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More From PIPOC 2007

A little bit more photos captured from PIPOC 2007 exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur Convention Center for me to share with you. Hmmm....Just to let you know, I'm not being paid for reviewing the products. I just took some photos and share them in this blog. I hope you can benefit from it and in case you need more informations, you can go to their respective websites to explore more about the products and its features.

A bellow seal stop valve - ARI FABA maintenance free bellow seal stop valve is designed with double wall bellow seal as standard. The sizes range from DN 15 to DN 400 (1/2" to 16"). Connections available: Flanged end to PN16, PN 25, PN40, ANSI B16.5 Class 150 and Class 300; Butt weld end and socket well end. I took this photo from Valmatic Engineering Sdn Bhd.

This is a pressure leaf filter displaying a flap door at the bottom of it. The flap door discharge is an excellent replacement to the existing butterfly valve as well as an improvement to the wedge lock door currently available in the market. The flap door discharge cake is specially designed to be used on a vertical pressure leaf filters. The trap door cake discharge is compact, light and easy to install. It require no modification on the vessel and the replacement of the lipseal is quick and easy.

This is the same pressure leaf filter with its hydraulic flap door going to be closed. The pressure leaf filter was displayed and demonstrated by Tapis Teknik. I found this product very interesting because at my plant, we use a huge butterfly valve to discharge the cake and when the liner is has problem, it is very difficult and trouble some to replace them.

I never heard FUNKE before. Funke is a company from German manufacturing heat exchangers. Well, I know some companies producing heat exchanger such as Smidth-Breten, Alfa Laval, Graham and Hisaka. Funke is new to me. Well, at least I learn and know that this company exist and I may get some of them later. Funke produced a wide range of plate heat exchangers. Check out their website for more information: www.funke.de. In Malaysia, Waterfield is distributing the Funke heat exchanger.

This is a 4" bellows sealed globe valve produced by W.T.A. This is the latest and one of the advance globe valve produced by W.T.A. and it's distributed by Beavermatics Sdn Bhd. It can withstand high temperatures up to 400 degree celcius and has a lot more safety features. Check on their websites to learn more.

Ops....don't forget to check out the new www.chemical-engineering-forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:06 AM, , links to this post


Today I went to PIPOC (International Palm Oil Congress) 2007 held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC). It was a day trip (we (3 engineers) traveled all the way from JB) and I just returned home, exhausted. The exhibition was not as big as I expected. Last year's OFIC 2006 (Oil and Fats International Conference) was better than PIPOC 2007 in terms of company participation. It took me just above 1 hour to complete touring the entire booths.

I did not attend the technical paper presentation this time. I just visited the exhibition only.

Various types of mini palm oil fruits. This palm oil gene produces a shorter palm oil tree
for easier fruit plucking.

Various types of digital pressure gauges. I only use analog pressure gauges and pressure transmitter in my plant. Digital pressure gauge reading is more accurate and is easy to calibrate on site

Butterfly valves of different sizes.

Horizontal leaf filter

Check out more photos in the next post, perhaps tomorrow...

Ops....don't forget to check out the new www.chemical-engineering-forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:29 PM, , links to this post

My New Baby Plate Heat Exchanger

Since I've work as a process engineer, I continuously learn a lot in the plant. The learning never stops. However, when it comes to heat exchanger I get very excited. I don't know why. Maybe because it is such a very important piece of equipment. Maybe because I have a lot of them in my plant. Maybe because it deserved such attention from a person like me!!! Well, there are hundreds of reason if I have to list it down.

Sometimes, I thought I already know and understand heat exchanger. I thought my knowledge and comprehension on a heat exchanger is good enough. I'm wrong!!! Yes, maybe I know about it, but there are still more to learn and explore.

