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Growing requirements and novel technologies require continuous research, and new innovative solutions. The companies of the EKATO GROUP have successfully taken on the challenges set forth by the industrial sector for more than 80 years and have developed into the world market leader.
EKATO Rühr- und Mischtechnik offers a state-of-the-art research and development center to design safe and highly efficient mixing process solutions. Modern, well-equipped lab facilities allow studying inter-relationships between mixing technologies and customer-specific processes.
The unique hydrogenation pilot plant offers optimal conditions in an explosion-proof laboratory to investigate the interaction of chemistry and mixing technology at realistic operating conditions. This plant, which has been designed and built entirely by the EKATO engineering group, consists of a hydrogenation reactor with a volume of 60 liters, a feed vessel, a filtration unit as well as a filtrate vessel. The reactor can be operated under process conditions of up to 100 bar and 250° Celsius. Findings gained in this pilot plant allow EKATO to scale-up and ensure the operationally reliable design of a real production plant.
The results of the hydrogenation tests are examined by sampling and analysis in the EKATO laboratory. This allows the evaluation of the optimized parameters and thus ensures a successful process result.
EKATO offers state-of-the-art measurement techniques in various laboratories. Latest fluid- and gas chromatography equipment form the backbone of the quantitative analysis of the pilot test results. In addition to the purely chemical analysis, physical product properties, such as, particle shape and size distribution or viscosity of a product to be mixed have to be characterized. It effects not only the power consumption of the agitator, but also the mixing behavior, the dispersion performance and the heat transfer capacity depend to a great extent on the viscosity. Smaller model systems can also be used to carry out a simple and fast comparison of different agitator setups and apparatus concepts for different applications.
Furthermore EKATO uses state-of-the-art production processes such as the 3D manufacturing of impeller prototypes. Tests in the 50 liter scale are often used to develop solutions for demanding mixing tasks as for highly viscous or rheologically complex fluids, both with original products as well as with model substances.
Numerical simulation methods such as CFD are an integral part of the R&D portfolio. This allows for an accurate insight into the flow conditions in a vessel. The customer configuration is precisely reproduced unlimited by size. This makes it possible to reliably predict the efficiency of complex tank internal installations. In addition to calculated designs, experiments provide supplemental information on the interaction of flow mechanics and material properties. With possible test sizes from 3 liters up to 100 m³, process related and mechanical measurements can be carried out very close to reality, in particular to full-scale. The determination of hydraulic forces induced by impeller flows is a central task of EKATO R&D.
The safe design of vessels and its internals as well as the development of new impeller types is based on measurements with strain gauges close to realistic operating conditions. Besides the process engineering expertise, it is also vital to produce a mechanically robust, highly reliable and durable product "made in Germany".
In analogy to the visualization of mixing processes within vessels, the finite element analysis provides insights into mechanical loads on agitators, vessels and the associated components.
In addition to the classical solutions where agitators are mounted from the top EKATO also offers special solutions, such as side entry installations, as applied for example for the flue gas desulphurization process. Also for hydrometallurgical applications, test units are available in different model scales. Thus, for example, an optimal residence time distribution of added products can be ensured. Alongside with a robust, long-lasting design of the agitator, the service life of the impeller itself often is an important issue. A geometrical optimization of the impeller or the selection of a suitable material allows for reduced wear in abrasive media. Here, massive ceramic components provide a way to the future!
The performance of research and development is based on a very experienced and established team with an excellent expertise in state-of-the-art technology and process solutions. Chemists, engineers and technicians are developing the solutions that ensure maximum efficiency and operational reliability for the plant operator.
EKATO Research & Development