Centrifuge Optimisation

Centrifuge Optimisation a £1 coin receives ‘Royal approval’ …….!?

There are many aspects surrounding the smooth operation of a vertical batch basket filtration centrifuge that need to be addressed before it can be regarded as being fully optimised.

Many believe that a centrifuge that is producing an acceptable liquid/solid separation, runs continuously, without frequent operator intervention, must surely be fully optimised. Unfortunately this is often proven not to be the case.

The feeding phase, at the very beginning of the processing cycle, is without doubt the most crucial aspect of the whole centrifuge processing cycle that must be fully addressed. Get this right and you are well on your way to eventually claiming you have a fully optimised centrifuge operation.

Operating vibration levels, especially at spin speed, are key here. Most centrifuge OEMs have the first high vibration level warning alarm set at around 20 mm/sec. Anything less than this and the centrifuge will continue operating without troubling the plant operation or operators.

The lower the vibration levels the better it will be for the mechanical wear and tear of the centrifuge and the more likely you will be able to gain a fully optimised centrifuge operation.

A fully optimised centrifuge operates at maximum spin speed with a vibration level of <10 mm/sec i.e. less than half that of the centrifuge OEM’s first alarm set point. The vast majority of vertical batch basket filtration centrifuges operating out in the field are not equipped with detailed vibration monitoring systems.

Without such detailed monitoring systems it makes Centrifuge Optimisation almost impossible for plant operatives. However, there is a way and this is where the importance of the British £1 coin comes into play. Unless you can replicate what is shown in the video accompanying this article you will not be in a position to claim you have a fully optimised centrifuge operation.

If you can get the £1 coin to stay upright and turn slowly anticlockwise, as shown, you are almost certain to achieve the following and as can be seen will also receive Her Majesty’s Royal approval in the process!.

• Optimum net capacity solids volume
• Perfectly parallel cake formation
• Perfectly concentric cake formation
• Optimum time cycle
• Maximum throughput
• Optimum cake washing efficiency
• Optimum filtrate quality
• Optimum final solids quality
• Optimum product yields
• Reduced maintenance and operating costs
• Greater up-time of the centrifuge

All this for just £1!!

If you have doubts regarding the extent of optimisation of your vertical batch basket filtration centrifuge(s) and cannot replicate the £1 challenge, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch where we can discuss your requirements in more detail.

Email – info@ncdsep-solutions.co.uk

Centrifuge Optimisation

Cane Sugar Processing Plant, Thailand

A major sugar producing organisation in Thailand recently commissioned a brand new sugar cane processing facility with a capacity of 15,000 tons of sugar cane/day plus its own power plant to generate 41 MW of electricity. The processing plant purchased a total of 12 vertical overdriven batch centrifuges and 5 vertical continuous type centrifuges.  

Initially they attempted to commission all the centrifuges in-house. Regrettably this led to the destruction of two units. NCD Separation Solutions Ltd was contacted by the centrifuge OEM and asked to visit site, firstly to evaluate the seriousness of the problem, then instigate an action plan to resolve all operating issues moving forward. 

Over a three week period all the centrifuges were successfully commissioned without any further operating problems. 

NCD Separation Solutions also delivered a comprehensive Operator Training package for all the centrifuge operators. This has led to plant capacity being met and a far more informed workforce.


Centrifuge Optimisation

Arabian Sugar Refinery, Bahrain

A total of 7 off batch basket sugar centrifuges and 5 off continuous sugar centrifuges, supplied by Thomas Broadbent & Sons of the UK, where installed at the brand new sugar refinery owned by Arabian Sugar of Bahrain.

As part of contractual conditions the centrifuges needed to demonstrate their ability to meet the Performance Acceptance Criteria before being fully accepted by Arabian Sugar.

NCD Separation Solutions Ltd was commissioned with the task of undertaking the Performance Acceptance Evaluations on behalf of the centrifuge supplier.

In addition to several key process performance criteria having to be met the Performance Acceptance Certificate would only be issued if the centrifuges were capable of maintaining the separation efficiency continuously for 120 hrs (5 days).

A total of three separate attempts were allowed in order to prove the performance of all the centrifuges. Failure to prove the performance acceptance criteria within the three attempts would result in the trials being deemed a failure and the Performance Acceptance Certificate would not be issued. The implication of such a failure would have serious contractual consequences between vendor and supplier.

Thankfully, it was possible to prove the efficiency of the centrifuges during the very first attempt. This therefore resulted in the centrifuge Performance Acceptance Certificate being issued.

NCD Separation Solutions Ltd was delighted with this result and pleased to have helped both the vendor and supplier to provide a highly successful, efficient and state of the art refined sugar facility.