I have justified and ordered one set of plate heat exchanger (2 in series) from Schmidt Breten earlier this year to be used in my plant. I nearly ordered the wrong set of heat exchanger. I checked and checked the details and specifications of the plate heat exchanger. The purchase requirement reached the procurement department and they asked tonnes of questions. I understood why they asked a lot and requested me to thoroughly justify the reason of the purchase - because the plate heat exchanger is very expansive (almost similar to a brand new E-Class Mercedes Benz). I never expected the procurement executives to go line by line reading the heat exchanger specifications. After a series of discussion, I realized something was not right. I called the supplier, asked for more explanations. I discussed with my superior and found that we just ordered a wrong heat exchanger. I was scolded for ordering the wrong heat exchanger. I swiftly canceled the order and corrected the purchase requisition.

Last week, the plate heat exchanger set arrived from German. I have patiently waited for its arrival. I have to wait for almost half a year after my request. I was so excited and happy after being informed that the heat exchanger has safely landed in the store at my work place. I immediately went to the store and looked at the new shiny plate heat exchanger. I touched it and embraced it (i looked like an idiot that time!!!).

Today, the plate heat exchanger have been positioned at the installation point. It's not easy to mobilize the heat exchanger as it is very heavy. 6-8 maintenance fitters work together to erect one of the heat exchangers. I took some photos to record the historical moment. I knew this is not a very big deal to other people, but to me, I'm totally responsible for the entire purchase, justification, planning, coordination, and most importantly plant process.

This new set of heat exchanger will improve my plant production back to our maximum capacity. Our old heat exchangers have suffered severe scale and fouling and resulted in slower flow rate and poor heat transfer. The overall heat transfer coefficient is very bad. The older plates need to be dismantled and replaced. Well, that's in the process. I hope everything will be silky smooth. I shall update the progress later.

Ops....don't forget to check out the new www.chemical-engineering-forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:53 PM, , links to this post

New Chemical-Engineering- Forum.com Launched

I'm delighted to inform that, we are changing the forum platform to a better, powerful, attractive and dynamic one.

Five main boards are made available to cover most of the chemical engineering issues; they are: (1) General (2) Industry (3) Professional and Practicing Engineer (4) Student Zone and (5) Classifieds. Everybody and anybody are invited to join and participate in the forum. The new forum can be reached at http://www.chemical-engineering-forum.com OR from the Forum link in this blog.

Unlike the previous forum (which will be canceled), this new forum will have moderators from various chemical engineering backgrounds and sectors to produce a more active and lively discussion. Moderators consists of engineers, lecturers, researchers, consultants, and students as well. We hope members can learn, discuss and gain a lot from this forum.

The welcome message from forum administrator: http://chemical-engineering-forum.com/index.php?topic=2.0

One of the topic posted which asked about why pipeline is cylindrical: http://chemical-engineering-forum.com/index.php?topic=7.0

Check out the rest and be a forum member at: http://www.chemical-engineering-forum.com

If you have previously registered in the old forum from this blog before, I hope you can re-register in the new http://www.chemical-engineering-forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:58 AM, , links to this post

How To Build Cooling System For Your PC

This is a very interesting video teaches us how to make a cooling system for our PC. We need small and cute heat exchanger, tubing, cooling water, cooling elements, cooling fan, thermal paste, flow meter, pump, cable, elbow, cable holders, header tank, and hard drive cooler. All of these items are related and can be associated with our chemical and process engineering field. Check it out and try it at your PC.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:00 PM, , links to this post

Some Short Updates

The pass few days were very hectic for me. Last week I gave a talk entitled "Chemical and Process Engineering - Sharing Knowledge and Experience" to the first year Chemical Engineering students at University Technology Malaysia (UTM). It was my first experience delivering such talk to more than 100 students. I guess it went well and I hope the students gain some valuable information from my talk.

Today, I just returned from a day trip to Kuala Lumpur. I'm still exhausted but I push myself to publish a post here. I met the design project group from University Technology MARA (UiTM) that I supervised as allied supervisor. They need some help on certain areas of the design project and I explained and assisted them. I think it's very good that UiTM introduce and include allied supervisor from industry to assist supervising the design project that the students are doing. Their report will be more realistic, accurate and they'll have better comprehension on the project.

