Over the years, the use of several compressed gases in industries has increased. Acetylene is one such gas that has gained immense popularity in various industries because of the several benefits it offers. Today, acetylene production and filling plants are being installed at many facilities around the world. With increasing use, global standards are being identified on the design, construction, use, and maintenance of acetylene plants. Regular maintenance is one of the keys to maintain these plants in a good working condition. Acetylene production plants have many key parts including agitators, which contribute to their functioning. This post discusses the functioning of the agitator, problems faced by this part, and steps taken toward its regular maintenance to avoid unplanned down-time.
What is the Role Played by an Agitator in Acetylene Production Plants?
Acetylene plants are equipped with an electrically-driven agitator, which comprises a shaft. This shaft is attached to various paddles and runs through the length of the tank. The agitator stirs the lime water residue and aids in maintaining its consistency. This stirring helps start the reaction of carbide with water, thereby helping ensure greatest acetylene yield.
With the Rexarc design, the agitator is set on a timer to rotate for 2 minutes in a time span of 10 minutes and runs whenever the screwfeed is adding calcium carbide. It is always recommended to keep the agitator working even when the acetylene production plant is not working as it keeps lime from settling in the tank. The settled lime may create high localized temperatures, block drain outlets and overload electrical components when the power to the agitator is resumed.
Problem Faced by Agitators
Shaft misalignment and deflection is the most common problem faced by agitators. This misalignment may be caused due to several reasons, of which the lack of lubrication is one of the prime reasons. Misaligned shafts lead to leakage of lime slurry and speed up the premature packing failure. This premature failure may further lead to unscheduled downtime, expensive part replacements, and repairs.
It is important to lubricate the agitator shaft to avoid the shaft misalignment. The shaft must be lubricated with grease one time per day. Unfortunately, during times of a shutdown there is no one there to grease the shafts. By using an automated greasing unit, grease can be supplied 24 hours a day seven days a week which results in a much longer life for the agitator shafts and the packing.
It is always recommended to follow the instructions provided by the acetylene plant manufacturer, whenever it comes to maintenance, repair, or replacement of any part. The same applies to the agitator, too. Rexarc is one of the leading manufacturers of acetylene generation plants in the US. It provides agitator replacement parts, which are available through the manual 1-39-0348.