Centrifuge Optimisation

Centrifuge Optimisation & Operator Training

After competing against two leading centrifuge manufacturers NCD Separation Solutions were recently awarded the contract to provide Centrifuge Optimisation and an Operator Training package for one of the UK’s leading chemical companies based in the North East of England.

Initially we will carry out a Site Survey of the centrifuges in operation and its installation of 3 off horizontal batch basket filtration centrifuge. This will identify the key problem areas that are currently preventing the centrifuge stages of the operation from being anywhere near optimised.

On completion of the Site Survey we will issue a detailed Report of our findings that will identify the key areas of concern and propose a positive way forward.

Once all the centrifuges are fully Optimised NCD Separation Solutions will provided a series of in-house Operator Training sessions for all the centrifuge operators based on the findings specific to their operation.


Centrifuge Optimisation

Biodiesel plant sees benefits from Centrifuge Optimisation

An independent Centrifuge Optimisation Project at one of Europe’s largest Biodiesel plants has enabled them to produce record levels of biodiesel and pharma grade glycerine.

The optimisation exercise significantly improved the throughput & efficiency of their disc bowl, three-phase solid bowl decanter and solid bowl decanter centrifuges. This has also resulted in major operational and cost benefits being realised for the whole processing plant.

Original Problem

Following difficult plant commissioning issues the plant was struggling to meet client demands for their core product and bi-products. This resulted in them deciding to concentrate their efforts on the primary separation i.e. the centrifuges. The biodiesel plant requires key separation stages to be carried out by various types of continuous sedimentary centrifuges.

The plant was struggling to meet the plant design capacity. To achieve this it was necessary to increase the throughput to the centrifuges as well as maintaining higher levels of centrifuge ‘up time’.


With over 35 years of experience, specialising in Industrial Centrifuge separation technology, NCD Separation Solutions Ltd, acted as lead consultants for the Centrifuge Optimisation Project. They carried out an initial comprehensive Site Survey then submitted proposals for a comprehensive Process Optimisation programme.

Operator Training was also a key consideration in order to make plant operatives aware of the important parameters and how they play their part in the separation efficiency of the centrifuges. This provided them with much needed knowledge of all the centrifuge controls, capabilities and limitations as well as demonstrating the importance of maintaining a uniform feed stock.

Key Benefits

Significant cost savings were identified through the implementation of an improved control and operational philosophy. It was also possible to operate all the centrifuges, as intended, in a continuous manner with virtually no unplanned shutdowns. This has allowed the plant, as intended, to operate on a continuous basis.

From a health and safety perspective the improved operation of the centrifuge processing equipment has dramatically reduced the frequency of inspections and cleaning outs.

According to management the result of the optimisation work by NCD Separation Solutions Ltd – “has seen an amazing 30% increase in production that now allows us to not only achieve our production targets of Biodiesel, but to significantly exceed them as and when the market demands. As a general spin off from NCD’s involvement we now have a separation process that is more reliable, requires less maintenance, is operator friendly and we have a far more informed workforce”.


Centrifuge Optimisation

Centrifuge Optimisation increases output by 25%

A recent independent centrifuge optimisation project at a multinational chemical company based in the South East of England has resulted in a 25% increase in production. Optimisation of 3 off vertical batch basket filtration type centrifuges has also provided operational and other cost saving benefits upstream and downstream of the centrifuge operation.

Existing Problem – The company had to meet a significant increase in demand for its products without investing in additional plant and equipment. The solution therefore was to optimise its existing centrifuge filtration process by looking to reduce cycles times, thus increasing product throughput. The process centred around three vertical batch basket filtration centrifuges, capable of recovering upto 1200 kg/hr final cake solids. To achieve this level of throughput it was necessary to both reduce the process cycles times and increase the payload of retained product solids in each basket load.

Solution – NCD Separation Solutions Ltd acted as the independent consultants on the project and carried out an initial Site Survey, submitting proposals for a comprehensive process optimisation package. Operator Training was particularly important in making them aware of revised process requirements and providing them with knowledge of centrifuge controls, capabilities and limitations and the need to maintain strict health and safety requirements.

Key Benefits – Cost savings were also identified through using less product wash fluid leading to a corresponding reduction in effluent discharge levels hence reducing operating costs. It was also possible to operate each centrifuge continuously for much longer periods before having to clean its internal surfaces. From a Health & Safety perspective, the improved operation of the process has reduced the frequency of basket inspections and cleaning operations by 50%.

According to site management the end result is a 25% increase in production which will help satisfy escalating demand from their clients around the world.

As a general spin-off from NCD involvement they have a filtration process which requires less maintenance, is more environmentally friendly and provides healthier working conditions for company site teams.