At work, I was busy as ever. We stopped one of the plant and did a swift maintenance job to improve the plants process. I'm glad that the planning was good and jobs were well coordinated and executed. Supervisors, maintenance fitters and plant operators have done a brilliant job and the plant managed to be started smoothly after that.

In order to create a better and conducive working environment, the management initiated Super 5S which is part of the Japanese Kaizen system. 5S was already introduced earlier but it slowly faded as nobody was really monitoring it. Now, a steering committee was formed to lead, enforce and apply 5S. I was elected as one of the steering committee and that means additional job and responsibility for me. Part of my task is to be a 5S trainer and make sure everybody is well trained. Hmm....I got to start first my keeping my desk tidy!!....

Besides that, I also received few emails from various readers (of this blog) asking questions related to chemical engineering industry, career, plant process, data, information etc. I have answered some of them and I also have not answered some of it. Don't worry, I'll answer the emails as soon as humanly possible. Thanks for your emails...

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:35 PM, , links to this post

Learning Process From Cleaning Plate Heat Exchanger

In my previous post "Some Updates", I mentioned about Process Plant - Heat Recovery View. The plate heat exchanger that has been thoroughly cleaned via "cleaning in place" (CIP) could not produced the desired output temperature (but we got the flow rate). I blamed the RTD for the output temperature not correct. Although the RTD has been serviced, it still shows the same reading.

Today, we realized what was wrong with the plate heat exchanger (or cleaning program). We only conducted (CIP) for one side only (cold oil 1) i.e. the side which we assumed dirty, contained scale and fouling. The other side (hot oil 2) which we thought was clean (free from scale and fouling) was not cleaned with hot caustic (main ingredient for CIP). We found out from the newly installed vortex flow meter that the 'hot oil 2' side flow rate is low i.e. about only 54m3/hr. The 'cold oil 1' flow rate can reached up to 105 m3/hr. This shows that the 'hot oil 2' side in the plate heat exchanger is partially blocked with probably scale and fouling. The heat transfer is therefore not efficient and effective. The 'cold oil 1' temperature should reached 240oC from 105oC. However, it only managed to reached 210oC which is not sufficient for the process.

Now that we know the problem, we are doing CIP for the 'hot oil 2' side. After 6 hours of CIP, the flow rate has became 76m3/hr which shows some sign of improvement. We'll circulate the hot caustic until the flow rate reaches at least 90m3/hr. I'm glad that we learned and experienced this. At least our understanding and comprehension, tricks and technique of handling the plate heat exchanger improved. Thanks to one of my supervisor who informed us about the slow flow rate of 'hot oil 2' which as a result could not heat up the 'cold oil 1'.

I hope this post provide some valuable infos for you. If you're confused or do not understand what I'm discussing here, feel free to ask.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:05 PM, , links to this post

Steam and Vacuum Related Q and A

I received 2 interesting questions at my "Vacuum Dropped Alert" post last June. I think its better for me to answer them in a new post for the benefits of others. I discussed the questions/problems with my colleague at work. I hope Mr Owais and Mr Vinay do not mind we discuss it here.

The first questions from Mr Owais (as adopted from the comment section);

"I'm working as a chemical engineer in GamaLux OleoChemical, Fat Splitting Unit.We're facing the same problem. Our main boiler is under maintenance and smaller one in progress time and again vacuum drop and our production get effected but when we don't have good vacuum then we hold the plant or lower down the feed input and product out put but the main problem is that if we lower down the product Fatty acid flow rate then it get chance to stuck in the pipeline then we have to flush the line which is more troublesome. What will u suggest me about how to solve the problem."

