Removing Oil From A Conveyor In South Africa

About three years ago, during the summer of 2012, I discussed an application with a palm oil producer who needed to clean and dry palm fruits as part of their oil production process.  I remember the application well because I knew nothing about palm fruits and came to learn of their popularity on other continents.

Now, years later and again from another continent, our South African distributor has a similar need.  However, rather than removing the cleaning residue from the outside of a palm fruit, this application needed to address the control and collection of the extracted palm oil on a production line.

The need in this application is the collection of spilled and residual oil that is filled into large containers and provided to culinary facilities.  The end user needed a way to keep any spilled oil from contaminating the process downstream, and a method to collect the oil once it was within a controlled space/container.

Conveyor with oil 1
Compromised conveyor line

To block the oil from travelling any further into the process, we recommended a series of 316 Stainless Steel Super Air Knives aimed at the conveyor belt, blowing opposite the direction of container travel.  This setup operated at the right pressure can not only keep the oil from any downstream components, but also blow the oil into a specified container.

Once the oil is removed from the conveyor and collected in a hopper, trough, or similar container, it can be removed with a High Lift Reversible Drum Vac.  Our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is suitable for viscous fluids such as oils, coolants, and paints up to 1400 centipoise.  The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac can then be used to pump the oil into a final container, or back into the process for cleaning and recycling.

Its always great to pull from a previous application when speaking with an EXAIR customer.  And, with our full team of Application Engineers, we have plenty of applications to reference.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems Control Humidity While Maintaining Internal Temperature

As the weather in the Northern Hemisphere changes over from winter to spring and temperatures start to climb, it is slowly becoming necessary for customers to utilize the Cabinet Cooler Systems to keep control panels cool.

One such situation involved a customer who was building a panel for his client in Malaysia. Malaysia is about 3 degrees north of the Equator, so it is what I would call a semi-tropical if not tropical environment. And such places are quite high in humidity levels. This customer had a client who was in the palm oil processing industry which is quite big in Malaysia. He needed a Cabinet Cooler System to generate about 1000 Btu/hr. of cooling power in a NEMA 12 type system. So I recommended he go with a 1700 Btu/hr. Cabinet Cooler System so he had plenty of capacity. I also recommended he go with 24 VDC thermostat control so he could easily pull the power out from within his panel and not have to run any new circuits.

As the customer duly noted, the fact that the Cabinet Cooler System purges the cabinet with clean, cool and dry compressed air allows for the humidity levels to hang down at a much lower level around 40 – 50% RH instead of up around 80 – 90%. This is attributed to the processing and drying of the compressed air at the production point before it is sent out to the facility and again at the point of use with the included, 5 micron, compressed air filter/separator that comes with each system.

Previously, the customer was using only the small, DC type fans to pull that hot, humid air through the panel which led to many corrosion issues and did not relieve the heat issue at all. With this new improvement, the end user no longer has to worry about such issues. Also, there is virtually no maintenance for this system which produces much longer up-times for the customer as there are no moving parts to wear out. Overall, it was a good recommendation in this case as the Cabinet Cooler System was handling multiple, previously negative issues. Now the pain has been taken away and the end user can move on to solving other, more pressing problems.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer

Oil Palm Fruits

The photo above shows African oil palm fruits.  These fruits are high in oil content and are processed to create a cooking oil in used frequently in Southeast Asia and around the tropical belt in Africa.  Recently, a palm oil producer came to me for advice about how to clean and dry these fruits as they passed along a processing line.

Not knowing much about the fruits, I did a bit of research to discover that their harvest and use is not only common, but growing.  The palm oil extracted from these fruits contains more saturated fats than canola, corn, linseed, or soybean oil.  This high content of saturated fats means that the oil can withstand extreme heat (when used in deep-frying applications) and resists oxidation.  These features, coupled with cheaper prices, has led to an increased demand for palm oil.

The end use in this application was both to clean and dry any residue on the oil palm fruits.  After receiving a sketch of the design from the operations manager, I recommended the use of our Super Air Knives.  We came to a conclusion to use the design in the sketch below.

The Super Air Knives will be installed to create an arch over the oil palm fruits.  Using dimensional values supplied by the customer I “trigged” out the angles using various Super Air Knife lengths, and determined the 12″ to be the best fit.  This length created a 57 degree angle from horizontal and left just enough room for a 36″ Super Air Knife across the top.  See the sketch below for a visual representation.

As we typically do, I recommended that the Air Knives are installed so that the air flow exiting the knife will contact the material at an approximate 45° angle of attack.  The debris from the fruits is to be given a collection system housed under the chain conveyor.  Pretty nice system!

Exchanging sketches and building solution systems around ideas is what we do best.  If you need help with a solution, give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer