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12.03.2018 Lump breakers for hazardous materials

Van Beek, Drunen, the Netherlands, has supplied two high-specification lump breakers to the Pernis refinery of Royal Dutch Shell. Here ash and other hazardous substances are processed in the SARU facilities (SARU stands for Soot Ash Removal Unit) where they end up in a kiln incinerator fed by a rotary valve. This system has worked well for several decades but more recent waste materials have shown a tendency to clump, causing the rotary valve to block. To find a solution Shell approached the contractor Jacobs, which in turn contacted Van Beek.
Normally Van Beek would invite a company to carry out trials at its test plant but this was not possible with the hazardous materials involved. “You cannot transport these substances outside the plant. The people who work with them wear protective suits and treat the substances with the greatest possible care,” explained Van Beek sales engineer Roel Kneepkens. Consequently a test set-up was installed in the SARU plant. Following successful results, Shell ordered two lump breakers for two identical lines. These were of special design to cope with the hazardous materials. All the welds were tested for air-tightness with a dye penetrant inspection. Each unit was fitted with heavy-duty seals on the input and output side and all seals are dustproof. There is also a slight excess pressure on the seals to ensure there is no product leakage from the units. The fact that Shell works carefully and securely for projects of this type is reflected by the time taken between the first enquiry in April 2015 and final commissioning in December 2017: the first talks were in August 2015, followed by a day of meetings in February 2016; in April that year the final order was placed with delivery completed by January 2017. 
One of the specially modified Van Beek lump breakers installed at Shell’s Pernis site.

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