Centrifugal Technology Used in The Manufacturing IndustryApril 30, 2018
Centrifugal devices are at the centre of every industry from genetic engineering to commercial hygiene and space travel. The very depth and scope of this technology would leave your head spinning. Unfortunately, it mainly exists in the unseen portions of these industries, so it often gets taken for granted.
For example, in the world of medicine, we all know about the microscopes, petri dishes, and the massive diagnostic machines with the futuristic digital printouts, but we rarely get to see the centrifugal devices that isolate cells, bacteria, and allergens that help us discover and solve all these problems. Let’s look at some of the little known ways that centrifuge are used in manufacturing plants around the world.
A lot of heat is released when products are being manufactured, whether it’s the products themselves being smelted or just the general running of the machinery. To keep all this equipment in good condition, coolant fluid is passed over or through the components to keep them working. Sometimes, the coolant is applied while the machines are actively in use.
Coolant fluid can be oil based or water-based. In addition to controlling heat levels and keeping equipment at safe working temperatures, it can be used to lubricate machine parts and keep them from jamming. In the process, coolant gets contaminated with dirt, dust, metal shards, glass powders, and other chemicals.
Before this fluid can be recycled or disposed, it has to pass through a filtration process to get rid of the toxins. There are different types of filters, including magnetic ones to extract metal elements, or organic ones to remove fungi and bacteria. Most of these filtration machines have a centrifugal blower or exhauster.
Managing liquid waste
In vacumatic filtration machines, the blower creates a vacuum that pulls through liquids, leaving solid particles on the surface, while a smaller centrifugal blower puffs air on the surface solids, drying them into a disposable cake. In other types of filters, centrifugal spinning drums pull the solids onto the sides of its cask, releasing recycled water through an outlet pipe.
In coolant filtration processes, we are more interested in the liquid product than the solid one. However, in sludge dewatering, the solid has an equal or greater ‘resale value’ than the liquid waste. The primary aim of dewatering is to produce dry cakes of waste that can be deposited in a landfill at a lower cost than incinerating or some other form of waste disposal.
We are familiar with the assembly line method of putting together vehicles, electronics, and other kinds of machinery, but we neglect the process that goes into constructing those bits and bobs before they’re put together. Machine parts like filaments and spark plugs are often designed and built using metallic and carbon casts.
In turn, these casts work through centrifugal force. Metal is heated to a molten state, then poured into the mould, which spins, tossing the molten metal to the edges of the cast and shaping it into the required machine component. As the spinning metal cools, it gets pressed against the fine grains that make the outer edge of the cast. Once it solidifies, this product will be resistant to corrosion and physical force, essential properties in a component that functions in high heat and under constant pressure.
Apart from electronics and vehicular parts, centrifugal casting can also be used to build solid grains of rocket paraffin, TV tubes, glass spheres, military products, jet engine parts, and boilers. Vertical centrifuges cast cylindrical and ring-shaped products, while horizontal centrifuges offer tubular end results.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
In this sector, centrifuges are mainly used to manufacture and process food products. For example, a sludge dewatering machine could be used to separate wastewater from vegetable starch or fruit pulp. Similarly, a centrifugal separator is essential in milk processing plants, where it divides cream and fat from dairy, producing various fat grades of milk, as well as cream, whey, butter, ghee, yoghurt, and cheese.
Centrifuges are also a core part of common home appliances like blenders, washing machines, domestic blowers, blow driers, and washing machines. While these are not exactly FMCG, they are ubiquitous features in any home, and their beneficial applications wouldn’t be possible without the power of a (small) centrifuge.