A chemical company that specializes in producing surfactants for industry had experienced chronic material handling problems with a popular flake surfactant product: Sodium Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate (LAS). The LAS is produced by spray-drying a liquid formula over a hot drum dryer. The LAS exits the dryer as a flake at 110°F and is immediately elevated 20 feet for milling, screening and packaging.
“Olds Elevator designed and built an elevator that also served as a Heat Exchanger to cool the LAS immediately upon entering the elevator. This is achieved by using a hollow-shafted static screw and circulating cooling water through the screw.”
If the LAS reaches 120°F it transitions from a flake to an intractable solid mass which makes conveying it difficult. In the warm summer months temperatures in parts of the plant exceed 120° F and production of LAS is frequently interrupted by failures of the material handling equipment.
Olds Elevator LLC was contacted to see if we could eliminate these material handling problems. Extensive testing was conducted at the Olds Elevator labs in New Hampshire as well as at the customer’s plant in New Jersey.
Ultimately Olds Elevator designed and built an Olds elevator that also served as a Heat Exchanger to cool the LAS immediately upon entering the elevator. This is achieved by using a hollow-shafted static screw and circulating cooling water through the screw. The screw flighting was continuously welded, top and bottom, to the shaft to create a large heat exchanger from the screw.
Even through this warmest summer in decades the LAS production has continued without interruption as the Olds combination Elevator/Heat Exchanger has kept the product moving from dryer to packaging without fail.