Bioplastic

Fluiten sealing systems for gas processing plant
19 September 2017
ADIPEC 2018 Abu-Dhabi 12/15 November
8 October 2018

Introduction

Bioplastics is one of the fastest growing industries, favoured by increasing environmental awareness and associated legislation.  Bioplastics are found in the following markets segments: packaging, food services, agriculture/horticulture, consumer electronics goods and household appliances, automotive.  According to the Association European Bioplastics, the bioplastic market is expected to grow by 50% by 2021.

Fluiten was asked by a bioplastic manufacturer to develop a sealing solution for the conditions of its plant and supply a series of mechanical seals.

 

The sealing challenge specific to this industry

Listed below are the characteristics of the bioplastic processes and general requirements of the customer which determined the sealing solution that Fluiten engineers.

  • In terms of the flushing system, the manufacturer’s specification was that it must not contaminate or dilute the process; the latter would increase the time needed to dry the process.
  • The bioplastic processes are characterised as being of a sticky consistency, potentially causing clogging of the sealing solution.
  • The customer specified that the sealing solution provided must be able to deal with different processes.
  • As in other sectors, this emerging sector is under pressure to reduce production costs, and carbon footprint in particular.

The sealing solution chosen together with the customer was a gas flushed CB4F mechanical seal incorporating Fluilift technology,  for the following reasons:

  • Gas flushing does not pollute the process in any of the production phases.
  • Gas flushing prolongs the life of the seal especially in the presence of suspended crystals or with fluids that tend to clog
  • The CB4F seal is suitable for different processes, allowing for the optimisation of warehousing and stock of spare parts. Furthermore, economies of scale are achieved by the customer being able to purchase larger volumes of product.

Fluilift technology with the use of laser incisions, enables the separation of seal faces by a few microns. Inert gas is introduced through laser incised grooves on one face.  The aerodynamic geometry of the grooves allows for the flushing gas molecules to be controlled in such a way as to create a real cushion of gas, thus fulfilling the functions of the liquid film of traditional seals:

  • Lubrication of seal faces
  • Reduction of friction
  • Cooling of seal faces
  • Containment of the process

The reduction of friction improves the seal life and reduces energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the plant as a whole. Many industries, in particularly in the bioeconomy sectors, have adopted the carbon footprint index of which energy used in the manufacturing process is an essential element.

The CB4F (also supplied with PLAN 74 -flushing with gas panel) offers a solution with ZERO atmosphere- side emissions, ensuring the safety of the environment and personnel,  two key concerns in Fluiten product development.

The winning synergy of all components and materials has enabled us to provide our customers with a highly performing and durable product.