - Theoretical Background, Industrial Results
Gunter Börner, OHMI Engineering, Germany

Formulation and use of Frying Oils
Adam Thomas, AarhusKarlshamn, UK

Life Cycle Assessment of Vegetable Oils & Spreads
Erich Dumelin, Unilever, The Netherlands

There are a lot more fantastic and informative titles. Check out soci.org.
The next OFIC 2007 will be held in China. Are you going??

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:46 PM, , links to this post

Vacuum Dropped Alert!!!

The entire week have been an interesting. Besides my routine job, I learned and experienced new things. However, I will share only the following 3 stuffs.


Vacuum dropped due to wet steam

I hate this case!!! When vacuum pressure dropped, the quality of oil is affected and most of the time the oil have to be rejected. In this case, vacuum dropped occurred because of wet steam. Wet steam is basically water carry over from boiler. Boiler is supposed to produce steam and deliver it to plant. When boiler began sending steam + water to the plant (which is not suppose to happen), the vacuum system is interrupted. The vacuum lost its capability to suck fatty acid which is supposed to be removed from the oil. I could not let it happen again. I don't want my plant to reject oil again because of this 'typical' reason. The boiler people never want to admit that they sent steam + water to the plant.

Therefore, I decided to investigate the case further. Few minutes after the 3rd incident ocurred (wet steam) I took a bottle of condensate water sample (this is the condensed steam which became hot water) and tested its TDS (total dissolved solid). We tested the TDS using a digital TDS meter at the boiler house. The TDS of the sample showed 70 ppm. Normal condensate water should display reading less than 10 ppm. This implied that water carry over (wet steam) happened. Why? Because, steam is water (H2O) at 120 ++oC temperature (around 15-17 bar). Hence the boiler is/should only send steam (pure H2O). Pure H2O should have zero or very minimum content of metal/solids/substance inside it. When steam condensed and became condensate water, the content of metal/solids/substance should remain. However, when wet steam occurs (due to water level fluctuation inside the boiler), some water follows the steam to the plant. The water is chemically treated and this increased its TDS. Therefore, if the condensed water is 'rich' of TDS, this confirms that wet steam is taking place.

Up to today, I gathered 2 condensate water samples (as proof) after the wet steam incident and the TDS result is very high!!! The boiler people definitely have to do something to avoid this from worsening or happening again. I'm not accusing anybody to be responsible of the "oil rejection". I sincerely just want to solve the problem. Save cost and time as well.


Checking the Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) at different temperature

When I first checked the condensate water sample which was collected by my supervisor, it showed TDS of 67 ppm. The boilerman said, that is impossible. He claimed that my sample was very cold (I left the sample in my office for about 5 hours before testing it. Therefore the air condition has cooled down the condensate water temperature to about 24-27oC). That's fine....I told him, let's heat the same sample up to 65-70oC and repeat the TDS test. We heated up the sample and re-tested the sample at 65oC. The sample showed reading around 70ppm. At least, it's close the the earlier TDS reading. Before repeating the TDS test, I told the boilerman that TDS have nothing to do with temperature. However, he stubbornly claimed that temperature influenced the TDS reading. After that he kept quiet and admitted that temperature have nothing to do with TDS. Hence, the condensate water really have high TDS which means water carry over (wet steam).

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posted by zaki yamani @ 12:05 AM, , links to this post

Getting A Hoist

I need a hoist in the store (warehouse) to lift pallets and other heavy stuffs efficiently. Therefore, I looked and searched for companies selling hoist. After calling and requesting quotations from few companies (selling hoist), I browsed the net to have a sneak peak on those companies to see what are the products and services they have to offer. It was very interesting to see that there are various types of hoist with various applications and various funny names too. I never knew that hoist have a lot of "species!!" I don't have much time to go through all of the hoist informations, but I'm glad I learned few of them.



