Aug 4 2016
The process of emptying reactors is a very dangerous job that entails the use of highly specialized skills and processes. There are several different methods of how a reactor can be discharged. All of the methods used must adhere to a strict safety level to protect the workers and other civilians who may onsite or nearby. Here are just a few of them.
The vacuum method is usually performed by unloading the catalyst via the manway at the entry point. It may also occur by using the unloading nozzle to dump or by using the base flange to dump. Sometimes both methods are combined. A trained catalyst handling team can empty the reactor in a timely fashion without any harm to the catalyst particles by using specially made hoppers and separators.
The vacuum method can be performed in conditions both inert or atmospheric. It is a favorite method used by companies as it retains safe levels of nitrogen. Nitrogen is a key component in many reactors. This method may also be referred to as reactor skimming.
Certain material handling equipment may also be used in a method called gravity unloading. They equipment can collect the catalyst directly from the dump nozzle. Dust collectors working in the external environment ensure that no dangerous particulates are left to be a threat or health hazard. This is crucial in enclosed environments to reduce the risk to workers who may be re-entering the location.
There is also a method used called water-flood. This method consists of flooding the internal piping with either water or active chemicals to force the catalyst out. The spent material is then put through a process known as dewatering. This filters out the water from the collected sludge and results in a mass of solid waste to be disposed.
If you find your business is in need of removing catalyst in a safe and judicious manner, it would behoove you to hire one of the several catalyst handling companies such as Reactor Services that have the expertise and track record to perform the task properly with minimum, if any, risk.