All posts by johnerichoffmann

It’s Not “Who You Know”…

Congratulations to our Dr. Erin Sorensen, New Products and Applications Manager at PRISM Membranes, who was selected to present at the 2018 Society of Women Engineers conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center.erin-sorenson-speaker

Doctor Sorensen presented a “lightning talk” about influencing without authority. Her presentation provides a guide for gaining support for projects even though you may be delegating tasks to people who have no direct reporting connection to you. For more information, get the downloadable influence-without-authority handout. It’s a great reference for anyone in business who works in teams.

The Society of Women Engineers 2018 conference was held at the MCC October 18th through the 20th with a host of workshops and career tools for women in engineering roles. The theme of this year’s event was about breaking boundaries for women engineers at every stage of their careers.

Safe Every Day

One day per year, all the Air Products PRISM Membranes equipment is idled and our employees gather for a “Safety Stand Down” where we review the last fiscal year and pause to reflect on what went right. Employees from all production shifts gather together to learn new ways to work safely and then to spend some time with co-workers during a day of celebration, some games, food, karaoke, and good fun.

Our teams celebrated another fiscal year ending with no recordable injuries. This is an impressive achievement since our facility operates multiple production lines on a continuous basis. Fiber is produced 24 hours a day 7 days per week, which means that we staff multiple production shifts working around the clock. There are employees working with industrial equipment that spins, cuts, crimps, and energizes the separators throughout the manufacturing process, creating opportunities for something to go badly.

 

Safety is first. This is embedded in our culture and our results show that our employees are serious about working safely and helping others to work safely. Every employee is required to participate in the APT (Accident Prevention Technique) program where processes and working conditions are observed and reported, safe work practices are encouraged, and potential problems are corrected before injuries occur.

Congrats everyone. Way to stay safe!

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Fire prevention equipment made with PRISM PA nitrogen separators.

A shout out to our friends at Engineered Corrosion Solutions in Saint Louis, Missouri.

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Engineered Corrosion Solutions will be exhibiting at SFPE’s Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tennessee from October 28 – October 30, 2018. As an annual participant, this is going to be the biggest year for ECS yet.  Stop by table #25 for hands-on product demonstrations of ECS product offerings:

Engineered Corrosion Solutions is using the PRISM PA nitrogen separators as part of their wall mount fire sprinkler corrosion prevention system. Be sure to check out the great work that they are doing keeping our buildings safe.

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Why are PRISM separators made of plastic?

Air Products PRISM Membranes decided many years ago, to create membrane gas separators that are lightweight and durable. Evaluating many available materials, our engineers selected ABS for the shell (bodies) of the separators and aluminum end caps for the connection ports.

Our product philosophy is to provide a product that can be easily handled during assembly or field maintenance. The lightweight PRISM Membrane separators can be managed by one technician without the need for additional lift assist equipment. A benefit of PRISM Membrane separators is that they are a great fit for mobile systems. This is handy when your system is in a remote oilfield or in the hull of a ship.

Is ABS a good material choice for industrial products?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer. It has a strong resistance to corrosive chemicals and physical impacts. It’s easy to machine and is very structurally sturdy, which is why it is used in things like camera housings and car bumpers. ABS is relatively harmless as it doesn’t have any known carcinogens and there are no known adverse health effects related to ABS exposure. If you need a lightweight and durable material that holds up well to external impacts, ABS is a good choice.

So, is it OK to have an untreated aluminum component exposed to the elements?

When aluminum oxidizes, it forms aluminum oxide. This naturally occurring oxide layer, which forms on any exposed aluminum surface, protects the metal from any further deterioration. Plus, any surface scratches immediately form a new oxidation layer, making the surface self-healing.

Aluminum Oxide is used in many products for its hardness and strength, primarily in abrasive products like cutting tools and sandpaper, where the aluminum oxide is a substitute for industrial diamonds. If you’re looking for a strong, scratchproof coating, aluminum oxide is a clear winner.

Note: Air Products PRISM Membrane separators are also manufactured in other materials, like stainless-steel, for specialty applications.

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Air Dryers that Don’t Remove Water

We get a number of questions about the dehydration membrane separators and how they work. One of the confusing aspects of membrane dryers is that they do not process liquid water.

Sounds confusing – right? A dryer removes moisture. So why would a membrane dryer not remove water?

