Case Study: Vortex Global Provides Process Solution for Chemical Company

Based in Cheshire, UK, Tata Chemicals Europe is one of Europe’s leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate, among other products.

Tata Chemicals is the only manufacturer of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate in the UK. Their high-quality soda ash is used in the manufacture of glass, detergents and chemicals, and in several other industry applications. Their many grades of sodium bicarbonate have applications ranging from haemodialysis and pharmaceuticals, to food and animal feed, flue gas treatments, detergents and personal care products.

Tata Chemicals’ Lostock site, located in Northwich, Cheshire, has multiple manufacturing processes, including bulk storage, bulk material discharge, and transfer of anhydrous sodium carbonate. This is a material with a fine particle size, with a certain percentage less than 63 micron. In the problem area of the process, materials are transported via a bucket elevator and diverted into either of two chain link conveyors.

The client needed to replace four flapper-type diverter valves which had been in service for a considerable period of time. Because of material build up, the existing diverters were not sealing properly and were becoming difficult to maintain. Thus, the diverters had reached the end of their service life.

Vortex Seal Tite Diverters were identified as the ideal replacement.

Vortex Seal Tite Diverter: Features

  • Removable access panel allows access to the diverter’s interior for inspection, cleaning and/or maintenance. These processes can be performed while the diverter remains in situ.

  • Actuates into a recessed area so that material flow channels away from the leading edge of the blade. This design hinders material packing against the diverter body, prevents material leakage to the closed leg, and protects the blade’s seals from the material flow stream.

  • Live-loaded, wear-compensating seal under the blade shaft to minimise material migration to the opposite leg. The shaft seal is constructed from hard polymer and is “live-loaded” with sponge rubber backing. As the polymer experiences frictional wear from many actuations over time, the sponge rubber backing continuously forces the shaft seal upward against the blade shaft. This design allows the blade shaft to maintain its seal of materials over time without frequent maintenance intervention.

  • Designed to handle material temperatures up to 180° F (82° C).

The Vortex Seal Tite Diverter is well-designed for handling fine materials in gravity flow applications, and provides positive material shut-off with dust-tight sealing capabilities.

The client especially enjoys the Seal Tite Diverter’s removable access panel. Not only does it allow access for inspection and maintenance, but all of the diverter’s internal parts can be removed and replaced via the access panel. This allows the diverter to be maintained in situ, which minimises plant downtime.

For ease of replacement, these Vortex Seal Tite Diverters were manufactured to have the same dimensions as the client’s existing diverters.

Initially, only one diverter valve was replaced. After successful trials, an additional three Vortex Seal Tite Diverters were sourced.

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