Artisan Industries explains 3 reasons for new vertical processor

By Luke Geiver | August 24, 2011

Artisan Industries will now offer a vertical version of their mechanically aided thin film processor, the Rototherm V. According to Perry Alasti, senior vice president process technology, there are roughly 10 companies in the world that make these. “We are probably No. 1 in the U.S. in the horizontal design, which is our bread and butter,” he told Biodiesel Magazine. Although Artisan has been in the biodiesel space for several years, Alasti considers Artisan a specialty company that provides solutions for difficult problems. In 2004, Alasti was part of a team that developed and built the Biox plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The biodiesel reaction process was developed by a Toronto-based professor, he explained, “but the post purification to make biodiesel—that is largely our patented process.”

Alasti explained that there are three main reasons to go with a vertical thin film processor as opposed to a horizontal version. First, he said, “we decided we should make the vertical machine as a standup for the people that don’t have the floor space,” adding that “it doesn’t take much footprint, you just go up.”

In addition to the smaller footprint, Alasti said the price to build and operate a vertical processor is much cheaper. He believes that a vertical version can be as much as 30 percent cheaper than the horizontal version. Alasti pointed to his experience working with Archer Daniels Midland Co. on plants in Europe and the U.S. ADM he says, was interested in the technology, especially a vertical version, and the difference between the two was roughly $8 million dollars for a horizontal version, and only $1 million for a vertical version.

Space and price aside, Alasti said the biggest difference in a horizontal and vertical version is the size either can be built to. A horizontal version can total only 200 square feet approximately, while a vertical version can be built to 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. “The shaft spins at very high speeds, with very tight tolerance inside,” he said, and “if you think about a piece of pipe that sits horizontally, what is it going to do?” As Alasti explained, “it is going to basically bow, we call it deflection, so there is a limitation to how large you can make these machines.”

The only drawback of the vertical versus the horizontal processor is the ability of the vertical design to process the concentration to a dry state. According to Alasti, the horizontal version can completely dry the material, while the vertical units cannot go as far. The Rototherm V is suited for concentration, evaporation and stripping applications in the food, chemical, oleochemical, pharmaceutical and polymer industries, and the machine is able to work with high-viscosity, heat-sensitive and solids-containing materials. 


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