An adhesive is a material, typically liquid or semi-liquid, that bonds items together. Glue comes from organic compounds, while adhesives are chemical-based. Adhering materials called epoxies, caulks or sealants have special additives that impart properties suitable for particular jobs or applications.
In the process industries, agitators mix liquids together; promote chemical reactions; keep bulk liquids homogenous in storage; and increase heat transfer. Types include rotating, or mechanical agitators; pipes fitted with baffles, or static agitators; rotating tank agitators; agitators working with a pump blasting liquid; and others.
The systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading and disposing of assets to receive the highest financial return is often referred to as “asset management.” Best practices for asset management, including in process plants, are increasingly embodied in asset management, maintenance and other type management software.
The use of machines, control systems and information technology in the production of goods and delivery of services, automation includes development of the programmable logic controller (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS) and infrastructure for plant networking. Systems synchronize the flow of inputs from sensors and events with the flow of outputs to actuators and events, for greater flexibility in production.
Producing large volumes of air at relatively low pressures – typically from one to four bar – blowers have many uses and are a significant consumer of energy in many industrial processes. In wastewater treatment, for example, they are used to deliver air to the aerobic bacteria that play a central role in breaking down sludge. Process air fans are important components in machines and installations, for everything from industrial process ventilation to material handling.
Generally driven by an electric motor, a centrifuge puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis, applying a force perpendicular to the axis. Via the sedimentation principle, centripedal acceleration causes denser substances to separate out along the radial direction, while lighter objects tend to move to the top. Large industrial centrifuges are used in water and wastewater treatment to dry sludges. The resulting dry product is often termed cake and the water leaving a centrifuge is called centrate.
Chillers remove heat from a liquid via a vapor compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. This liquid can then be circulated through a heat exchanger to cool air or equipment. Chillers are often used in the plastic industry in injection and blow molding, and in most of the process industries. Chillers for industrial applications can be centralized, where a single chiller serves multiple cooling needs, or decentralized, where each application or machine has its own chiller.
A gas compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its volume; many type compressors are on the market, as with motors, to which it has similar categories. In process industries, they are used to compress intermediate and end product gases; in gas turbine systems to compress the intake combustion air; and to provide pneumatic tools.
A horizontal, inclined or vertical device for moving bulk materials or objects in a path predetermined by the design of the device and having points of loading and discharge either fixed or selective. Conveyor types include skip hoists, vertical reciprocating and inclined reciprocating conveyors. Typical conveyors used in industry include belt, roller or other ground conveyors; pneumatic conveying systems; chain conveyors; and overhead conveyors.
A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another, and typically removing heat from an industrial process. The shell-and-tube heat exchanger is perhaps the most common type.
Heat treating includes a range of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material, including annealing, carburizing and tempering, through the application of high temperatures and often use of an artificial atmosphere. Heat treat systems, including furnaces, ovens and quench tanks are found in many process facilities.
Level sensors detect the level of substances that flow, including liquids, slurries, granular materials and powders. Level detection sensors include vibrating, rotating paddle, mechanical diaphragm, microwave (or radar), capacitance, optical, pulsed-ultrasonic and ultrasonic. In deriving the value of the height of some material from a lower point to a higher point, some level measurement devices do so by “drawing” horizontal lines plumb and parallel to each other at the two points. Further refinements in measurement follow from this point.
Given growing emphasis on energy efficiency, motors and drives are a big story in today’s process industries. For example, many industrial processes move at different speeds at different times for different products. Besides adjusting pump or fan flow to process conditions, varying drive speed may save energy compared with other flow control techniques. Variable, or adjustable, speed drives were developed as a means to improved process control, but their use highlights growing energy-efficiency efforts. If the output speed can be changed without steps over a range, the drive is usually referred to as variable speed. Adjustable and variable speed drives may be purely mechanical, electromechanical, hydraulic or electronic.
An oil skimmer is a machine that separates a liquid from particles floating on it from another liquid, e.g., removing oil floating on water. There are two types: weir and oleophilic. Oleophilic skimmers are further differentiated by the type material used in oil collection.
Packaging is the science, art, and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. The processing industries use a wide variety of filling machines, case packing, pick and place and other type packaging equipment.
As is easily imagined, a wide variety of tanks and vessels are used in process industries, and the use of tanks, or large receptacles for liquids or gas, and vessels, hollow containers for holding liquids, is amongst the most primary of technologies, yet fully enmeshed in the most modern process control systems.