Pro-Vac Handles Difficult Distillation Problem

The Challenge:

A manufacturer of small parts has approximately 25 screw machines which produce a waste stream of 500 gallons of oil and mineral spirits per week. The old separation process generated oil that contained water from a steam injection process and mineral spirits that contained a specific amount of oil. Since the customer could only reuse the mineral spirits and had to dispose of the oil at significant cost, they wanted a system that would allow them to reclaim both components. This is how they handled a difficult distillation problem.

The Solution:

PRI’s research and experience have shown that simple “pot” stills will not separate mineral spirits and oil because they are so similar in nature. After evaluating customer requirements for purity and quantity of material to be processed, PRI proposed a steam heated PRO-VAC 200 unit. This distillation unit has a uniquely designed separation chamber and a special process loop to give the same separation effect as a large scale, multi-stage tower. By using a special vacuum system to reduce the pressure in the distillation chamber, the boiling point of the waste stream is reduced to ensure no harmful odors from the oil were emitted into the workplace.

To convince the customer that the PRO-VAC was the proper unit for their application, PRI performed tests on the mixture and showed them the purity of the oil and mineral spirits they could expect. They were impressed that the mineral spirits showed no trace of oil and that the oil was pure enough that it could be used again for machine lubrication. Designing the steam system with a recirculation loop enabled a reduction in the size and cost of operating the steam boiler.

By recycling both components of the waste stream we have reduced their amount of hazardous waste that has to be shipped out for disposal. Not only has the company saved money, but they are also meeting corporate goals of reducing the facility’s environmental impact.

Separating mineral spirits and oil is just one of the many difficult applications that PRI has successfully addressed to answer the needs of our customers. A creative engineering staff and custom manufacturing capability give PRI the ability to present the customer with the best solution to their problem and not just “make do” with off-the-shelf systems