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5 Vessel Design Requirements for Optimizing Food Grade, Specialty and High-Performance Lubricant Manufacturing

Not all lubricant products are manufactured equal. At least not when it comes to mixing vessels. General purpose lubricants for example, can typically be processed using conventional, widely available mixing systems. But other products, like food-grade, specialty and high-performance lubricants, can pose mixing, temperature and safety challenges that require specialized vessel features and performance.

To meet these processing challenges, manufacturers may be wise to emphasize five key characteristics in their processing vessels for optimal results.

1. Robust Design and Construction to Efficiently Mix and Blend High-Viscosity Products

To effectively mix high-viscosity greases, your processing vessel requires drive-units strong enough to continuously move thick, heavy ingredients. All components of the drive system — gearbox, driveshaft, bearings, agitator assembly and other moving parts — must be ruggedly designed and precisely fabricated to withstand the stress of constant operation.

2. Vacuum Operation for Trouble-Free Ingredient Addition and Thorough De-Aeration

Processing vessels with vacuum operation capability and a dedicated ingredient addition valve do a much better job of drawing key dry powder ingredients into the unit and dispersing them into the liquid batch. Adding this functionality to your mixing vessel improves consistency and worker safety and limits the risk of fisheyes or other lumps of unmixed material collecting on the top of the batch.

3. Special Vessel and Jacket Design for High-Temperature Operation

In some cases, lubricants require processing at temperatures well above the 350-degree limit for steam heating in conventional vessels. But a vessel engineered to circulate special heat transfer fluids in the jacket can boost processing temperatures to near 500 degrees. Recognize however, that this high-temperature operation requires a highly efficient and durable jacket design, to consistently transfer heat to the vessel sidewalls while withstanding continuous long-term operations at elevated temperatures.

4. Vessel and Mixer Design to Maximize Product Yield

Lubrication manufacturing often requires costly ingredients, especially for high performance or specialty products. To maximize yield, the vessel and agitator must be designed to efficiently clear product from the vessel sidewalls and discharge it from the vessel. Less efficient designs can leave excess batch material at the bottom of the vessel. This can result in ingredients being wasted outright or requiring manual clearance or recovery at extra cost.

5. Sanitary Design for Food-Grade Lubricant Production

Vessels designed for food-grade lubricant manufacturing must be fabricated in stainless steel for sanitary, contaminant-free operation. They must also include aspects of their design that promote fast, efficient cleanability, such as improved surface grades, to minimize contamination risk.

Lee Process Engineers Can Customize a Vessel to Your Manufacturing Needs

What processing requirements are unique to your product? Whatever they may be, Lee’s process engineers can custom-design a vessel that meets your exact specifications. Consult with the Lee Applications Engineering team to discuss the kind of vessel that can make your lubrication manufacturing process better than it’s ever been.

Download our Lubricant Processing & Mixing Guide to learn more about optimizing your setup.


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