Talking on-line analysis
Written by: Rob Norris
As Materials Talks continues to grow, more of us at Malvern have the opportunity to welcome you into our discussions. I’m Rob Norris, Business Manager for Malvern’s Process Systems, so I’m particularly interested in any processing experience that you would like to share. My team applies Malvern’s analytical expertise in the form of rugged systems that measure in real time, within the industrial environment.
Why go on-line?
Across all manufacturing sectors there is a significant increase in the need for process analytical systems, and this requires technologies to move from lab to line. Such transitions are made, it must be said, with varying degrees of success. Manufacturing environments can be challenging for analytical kit, potentially involving exposure to dust and the need to conform to ATEX regulations, or operation in corrosive atmospheres that can degrade materials such as aluminium.
High reliability, coupled with minimal manual intervention or maintenance, is essential. And the data must be there exactly when required – 24/7 with a continuous plant, or at the crucial point for batch success.
Continuous, real-time laser diffraction particle size analysis is now the norm at many sites. There are now Insitec systems that have been in continuous service for more than a decade with virtually no downtime.
The availability of a reliable technology is not, however, a reason for use, so why is on-line measurement so popular?
Users have shared their information and some of their reasons are:
- Tighter process control
- Reduced manpower requirements
- Enhanced safety (by avoiding manual sampling and measurement)
- Premium product quality
- Increase throughput with less energy
These deliver economic gains that offset the initial outlay for installation, making on-line technology a potentially profitable investment.
Return on investment – payback time – is crucial when taking CAPEX decisions. Our research suggests Insitec systems usually return initial spend in 6-12 months, although of course every case is different. One of the most important things we do is help customers to assess the possible gains, upfront, with confidence.
The expertise of our Application Specialists is a big factor here. In addition, our highly popular consultancy service offers both a specialist and an instrument at your site, with more than 85% of participants going on to purchase their own instrument. What’s more, the information gained shortens implementation time, from what in the past may have been several months, to as little as a few days from install to closed loop operation.
Delivering the goods
Because laser diffraction is a mature process technology, there are many options for its implementation. Making the right choices with respect to: sensor technology; automation capability; and level of engineering and applications support, makes all the difference to the success of a project.
After more than a decade delivering real-time solutions, we can help you get the most from on-line technology. At the same time we seek to work collaboratively, to share risk and reward in the way that best suits our customers.
Find out more
In future blogs I’ll be exploring further the world of process analysis and the themes touched on here. Meanwhile we hope you’ll share with us your hopes and expectations for real-time particle analysis and that you’ll be questioning me rigorously as to why you should embrace the technology. I feel the case is strong!