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Automated drum decanting

30 November 2020

CELLIER, BLENDING and Formulation Solutions, part of ABB France, has brought to the market the High Viscosity Drum Decanting System, designed to pump and dose highly viscous liquids stored in drums and incorporating them into the formulation process.

Widely used in the chemicals industry to store high-value raw materials and additives, drums and barrels regularly require emptying, dosing, and rinsing. Increasingly, the materials being kept within have a high viscosity level.

Nicolas Vairyo, R&D Technology Manager Cellier B&F solutions in ABB said: “Viscosity determines how well the material will flow in production and transportation. Sticky and thicker materials are harder to pump which makes the decanting process longer, more energy intensive and impacts the production process cycle time. The Drum Decanting process remains largely manual and in order to break down the viscosity, drum ovens are used. Reaching extremely high temperatures these can be dangerous to operate, can damage the chemicals’ properties and have an impact on plant energy consumption.”

ABB’s High Viscosity Drum Decanting System is an automated station designed to increase pumping capacity of highly viscous products by up to 20,000 centistokes and to reduce operator drum handling time by 50 percent. Immediately after pumping is completed, materials are automatically transferred via pigged lines to its required destination.

Roger Gabriel, HSE Manager B&F solutions in ABB commented: “Worker safety is paramount in this process and we have worked hard to ensure operator exposure to hazards is nil. As part of our system, we have developed a screen barrier as well as incorporating a camera into the machine casing which acts as a virtual “safety perimeter” around the machine. If this safety perimeter is crossed while the machine is processing, movement and action are automatically stopped.”

Incorporating a high-pressure rinsing nozzle for cleaning the drums after use, and by automating the entire decanting process, ABB ensures reduction of waste by up to 90 percent, removing any residual quantity in the drums, minimizing cross contamination of pumped products and recycling effluents in the production cycle. 

Supplied with an operator terminal for recipe management, the system also ensures accurate dosing within 0.2Kg, which increases first pass yield (FPY), driving up product quality by adding the exact dose required the first time.