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Mettler-Toledo AG

Case Study: Preventing Explosive Conditions Developing in Centrifuges

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


URDORF (CH) - Comi Condor is a leading supplier of vertical continuous and horizontal centrifuges for the fine chemicals industry. In order to prevent the risk of explosion, the oxygen level in centrifuges must be kept minimal during operation.

However, Comi Condor customers were not satisfied with the maintenance requirement of the extractive oxygen measurement systems installed on the units. Comi Condor needed a better solution.

Class-leading centrifuges

For over a century, Italy-based Comi Condor has supplied world-class filtering centrifuges for fine chemical and pharmaceutical ingredient production. It draws on decades of innovation and continuous improvement for developing the best separation techniques that fulfill the most stringent industry demands for product quality and yield. Their products also comply with some of the world’s most rigorous safety regulations.

Highest inertization requirements

The safety requirements for running centrifuges can vary from one country to another. Italy applies one of the most stringent concepts that can exist: overpressure and oxygen control must be present on each centrifuge operating system. This is considered the safest method of operation compared to only regulating overpressure, as maintaining a low oxygen level is vital for ensuring that a potentially explosive environment is not allowed to form at any point during the centrifugation process. To meet these requirements, Comi Condor created a centrifuge monitoring and control system based on the continuous measurement of overpressure and oxygen level.

How the application was originally handled

Comi Condor has manufactured safe centrifuges using extractive oxygen measurement systems, for decades. However, the company’s customers often noted tedious and sometimes even unpredictable maintenance operations on the extractive oxygen systems as a significant drawback. Disturbed batch manufacturing schedules and yield loss were the result, therefore impacting the overall performance of the centrifuge.

In situ oxygen measurement

Comi Condor contacted METTLER TOLEDO for a more reliable and easier to maintain solution and selected an amperometric system based around the InPro 6800 G sensor. The sensor can be mounted directly into the centrifuge, so the delicate gas sampling system they had been using could be removed, thereby increasing reliability and saving on costs.

Accurate and fast

After a successful test period, good practical experience was gained with the features of the new system. A comparison of both the extractive and the amperometric equipment showed that the METTLER TOLEDO solution displayed excellent measurement accuracy and proved to be as fast in response as the extractive solution.

Competitive advantage

Comi Condor has gained a competitive edge by offering its customers more reliable centrifuges that reduce downtime and require minimal maintenance. For new centrifuges where both oxygen and overpressure control is required, Comi Condor now preferably chooses METTLER TOLEDO amperometric systems.

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