Application 1021

Automatic loading and unloading of a production scale rotating bed reactor

The separation of a heterogeneous catalyst, an adsorbent, or an ion-exchange resin from a liquid product is a time-consuming unit operation that often makes the use of these materials impractical. The rotating bed reactor is a more efficient technology for deploying catalysts for manufacturing or adsorbents for purification.

There are many options for how to deploy a rotating bed reactor (RBR). The RBR is easily loaded with catalysts, adsorbents or ion-exchange resin with minimal manual labor, and in situations where manual intervention is prohibited (e.g. very hazardous applications) the methods of automatic loading are particularly useful.

This video demonstrates one concept for loading and unloading the rotating bed reactor in-situ, eliminating the need to open the reactor and repack it manually. Cleaning-in-place (CIP) is also possible by the use of integrated nozzles in the vessel.

SpinChem’s industrial solutions provide

  • Fast processes
  • Simplified operations & automation
  • Improved stability of solid-phase materials
  • Scalable and predictable performance

The reactor can be charged with solid-phase materials dry from a bag or as a slurry, and are captured by the rotating bed reactor where they are protected from mechanical damage. After the process completes, the solids are retained by the RBR during the emptying of the product and even while rinsing the solids. When the solids should be released, doing so is possible without opening the reactor vessel. The technology is easy to automate for 24/7 operation, which would further reduce the cost of operation and increase the productivity.


Further reading


Conditions: A SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S511 was used in a 38 cm diameter cylindrical reaction vessel filled with 60 L water containing phenolphthalein as pH indicator. To this 2 L of ion exchange beads (IRN 99 H+, about 500 µm particle size) were added, followed by 0.5 L NaOH (1 M). During loading and reaction the RBR was spinning at 200 rpm, whereas 50 rpm was used during draining and unloading. The RBR was emptied by spraying water from nozzles in three baffles installed within the reaction vessel.

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