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Manufacturing: tips for manufacturing synthetic resins.

Q. In our coating plants, we produce many types of synthetic resins and for each type we must comply with several recipes. Is there an easier, more reliable way to monitor the product viscosity and determine the end of the reaction other than the classical manual sampling and laboratory testing?

A. There are reactor mounted viscometers with probes inserted in the reactor. Generally, they are unreliable because of inaccurate temperature measurements and interferences with nitrogen bubbles or solid particles in the reactor contents.

The best and most accurate way is on-line continuous viscosity measurement where a small quantity of product is circulated through a viscometer mounted in an independently temperature controlled enclosure nearby the reactor. Such a system is used for alkyd, polyester, epoxy resins and polycondensation reactions.

There are several considerations that must be addressed with on-line continuous viscosity measurement such as: In order to operate the system, a flanged connection must be available or installed on the lower section of the reactor. This may not be always the case with existing equipment. The system is limited to resin manufacturing reactions where the viscosity evolves during the batch and represents a valuable parameter to monitor.

However, this viscosity measurement system presents several advantages: The signal generated by the viscometer is directly correlated to the product viscosity. It represents a real time measurement and reliable way to monitor the reaction process. This viscosity monitoring can be made at temperatures different from the reactor temperature, thus allowing flexibility with the instrument calibration and the selection of the viscosity range.

The end of the reaction can be exactly determined, thus eliminating off specs products and waste.

The process can be entirely automated, thus reducing batch time and operating costs.

Product quality as endpoint viscosity can be achieved for each recipe.

--Bernard Seguy, RHE America


Bernard Seguy is President of RHE America. He holds a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lille in France.

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Title Annotation:Q & A
Author:Seguy, Bernard
Publication:JCT CoatingsTech
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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