As we head into the summer, many processors will be facing a season of not just heat but rising humidity, which can make for less comfortable working conditions on the plant floor. Even worse, condensation or “mold sweating” can force molds to run warmer, extending cycle times and reducing productivity. Increased mold corrosion can be another summer scourge.
One exhibitor at NPE2012 in Orlando last month has an answer for you that’s well proven and relatively economical in both upfront and operating costs. Advantix Systems, Miami, Fla., markets prepackaged
systems that both cool and dehumidify plant air by sending it through a film of salt brine. The basic technology dates back to the 1930s, but Advantix has patented its own variant on this approach, which it developed in the 1980s for commercial and industrial facilities, including around 10 plastics processors so far.
The system first cools incoming ambient air by passing it over a heat exchanger in a standard refrigeration circuit. That air then is blown through a honeycomb media of corrugated cellulose (similar to a cooling
tower), over which passes a film of brine. The brine absorbs humidity from the air and also filters out odors and particulates. The cooled and dehumidified air is then sent into the plant. The brine—somewhat
diluted by the absorbed moisture—flows into a sump divided into two chambers. Pure water diffuses by osmosis from the diluted brine to the saltier brine in the other chamber. Brine from that second chamber is
pumped over another section of honeycomb media in the regeneration section of the system. In this section, outside air is warmed by a heat exchanger, which transfers the energy extracted from the cooled incoming air in the process section described previously. That warmed air is blown through the film of brine passing over the media and the warm air absorbs moisture from the brine. That moisure-laden air is then exhausted from the building.
Benefits of the system, according to Advantix marketing v.p. Trevor Wende, is that it’s a standardized package that’s relatively quick and easy to install. Compared with other means of cooling and dehumidifying plant air, it’s in the middle range of initial cost. The big savings are in operating cost, since its refrigeration circuit uses a compressor only a third to half the size of a normal HVAC compressor, and it consumes much less energy than other systems.
(888) 818-5171 • advantixsystems.com
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