Nutsche Filter Refurbishment due to a Change in Production

Nutsche Filter Refurbishment due to a Change in Production

The Challenge

Due to market trends, production in the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries can change quickly: schedules and products change constantly. The ability to quickly adapt existing plants to meet new market requirements is a competitive advantage that combines internal project management skills and suppliers’ abilities.

In 2002 Delta delivered a Nutsche filter dryer designed for agricultural intermediates, according to the customer’s specs.

In 2014, after several years of operation, the entire line of production was stopped, and the machine was put on standby. At the end of 2020, market needs called for the production of an API, rather than the previous production of agricultural intermediates, and the customer asked Delta to refurbish the machine with this new purpose in mind.

Our Solution

After receiving the Nutsche filter dryer at its workshop, the Delta team assessed the status of the machine to determine what modifications would be needed to put the machine into production for APIs. This also included a check of the original documentation for the filter dryer.

The physical assessment of the machine first involved a visual test, to check for macro deformation or damage. A thickness test was also needed, to determine if the thickness of any part of the vessel was reduced due to years of operation or corrosion. Finally, operations tests were conducted to assess movements that the machine should be able to perform (i.e. agitator rotation, agitator lifting and lowering, discharge valve opening and closing, etc.)

The documental check found that the filter dryer was designed for a safe area, while the new installation room would be classified as explosive.

The physical assessment found that the agitator impeller was totally deformed; the filtering sheet was broken in many places and corroded by the product that remained inside the vessel after the last production; the tightness of the pressure vessel was affected by the failure of old gaskets; and the oleodynamic system was damaged in such a way that it was impossible to operate the machine.

Delta proposed the following actions to put the machine into service for API production:

  • Total surface polishing to attain pharma-grade.
  • Replacement of all gaskets with those suitable for API production.
  • Substitution of damaged parts (mainly the oleodynamic system and filtering sheet).
  • Replacement of the agitator seal with one for a pharma design (a double mechanical seal dry type was selected and installed).
  • To address the issue of the new explosive area in which the equipment has to be installed, all components that could pose a risk of explosion were replaced so that a new certificate could be issued. In particular, all the agitator driving system, instruments, and sensors were replaced with ones in compliance with installation area classification.
old nutsche arriving

The Results

Due to market trends, production in the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries can change quickly: schedules and products change constantly. The ability to quickly adapt existing plants to meet new market requirements is a competitive advantage that combines internal project management skills and suppliers’ abilities.

before and after