My respond/answer;

First of all, I need more informations in order to answer this issue. What is the design requirement of the steam for the plant to get its vacuum? This should be known from the plant manufacturer or current practice. The steam from the boiler house must be supplied as per the requirement of the plant(s). Maybe your smaller boiler do not produce the same amount of steam as your main boiler. Hence, if your plant vacuum system is fragile, slight pressure drop or fluctuation from the small boiler will trigger vacuum dropped and destroy the oil quality.

As for your fatty acid, you probably need a better insulation for the piping and / or steam tracing along the line. This will prevent blockage in the line (hindering fatty acid from solidifying). Sometimes you need jacketed steam tracing if the product have a lower melting point.

If everything above is not an issue, check your cooling water temperature condensing the steam. Is the temperature low enough as per design. Is the pressure from the cooling tower sufficient? Is the strainer nearby the pump suction blocked?

If everything above is still not an issue, when you stop your plant, conduct a complete air test to check and find any leakages in the vacuum system. I hope I answer your questions.

Example of a fire tube boiler that produces steam for general heating and vacuum system.

The second questions from Mr Vinay (as adopted from the comment section);

"I am working in a textile plant as a maintenance engineer. My steam requirement is about 5500 kgs/hr. The main line from boiler to header is 4 inch. Can a smaller pipeline size lead to water carryover. We maintain TDS level in boiler of about 4000-4500. Our's is a water tube boiler."
My respond/answer;

First of all, I need more informations in order to answer this issue. Is it true your plant need 5,500kgs/hr steam? For me, that is very high. Or maybe your production capacity is very big that it require huge amount of steam. I'm just checking some information/facts...I fear, if you reduce the diameter of the pipeline, the flow rate of steam will be slightly affected/restricted. From my observation/experience, if the boiler deliver water carry over, and the water is still in the line (no where to escape), that means wet steam will occur. This will make the vacuum weak. Hopefully no water hammering takes place!!! That means, reducing the line would not help.

Install some steam trap along the line to eliminate water carry over. Spirax Sarco have a number of good steam traps (I'm not related to them).

I think your TDS is on the higher side. Do your water treatment chemicals work at more than 4000 ppm? Please check with your chemical supplier on this matter. For my case, we control the TDS at 2000, the most 2300ppm. This applies to any type of boiler.

I hope I gave a reasonably acceptable answer/suggestion/comment. If anybody want to further comment or discuss about those two issues, you are most welcome...

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posted by zaki yamani @ 1:25 AM, , links to this post

Photo of the Day - Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

This is a photo of a very big shell and tube heat exchangers. "Outokumpu Stainless Tubular Products" (OSTP) unit in Fagersta produces heat exchanger tubes for heat exchanger evaporators, condensers and other equipment. I don't bother counting how many tubes they are in the shell and tube heat exchanger, but I'm guessing there are almost 1000 tubes. Do you want to count? Photo adopted from Chemicals-Technology.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:07 PM, , links to this post

Health: Saturated, Monosaturated and Polysaturated Fat

As an educated person, we should be wiser in selecting our daily food consumption. By consuming more bad fats via our favourite food, it may affect our life and health in future. Few months back, I realized about this and reduced my chicken meal (for your information I love eating chicken, especially fried chicken, since the past 31 years). Chicken have high content of fats/cholesterol especially under the skin. I'm planning to eat a lot more healthier food with less oil. I want to reduced my BMI (body mass index).

Some source of polyunsaturated fats

Below are some interesting quiz/facts on making healthy choices about fat in your diet? The quiz is from the American Heart Association to help you face the facts about fats. Just answer true or false. You can find the correct answer below the questions.

1. A healthy diet includes some fats.

2 Bad fats are those that tend to be solid at room temperature, such as butter or shortening.

3. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are bad fats.

4. Different types of fats have different calorie counts.

5. All foods labeled "trans fat-free" are healthy foods.

6. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocados, peanut butter and many nuts and seeds, can have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats.

7. Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.

8. The fats in the foods you eat should not total more than 25 percent to 35 percent of the calories you eat in a given day.

