I was living in the North East for the past 13 years. This summer when I moved to Houston to start Jenike & Johanson’s new office, many people jokingly said, “You chose the best time for your move!” For those who may not know, weather in Houston is hot and humid in the summer time. I got to hear many stories about summer in Houston. While it might not have been the best time to move to Houston weather-wise (I know that is an understatement), it was the perfect time to start our new office.
Led by the shale gas revolution, industry is flourishing in the US Gulf Coast region. Big chemical and energy companies are planning on installing new ethylene crackers with derivatives production facilities, methanol and ammonia production plants, and specialty chemicals manufacturing facilities in the region. Companies are working on process developments for alternate fuels such as coal-to-liquid and coal-to-gas processes. Many new industrial activities are going on in the region. All these processes involve bulk solids handling at one stage or another. Studies done by Rand Corporation show that often times the delays in startup of production facilities are related to solids handling issues. These issues and costly startup delays can be avoided by properly designing solids handling systems. By being in the region at this time when companies need our help most, Jenike & Johanson’s Houston office will help our clients involve us in the process and solids handling system design right from the beginning. This will help ensure that solids handling occurs reliably and is not the cause of startup delays.
Some of the things I am helping clients with are:
- Flow properties characterization of bulk solids such as petroleum coke, coal, limestone, plastic pellets, resin, raw ingredients, etc.
- Peer review of process and bulk solids handling system design
- Plant visit for troubleshooting bulk solids flow problems such as arching/bridging, ratholing, erratic flow, discharge rate limitations, pneumatic conveying issues
- Functional design of silos, bins, and feeders
- Purge column design
- Design of transfer chutes
- Pneumatic conveying testing and system design
- Structural design of silos and transfer chutes
- Discrete Element Modeling (DEM)
- Prototype modeling
Whether designing silos to handle petroleum coke, coal, limestone or handling polymers in purge vessels, extruder feed bins, and storage silos, or handling raw chemical ingredients in hoppers, I know I am adding value and helping the clients.