Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering support for adding additional pickling line scrubber fume collection points within a specialty metals manufacturing facility.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a facility that manufactures beryllium metal alloys.  The production includes a pickling line which runs two continuous lines of alloy coil through a caustic bath (sodium hydroxide), dilute acid sprays, and then through a dilute sulfuric acid bath before a final water rinse.

The ventilation ductwork for the pickling line carries fumes from the process to an existing packed bed scrubber prior to exhausting the fumes to the atmosphere.  The client plans to upgrade the caustic rinse section of the pickling line and contracted with Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to evaluate the existing ductwork and make recommendations for modifications to accommodate the new pickling line configuration.  The client asked that a new fugitive emissions hood with duct be included to capture caustic fumes around the new rinse tanks.

Specific project tasks included the following:

  • Review of planned upgrades to the pickling line caustic rinse tanks.
  • Collection of field data including verification of scrubber design/operation, measurements of existing ductwork, and existing physical configuration and constraints.
  • Preparation of a hydraulic simulation model of the air flows in the ductwork to the scrubber, using field-estimated measurements, as built drawings of the existing duct, and drawings of the proposed upgrade.  Using this model, PROCESS was able to determine pressure drops, flow rates, and velocities. Based on required flow to the scrubber and desired face velocities, PROCESS recommend a modified duct configuration, including sizing, fittings, and damper locations.  PROCESS‘ licensed commercial computer process simulation software (Chemstations CHEMCAD) was used to develop this model.
  • Determination of need for an additional duct since a significant amount of fresh air must to be brought into the system in order to maintain a sufficiently high transport velocity to the scrubber.  PROCESS recommended that the client consider this duct for future tie in of another nearby pickling line, with the potential removal of the other scrubber.
  • Preparation of a specification for the new ductwork, including ductwork layout sketch in plan-view depicting the proposed physical routing.  This specification was used by the client to obtain fabrication and installation quotations from vendors.  PROCESS also assisted the client with review of vendor quotes.
  • Preparation of a detailed instrument specification for new differential pressure gauges to be installed at each pickup location so that changes in duct flow due to caustic buildup could be identified during normal operation of the line.

Industry Type

  • Specialty Metals Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Hydraulic simulation modeling and analysis
  • Small capital projects support

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