Overview of Industrial Centrifuges
A centrifuge is a device, which employs a high rotational speed to separate components of different densities. This becomes relevant in the majority of industrial jobs where solids, liquids and gases are merged into a single mixture and the separation of these different phases is necessary. A decanter centrifuge separates solid materials from liquids in slurry and therefore plays an important role in wastewater treatment, chemical, oil and food processing industries. There are several factors that affect the performance of a decanter centrifuge and some design heuristics to be followed which are dependent upon given applications.
Range of Industrial Centrifuge Applications
The main application of decanter centrifuges is to separate large amounts of solids from liquids on a continuous basis. They are also used to wash and dry various solids in industry, such as polystyrene beads, clarify liquids and concentrate solids.
Petrochemical/oil Industry Examples
- Oil well drilling
- Lubricating oil additives
- Waste oil stream recycling
Industrial and Biological Wastewater Treatment Industry Examples
- Municipal wastewater
- Cleaning of wash water
The rapid development of the decanter centrifuge over the 20th century saw it expand into a vast range of over 100 industrial applications. Further development since then has seen the refinement of machine design and control methods, improving its overall performance, which allows the system to respond quickly to varying feed conditions. The newest development in decanter centrifuge technology aims to achieve enhanced control of the separation process occurring inside the decanter. The way in which manufacturers aim to address this is by utilizing variable mechanical devices in the rotating part of the decanter centrifuge. To control the separation process, the operational parameters should be transferred from the rotating part to the stationary part of the decanter whilst also constantly controlling and maintaining the mechanical device inside the process region. This can be achieved using hydraulic and electronic transfer systems. A hydraulic drive motor is easily able to access the rotating area of the decanter centrifuge.
There are numerous manufacturers specializing in mechanical separation technology that have adapted these new designs into industrial standard equipment. This advanced technology has allowed decanter centrifuges to operate up to 250 cubic meters per hour and has developed numerous designs such as the Z8E decanter, known as the world's largest decanter centrifuge with an adjustable impeller, which supplies a torque of 24,000 newton meters. Other designs can reduce power consumption by up to thirty percent due to a large slurry discharge, and are best utilized in the water treatment industry.