Gea redesigns its Sanicip bag filter for spray dryers

Better efficiency, cost savings, and easier maintenance

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Sanicip
The Gea Sanicip II bag filter for spray dryers delivers greater efficiency, cost savings, and is easier to maintain. Photo – Gea

GEA has made a series of significant changes to its trusted Sanicip bag filtration system for food and dairy spray dryers in a long-term development project that claims to offer valuable operational benefits to users of the new equipment.

The new Sanicip II (patent pending) maintains and controls the pressure drop through the filtration bags more effectively by promoting longer production times and reducing CIP intervals, says Gea. Combined with other advances, such as easier maintenance and better space utilization than its predecessor, bag life is now up to 50% longer. These developments add to the more reliable operation, financial savings, and a better working environment for operators.

Following extensive studies with customers, Gea identified key areas where design modifications could be made in this new generation of Sanicip technology. Using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques to optimize airflow within the filter, Gea said that it was able to reduce the length of the filter bags from up to 7 meters to just 4.5 meters and, by reducing the diameter and increasing the number of bags within the filter chamber, retained the total filtration surface area of the system. This fundamental change results in increased practicality and efficiency while contributing several additional benefits:

Shorter filtration bags and cages

An internal cage structure supports each filtration bag. The 4.5-meter cages are much lighter in weight than their longer predecessors, making maintenance easier. Likewise, the shorter cages can be fabricated as a single piece, rather than joining two structures, allowing the cage to come more easily and more quickly into position. And its rigidity makes it more structurally sound. Gea has also made the fixing system for each cage obsolete, eliminating the need for loose bolts, nuts, and brackets, which were difficult and time consuming for engineers to handle during routine maintenance. The shorter filtration bags are exposed to less turbulence making them less prone to mechanical wear and extending their operational life by up to 50%.

Resilient dedusting system to better maintain pressure loss

Gea has also looked closely at the design of its dedusting system, essentially comprising super-sonic nozzles and rapid diaphragm valves. The system ensures the powder that builds upon the bags is pulsed down into the filter’s bottom. Using CFD techniques combined with full-scale testing has allowed Gea to make precise adjustments to the profile of the super-sonic nozzles and their position and the diaphragm valve design. According to Gea, this, combined with the shorter bags and the novel inlet system, ensures that the powder on the bags is carefully controlled and never exceeds the desired level. As a result, the need for frequent cleaning, which would otherwise seriously affect production schedules, is drastically reduced, and the pressure loss through the bags can be maintained indefinitely. The improved dedusting capability was already made available in more recent Sanicip models, and with these additional updates, it is now fitted as standard on the Sanicip II.

Adaptive layout featuring novel inlet solution

Gea made another important change by redesigning the inlet from the spray dryer, which is now vertical instead of horizontal. This facilitates a much more even distribution of air within the filter, reduces the footprint required, and allows for a more adaptive plant layout. Moreover, this adaptive layout may, in some instances, allow for lower building heights, thereby lowering capital investment, which can be substantial, particularly in areas with high regulatory cost and requirements, such as in earthquake-prone zones.

Operational benefits

Stig Møller Andersen, product manager for Gea in Copenhagen, states, “We listened carefully to our customers’ concerns and systematically addressed them in the new Sanicip II. The result is a bag filtration system that effectively supports the spray dryer while providing a wide range of operational benefits for the user.”

According to Gea, taken together, the optimization of the Sanicip II, compared with previous models, delivers a range of benefits for food and dairy powder processors. The most significant is the ability to control pressure loss across the filter bags, thereby extending production times and reducing CIP cycles’ need. The inlet ductwork is simple and compact, allowing the filter to be placed closer to the dryer. The shorter filtration bags experience less turbulence, so are less prone to mechanical wear. These modifications extend the bag’s operational life from 12 to 18 months or 12 CIP cycles – whichever comes first – providing substantial savings on maintenance costs and improved uptime. The reduced number of CIP cycles and lower costs for spare parts leads to an optimized total cost of ownership (TCO).

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