Gas separation membranes work at the molecular level. When a compressed air stream is being “dehydrated” the water vapor is actually being separated from the compressed air stream. This separation is the result of the very fast water molecule being able to diffuse into the membrane material and permeate out much faster than other air molecules like oxygen or nitrogen. This is not the same as a “filter” which blocks particulates and holds onto them. The smallest water droplets have a diameter of 0.01 to 1 micron, which is very tiny.  But, water molecules are incredibly small with a typical diameter of 2.75 Angstroms (0.000275 microns). This makes the tiniest liquid phase water droplet 3600x larger than its vapor phase cousin. The droplets don’t have a chance of diffusing and permeating simply because they are too large.

Standard pretreatment is to ensure that all liquid water and entrained mists are removed. This also includes all traces of compressor oil, which will also cause damage. In properly designed systems, PRISM Membrane dryers will deliver consistently dehydrated compressed air (or gas) streams for years without the need to replace parts or consumable media.

 

 

 

Pushing the bounds of science. Again.

Air Product’s Dr. Adam Kratochvil will be presenting a brief synopsis of his work in developing thermally rearranged (TR) hollow fiber membranes at the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) conference in June 2018. The NAMS conference gives students and scientists, who are actively exploring new membrane technologies, a forum to present their research and to exchange ideas with others in their field of exploration.

DrKratochvil_96dpiThe TR technology was discovered by Hanyang University in Korea and is now licensed by Air Products PRISM® Membranes.  A TR hollow fiber membrane allows for very precise separations of molecules through the unique membrane structure resulting from a tightly controlled manufacturing process.  Adam will present the development process of the new TR polymer, hollow fiber membrane, and techno-economic evaluations for natural gas sweetening applications.  Scaling the process to commercial production presents a monumental challenge and Dr. Kratochvil has some valuable insights into making the process work successfully.


NAMS 2018 is being hosted by The University of Kentucky and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology at the Hilton Lexington in Lexington, KY, USA.

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Removing Carbon Dioxide is Cool!

In applications involving carbon dioxide separation, like biogas upgrading, there is Joule-Thomson cooling from the expansion of carbon dioxide across the membrane.

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In thermodynamics, the Joule–Thomson effect describes the temperature change of a real gas or liquid when it is forced through a valve or porous plug. This procedure is called a throttling process or Joule–Thomson process. The effect is named after James Prescott Joule and William Thomson, who discovered it in 1852.

At room temperature, all gases (except hydrogen, helium and neon) cool upon expansion by the Joule–Thomson process. This throttling process is used in machines like air conditioners, heat pumps, and liquefiers to take advantage of the cooling effect.

In the biogas illustration, heat loss to the ambient surroundings will cause the membrane separators to cool, which affects productivity. These effects need to be minimized when designing systems.

Air Products PRISM Membranes has an experienced staff of process and application engineers that will work with your team to identify these types of system variables before your systems are deployed.

Contact Air Products PRISM Membranes for more information about gas separations and technical assistance.

If We Can’t Answer the Phone on Tuesday Mornings, You Now Know Why

We’re extra busy on Tuesday mornings! This is the time that the Site Director, and practically our whole entire membrane business, gathers together for a weekly manufacturing and quality control review. Our “Stand Up” meetings are casual and usually only last 15 minutes… but we are committed to being there every week to share ideas about improving quality and high productivity on our manufacturing floor. We’re proud that Continuous Improvement is part of our membrane manufacturing culture.

By the way, we’ll gladly call you back if you leave a message.

Patent Expiration Inspires Manufacturers

In September of 2012, Keurig’s patent on the original K-Cup expired. Manufactures in the food and beverage industry hustled to produce their own cartridge cups for single cup coffee makers. A few of these manufactures use small nitrogen systems that our preferred partner, The Titus Company, makes. On the inside of these systems are our PRISM nitrogen membrane separators which generate the nitrogen that the application requires. It’s exciting to hear of the diverse ways that our membrane is used…and in this case, the coffee grounds are surrounded in nitrogen before the foil lid is sealed to preserve the grounds better. Then, the coffee can be distributed to Amazon, or Target, or any other grocery store without losing flavor or spoiling.

Titus Nitrogen System
Titus Nitrogen System