Check out some definitions of hoist incase you want to know literally what a hoist is:

  • raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help; "hoist the bicycle onto the roof of the car"
  • move from one place to another by lifting; "They hoisted the patient onto the operating table"
  • raise; "hoist the flags"; "hoist a sail"
  • lifting device for raising heavy or cumbersome objects
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

  • "A hoist is a device used for lifting or lowering a load by means of a drum or barrel around which rope or chain wraps. May be manually operated, or electrically or pneumatically driven and may use chain, or fiber or wire rope as its lifting medium."
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoist

    "A mechanical lifting device usually attached to a trolley that travels along a bridge, monorail, or jib crane."
    www.steelbuildinghelp.com/steel_buildings_glossary_h-i-j.htm



    Some companies selling hoist:
    harringtonhoists.com (USA)
    hoistlift.com (USA)
    www.grainger.com
    mstime.com.my (Malaysia) >>> Interesting flash preview!! There are a lot of interesting names for their hoists: "Street, Donati, Italkrane, JD neuhaus, MS Herkules and Daesar."

    Very interesting too....There are a magazine "specializing in hoist"
    Check out hoistmagazine.com
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    posted by zaki yamani @ 9:12 PM, , links to this post

    Butter and Margerine Interesting Facts

    Recently we were having a discussion with our new engineers. When we reached the topic shortening plant, which produces margarine, I asked, "What is actually the differences between butter and margarine?" It's funny and embarrassing because I still don't know the differences between those two foods. That's why I asked. Well, I got the answer. However, I would like to share the answers (more detail one) with an article below (Sorry, I forgot where I took this from).

    Margarine  was originally manufactured to fatten  turkeys. When it killed the turkeys,
    the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback
    so they
    put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get
    their money
    back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the
    yellow coloring
    and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like
    it? They have come out
    with some clever new flavorings.


    DO YOU KNOW.. the difference between margarine and butter?

    Read on to the end...gets very interesting!

    Both have the same amount of calories.

    Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

    Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating
    the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard
    Medical Study.

    Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

    Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because
    they are added!


    Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of
    other foods.


    Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for
    less than 100 years.


    And now, for Margarine..

    Very high in trans fatty acids.

    Triple risk of coronary heart disease.

    Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers
    HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)


    Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.

    Lowers quality of breast milk.

    Decreases immune response.

    Decreases insulin response.

    And here's the most disturbing fact.... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS
    VERY INTERESTING!


    Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC.

    This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and
    anything else that is hydrogenated this means hydrogen is added,
    changing
    the molecular structure of the substance).


    You can try this yourself:

    Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area.
    Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:


    * no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should
    tell you something)


    * it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value;
    nothing will grow on it Eventhose teeny weeny
    microorganisms will
    not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would

    you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 12:30 AM, , links to this post

    Cooling Tower Target Nozzle

    As promised, I'll share some informations about target nozzle which is among vital parts of a cooling tower. A target nozzle looks like the photo beside. That is a "Counterflow Nozzle Orifice" (sizes available from 1/2" - 1 1/2). A target nozzles function is to sprinkle the warm cooling water to increase its surface area (for heat transfer with air) before it goes down from the deck to the water basin. It is usually an injection molded polypropylene unit consisting of two parts—the main body with integral target diffuser and a snap-on insert or orifice cap. A cooling tower deck may have up to 200 or more target nozzles.

    All this while I only know this type of target nozzle. After researching in the internet, I found there are various other types of target nozzles.

    The first type (left) is a Counterflow Nozzle - 2" NPT Thread, (Orifice sizes 1/2" - 2"); the second (mid) is the a counter-flow down-spray nozzle; Square-Pattern, Full Coverage Type, 1-1/2" Standard Pipe Thread Connection; and the third (right) is a counter-flow up-spray Nozzle, fits 1-13/16" Diameter Hole in PVC pipe. There are more types of target nozzles at CoolingTowerNozzles.com.

