In the business of industrial gas production, consistent product quality is an absolute requirement. To ensure this consistency is maintained, raw gas from production facilities is tapped off their main supply lines for analysis.
However, this gas is often saturated with water, which hampers reliable analysis. Here RTS Africa Engineering, a Tshwane-based engineering solutions provider to industry’s toughest challenges, has come up with an innovative solution in the form of the RTS Africa desiccant dryer.
"Our desiccant dryer ensures reliable analysis and, consequently, stable and consistent quality for users of industrial gases," points out Ian Fraser, Managing Director of RTS Africa Engineering. In some applications, moisture in gases used in industry can cause serious damage to plant and loss of production, he points out.
'Wet' gas is piped into the dryer through its 1/4” NPT stainless-steel needle valve, which regulates the gas flow. The dryer consists of a transparent PVC or Perspex tube fitted with PVC ends. The gas passes through a water-absorbing bedconsisting of fused-alumina pellets. While the RTS Africa desiccant dryer is most commonly used to dry hydrogen or oxygen, it is suitable for drying numerous other gases.
The dryer can be installed in plants of varying sizes, as it will handle a flow rate of between 100ml/minute and 1,000ml/minute and a maximum pressure of 0.5kPa. In its operating environment, it will function efficiently in temperatures of up to 75˚C.
For plant operators, the fact that the dryer is transparent greatly aids in its monitoring. The desiccating pellets, when dry, are bright orange, progressively turning to dark blue when they are loaded with water. Operators can easily observe this and either change the saturated pellets for dry, or place the pellets in an oven at 110˚C for an hour to dry them.
"Installation of our desiccant dryers in the sample line after the pressure regulator and before the analyser is very simple," says Fraser, adding that, apart from changing or regenerating the pellets, the dryer is maintenance-free. He advises that unions should be fitted at both the inlet and outlet connections to facilitate removal of the dryer for desiccant regeneration or replacement.
Fraser also points out that the RTS Africa desiccant dryer fits in with the company's gas analyser business, particularly its H2Scan hydrogen analysers, which provide hydrogen-specific monitoring solutions that are able to detect and measure hydrogen against virtually any background gases, without false readings.
RTS Africa has been a pioneer in the filtration of dust particles from air flows. The company's flagship offering - inertial spin filters - have achieved wide acceptance in the mining industry, for example; as they have been highly effective in removing hazardous dust particles from on-site ventilation. As it has with its spin filters, RTS Africa has brought its innovative skills to bear in the development of the RTS Africa desiccant dryer, finding an effective solution to assist in the detection of impurities in industrial gases.
"By providing original and pioneering solutions which lead to the reliable analysis of industrial gases, the RTS Africa desiccant dryer plays a much-needed role in the service of gas-consuming industries, which are absolutely essential to any modern industrialised and manufacturing economy," Fraser concludes.