The secret recipe of growth story at Minimac Systems has been its capability to drive technological advancement in the field of contamination control for lubrication reliability. Research and development on technology and products have always been the key reason to keep the Minimac products a step ahead of its competitors in the market. Technological development has been one of the core competencies which Minimac possesses, thereby ensuring a definite competitive advantage.
Contaminations in lubricants are of various types and characteristics depending on the lubricant, equipment application, ambient conditions, age of equipment, etc. In order to control, separate or eliminate the contamination, there are multiple techniques. Each technique has pros and cons and hence there is no single technology which can be considered universally better than others.
Minimac Systems over the years has become equipped with almost all the technologies which are required for contamination control in lubricants. As a part of its sustainability strategy, the company focusses on fast development of future technologies based on the dynamism of the industry and the anticipated changes.
The products and services offered by the company are powered by the below mentioned technologies.
Stage Wise Mechanical Filtration
High efficiency filters are used in reducing solid contamination. Whenever oil batch is cleaned, there would be particles of various sizes.
The first stage is the largest micron rating i.e 50 micron or 25 micron. Second stage could be a medium sized micron rating may be 10 or 16 or 20 micron and the final one, polishing filter stage could be 6, 3 or 1 micron. The decision of micron rating depends on the kind of oil, level of dirt present in the oil and the application where this equipment is used.
The efficiency of these filters ensures faster oil cleaning. It's very essential to select the micron ratings in appropriate manner and use the equipment as per the instructions of the manufacturer. Avoiding it might result in drastic increment of filter consumptions.
Low Vacuum Dehydration
This technique is used for removal of moisture content from the oil which is present in three forms:
3) Free form
The technology evolves around the fact that water boiling point is 100℃, when the vapour pressure above the water surface is atmospheric pressure. But when we reduce the vapour pressure to a vacuum condition say 750 torr, it's evident that the boiling point of water reduces from 100℃ to 60℃.
Under this technique, there is a vacuumized chamber and a shower arrangement for the oil (mixed with moisture). There is a heater arrangement which heats up the oil under controlled temperature settings of maximum 60℃, when the heated oil is showered inside the vacuum chamber which is controlled at 750 torr vacuum, moisture particles would be evaporated or vaporised under the vacuumized conditions thereby separating the moisture from the oil. Clean oil is collected at the bottom of the chamber and delivered into the system using a delivery power.
This technique is quite popular and it is the latest. It's better than the previous techniques of centrifuging, coalescing and moisture absorption because of the very reason that:
(i) it removes all three forms of moisture
(ii) it does not involve any consumables or costly spares because of rotating parts
Electrostatic Fluid Cleaning
This calls for electrostatically charged electrodes inside a water bath.
It is a known fact that all foreign particles carry some charge. While we create positive and negative electrodes on the oil bath, the foreign particles which are negatively charged would be attracted towards the positive charged electrode and vice-versa. Thereby, after some interval of oil passage the particles would be attracted towards the respective oppositely charged electrode and a separation of particles happen.
It’s also to be noted that this technology fails whenever motion is present above 500 ppm in the oil. Because under such circumstances the electrolyte solution (oil to be purified) becomes a conductive media and there would be no electrolytic charge present on the electrodes.
Dry Inert Gas Blanketing
This technique talks about creation of an inert gas blanket in the header space of oil tanks.
It has been seen that the header space of oil tanks specially in the coastal areas is full of humid air. This humidity is the biggest concern for oil oxidation and degradation. Hence, dry inert gas blanketing technology enables us to create dry environment in the header space of these tanks. Having an inert gas ensures absence of oxygen which would be the key element for oxidation and oil degradation.
This technique has enabled number of governing systems, lube oil systems in the coastal regions and they help them to reduce the problems of oil oxidation and degradation.
TAN Reduction by Ion Exchange
This is a technology which is used for reduction of TAN (Total Acid Number) value in the oil. TAN value is an indication of total acidity formed in the oil which leads to an understanding of oil degradation.
If we analyse the oil chemistry, there would be an understanding that oil degrades and forms carbonic acids and carboxylic acid groups. These lead to a condition where the oil is no more lubricating and it loses its basic properties. Hence, it is very important to maintain the TAN value within manufacturer subscribed limits.
The technology of ion exchange is talking about passage of oil streams through vertical columns which are filled with appropriate anion resin or rather a WBA (Weak Base Anion). These resins attack the acid content in the oil stream, absorb them and separate out the acid content from the oil stream. The selection of the resin is a key factor to success of this technology. The most versatile or most popular implementation of this technology is for the FRF or EH oil used for the governing system or the control system of any turbine. It has been seen that FRF or EH oil is normally very costly and due to its hygroscopic nature, it catches moisture very fast thereby gets oxidized, degrades and generates a lot of acid contents from within the chemistry of FRF.
The chemistry of FRF is phosphate ester. It differs for various manufacturers, but a degradation of all of these leads to accumulation of the acid content in the oil. If the acid content goes beyond 0.2 mgKOH/gm, the oil is not fit for use. It may lead to several issues like wall failures, leakages, malfunctioning of the system thereby the chances of entire power system going on a shutdown is at risk. The technology of TAN reduction by ion exchange (TRIX) has been very successful for removal of the TAN value from the FRF. There have been multiple instances where Minimac team has ensured reduction of TAN value from 3.0 level to less than 0.2 level. We have more than 25 - 30 installations successfully running in the country for this technique.
High Velocity Flushing
This is a technique to clean pipelines, cavities, internals of the components.
Turbulence in the pipelines is required. To create turbulence in a fluid, there is a factor called Reynolds Number which should be more than 4000. Minimac Systems designs and develops equipment which have the pumping capability, filtration as well as heating capability thereby creating turbulence inside the pipelines to be flushed. We ensure optimum amount of oil flow, appropriate filtration levels and controlled heating for the purpose of flushing.
The technology does not stop only for application on lube oil, but can be extended for chemical cleaning, water glycol flushing, water flushing and hydraulic oil flushing. The key element for right product offering depends on the requirement of the client and the diameter of the pipeline as well as the fluid which has to be used for flushing.
A technique used to separate vapours, liquids, soluble particles, or oil from some other fluid through a coalescing effect.
The coalescing effect is the coming together of liquid aerosols to form a larger whole which is easier to filter out of the system due to increased weight.
Phase separation of liquids using specific gravities.