    To learn more about target nozzles, check out the following sites:
    spxcooling.com
    ceshepherd.com
    coolingtowerresource.com

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 10:40 PM, , links to this post

    Cooling Tower FRP Water Distributor

    What you can see in the photo is a cooling tower deck. This is where warm cooling water from processing plant arrives. The warm cooling water will then be evenly distributed on the light blue colour FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) deck by a water distributor. The warm cooling water will then falls underneath the deck through the target nozzle holes. You can see there are plenty of small black round shape holes on the deck. The target nozzles are important to sprinkle the water before it goes further down to increase its surface area (I'll show and explain about target nozzle in future post). The warm cooling water will then be sprayed over a fill in the cooling tower to increase the contact area, and air is blown through the fill. Majority of heat removed from the warm cooling water is due to evaporation. The remaining cooled water drops into a collection basin and is recirculated to the plant (for chiller or heat exchanger). Typically, the temperature drop is 10oC.

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 8:17 PM, , links to this post

    How Do You Analyze Your Heat Exchanger Performance?

    I have more than 10 plate heat exchangers (PHE) in my plant. Usually, we'll monitor the flowrate, inlet and outlet temperature, as well as pressure. Before, I joined the company, I observed that the "cleaning in place" (CIP) using caustic solution was carried out when the PHE could no longer produced desired flow rate and temperature outlet. This is one method of eliminating the fouling and scaling on the plate surface in order to improve the heat transfer. If CIP does not work, we have to dismantle the PHE, clean the plates in hot caustic and attach new gasket on it. This will be a far more expensive option and take longer time.

    To avoid massive fouling and scaling from getting worse, we have to conduct CIP regularly. When is the right time to perform CIP? As mentioned above, when the flow rate is low or desired outlet temperature could not be achieved, we shall consider doing CIP.

    However, I came out with a formula to calculate the "Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient" (U-value) of the heat exchanger. The U-value will give me some indication on which heat exchanger is providing the worse heat transfer. By simplifying the formula in excel file, I can easily know which heat exchanger needs attention just by inserting the inlet/outlet temperature, mass flow rate, heat capacity of oil, and surface area of the plates. The LMTD (log mean temperature difference) will be obtained from the formula and further applied to get the U-value.

    I use and manipulated the following formulas:

    Q = mc(theta) = UA(LMTD)

    Can you work out the formula?

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 12:05 AM, , links to this post

    Preparation Work For New Plate Heat Exchanger

    Earlier this year, I ordered a set of plate heat exchanger (Schmidt-Bretten brand). We desperately need another plate heat exchanger (PHE) as a back-up unit to those that we presently have in plant. I have to correctly specify the specifications of the PHE as it is not a cheap piece of equipment. Thank God, everything was OK and we'll be expecting the PHE this coming August.

    However, the job does not end there. I have to plan and prepare for the piping layout and other related civil work. I need to order additional parts/equipments/instruments such as globe valves, ball valves, drain valves, control valves, pipes, RTD's, pressure gauges, vortex flow meters, temperature gauges, steal plates, bellow seals, bolts and nuts etc. (those items are very expansive!!! especially the globe valve...). We have to get all the piping ready before the PHE arrive. We need to complete it in less than 2 months from now. I pray and hope everything will run smooth for this small project of mine.

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 11:42 PM, , links to this post

    Spiral Heat Exchanger

    In my plant, there are two small spiral heat exchangers which function as a shutdown cooler. I'm not sure what is the capacity and specifications of it. I have no experience using or operating them. But, I'm interested to learn about them.

    Spiral heat exchanger differs a lot from plate heat exchanger (PHE). There are also pros and cons using spiral heat exchanger compared to PHE. From my limited experience, a spiral heat exchanger require less maintenance. There is no plates and no internal gaskets. To clean the internal part, a "cleaning in place" (CIP) is carried out using caustic solution up 60-75oC. The spiral heat exchanger is totally stainless steal solid and it is very heavy. One problem that can make a spiral heat exchanger useless (or very expansive to repair) is when the internal wall crack or leak. When this happen, the fluids entering the spiral heat exchanger will mixed and hence affect the production quality (reject!!!).

    Spiral Heat Exchangers exhibit ideal heat transfer and fluid handling characteristics for a wide range of applications.

    • Takes up only one sixth of the space
    • Means lower costs for buildings, pumps valves and piping
    • Uses 75% less pumping energy
    • Provides higher K- value and a close temperature approach
    • Ensures continual self-cleaning effect for maximum operating efficiency
    Nowadays, there are very few companies selling spiral heat exchanger compared to PHE.
    For further references on this type of heat exchanger, check out Alfa laval and Heseco.