Answers: 1) True; 2) True; 3) False; 4) False. There are 9 calories in every gram of fat, regardless of what type it is. 5) False. Foods labeled trans fat-free may contain saturated fats, or they may be high in sugar and low in nutrients. 6) True; 7) True; 8) True

I would like to recommend a good reading easy to understand information about saturated fat, Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated:


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posted by zaki yamani @ 12:32 PM, , links to this post

How To Make A Shell and Tube Heat Exhchanger

I would like to share a very good video on how to make a shell and tube heat exchanger. Before, this I never know how a shell and tube heat exchanger was made. I have 2 big shell and tube heat exchangers in my plant and it is very interesting for me to know how it they are created. The video is 2.58 minutes length and it shows a small shell and tube heat exchangers. It is a straight tube heat exchanger (one pass tube-side) and it has 2 baffles. Check it out...

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:36 PM, , links to this post


Yesterday, I attended a very interesting and informative training about gaskets. I never imagine that there are a lot to learn and explore about gaskets. After attending the training (delivered by Nipseal), my comprehension on gasket improved and I began appreciating it more. From the training, I know that there are various types and material of gaskets. Prices of gaskets vary a lot and some type of gasket is very tedious and difficult to manufactured/fabricated. Well, what is a gasket? According to Wikipedia, a gasket is a mechanical seal that fills the space between two objects, generally to prevent leakage between the two objects while under compression.

Other definitions/descriptions of gasket:

"A flexible material used to seal components together; either air-tight or water-tight" (PartSelect.com).

"Any of a wide variety of seals or packings used between matched machine parts or around pipe joints to prevent the escape of a gas or fluid" (Staffgasket.com).

Gaskets are commonly produced by cutting from sheet materials, such as gasket paper, rubber, silicone, metal, felt, fiberglass, or a plastic polymer.

Gaskets save money by allowing less precise mating surfaces on machine parts which can use a gasket to fill irregularities. Gaskets are commonly produced by cutting from sheet materials, such as gasket paper, rubber, silicone, metal, cork, felt, fiberglass, or a plastic polymer (such as polychlorotrifluoroethylene). Gaskets for specific applications may contain asbestos. It is usually desirable that the gasket be made from a material that is to some degree compressible such that it tightly fills the space it is designed for, including any slight irregularities.

Gasket is very important in a process plant. It maintains the energy, temperature and pressure in a process system. Selecting a suitable gasket is a must because it does cost money. It is also directly related to the process temperature, pressure, type of medium (fluid or gas) and the chemical properties of the medium.

Another new knowledge that I learned is about spiral wound gasket that can withstand pressure up to 70-80 bar. It is a very interesting and carefully manufactured gasket made of stainless steel. However, I shall elaborate more about this in another post because it is deserve its own post!

OK, let me just explain about the simple/normal gasket. With reference to the left illustration, the gasket is sandwiched between flanges. The property of the gasket and correct compression/tightness allows the process system to maintains it pressure and would not allow oil or gas to leak.

The above illustration shows how a gasket is positioned and locked between those 4 bolts.

Another illustration shows how a gasket is positioned and locked between those 8 bolts.

We install/fix the correct type of gasket before connecting the pipeline with flanges.

The above photo is a very interesting one. It shows the condition of gasket after being used for some time. It is difficult to remove the gasket by bare hands because the gasket sticks very well. We need to use suitable tools to peel and remove the gasket from the flanges. Usually, flanges like this is opened during shutdown to clean/clear pipelines or vessels. After inspection, a new fresh gasket will be used. Never use a gasket twice.

Without a gasket, a 12" butterfly valve like this will leak and spill oil or water and spray gas or steam (depending on your application).

Gasket is not only used between flanges. It is widely used everywhere in a process plant and in our kitchen (the refrigerator). In a plant, gasket can be found in the heat exchanger, valves, vessel man holes etc. The gasket needs to be properly maintained to ensure no upsets in the plant.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:22 PM, , links to this post

The Author


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!

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