    Example of a big spiral heat exchanger. The mass of it is about 5 tonnes.

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 11:51 PM, , links to this post

    Chemical Engineering World 100 Readers

    Earlier this year, I set a target to get 100 readers by the end of 2007 for Chemical Engineering World blog. Today, the feedburner chicklet in this blog shows 101 number of readers. I'm so pleased and delighted with the progress so far and thanks for the support from all of you. I managed to achieve the target six month ahead. Next month, this blog will celebrate its first anniversary and that is another achievement from my side. Time is running very fast that I did not realize it's almost one year since I started blogging about work - chemical engineering. I must admit I just discovered blogging last July and luckily I subscribed to a broadband that time. The next thing happened, this blog was created.....

    Despite being pretty busy with my daily hectic job (especially the first week of every month...I have to do detailed production/utility report), I'm trying my best to share some pieces of my working and life experiences related to chemical engineering on a more consistent basis. This is a real challenge for me as time is usually not on my side. I hope I can work more efficiently and effectively, and at the same time allocate some quality time with my family, because being a balanced human being is part of my philosophy. I don't want my life to be concurred by my JOB, although I like and appreciate it. Hence, I just want to continue working and do the best for my employer. At the same time, I'll establish myself as a profound engineer and add up some essential skills while working here.

    It's part of my target to educate and provide valuable information to others especially chemical engineering students and junior chemical/process engineers via this blog. I'm doing this simply because when I was a student, I never had a slight picture on how a chemical engineer works and what is the industry like. Now, as I'm a practicing engineer, I want the youngsters to know, to learn, to be exposed....

    I thanked and welcome positive and negative comments from fellow readers all around the globe. I did received a lot of great feedbacks and encouragement. Thanks to you guys. It made me want to contribute (posting) even more. I also have some collaborations going on with few parties which I never expected to happen. I hope more collaborations can take place and produce more success.

    Ooooh...about the photo, it's actually nothing really related to this blog niche. It's just "snake-like green pepper". The green (red) pepper is from Shanxi, China and it resemble a snake like creature. It does look like a chilly in a distorted pepper....that's what I can see. (p/s I hope I can be a chemical engineer growing some crops (such as chillies, tomatoes, cucumber, sugar cane, etc....later in future)).


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    posted by zaki yamani @ 12:07 AM, , links to this post

    Genetic Engineering News Gave Me $2

    Today I received a letter from Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, which is based in New York. Actually, I'm a subscriber of their GEN magazine which is published every two weeks. They send me a hard copy magazine. Well, genetic engineering is not closely related to chemical engineering, but I subscribe the magazine to get some input from other engineering branches. At least I learn something about DNA, RNA, peptide, protein, drug, bioprocessing, biobusiness etc. It's enriching and sometimes confusing to know those tiny, minute, mysterious DNA-RNA stuff.

    Back to the letter story. They send me a letter and I opened the envelop. I saw $2 and I'm surprised! I read the title of the letter and it said, "We need your help to measure the value of our publication. Your opinions will allow us to publish an even better resource for you!".

    The P.S. was written in red: Please accept the enclosed $2 as a token of our appreciation for your help.

    Enclosed in the letter is a 4 pages of "Confidential Survey of our Subscribers". I have not yet fill the survey but I'm going to do it tomorrow.


    They provided me with a Business Reply Mail envelop (to be sent to Lewis and Clark Research, US), but I have to pay for the postage because I'm mailing from outside US. On the top right conner on the envelop it is printed: "No postage necessary if mailed in the United States".

    Hmmm....I guess, It's OK. I don't mind paying for the postage. However, I think, they should make international reader like me to be excluded from paying for the postage next time. Or is the $2 cost for the postage?

    You can check out and get free subscription of GEN magazine online (if you're interested) at www.genengnews.com.

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    posted by zaki yamani @ 1:24 AM, , links to this post

    The Author

    zyz

    I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!


    Learn something about Chem Eng that is not inside your text book.
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