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 28th June 2011 Burkert

Nitrogen-Methanol Processes for Heat Treating Steel are More Efficient & Transparent with Burkert's Liquid Flow Controller

The Institute for Materials Engineering (IWT) in Bremen, Germany, is engaged intensively with the hardening of steel using the Nitrogen-Methanol Process as an alternative to gas carburising with endogas. In this process, liquid methanol is directly introduced into a furnace, the precise regulation of the methanol controlled by Bürkert’s v (LFC). The advantages of this method are that dosing of the methanol is achieved with high precision and is transparent: recording the reproducible consumption and flow values is carried out through the LFC and can be fully documented.

In contrast to endogas, methanol is cheaper, easily stored, and, can be fed into a furnace exactly, depending on the process requirement. In addition, because there are no operating and investment costs for an endogas generator, the nitrogen-methanol offers a real alternative, particularly so as it is more energy efficient.

In the test plant at the Institut für Werkstofftechnik in Bremen, the Bürkert LFC automatically controls dosing of methanol, reacting to disturbance variables, such as pressure – either as fluctuating pump pressure in the loop upstream of the LFC, or as pulsations in the pipe downstream of the LFC – and always keeps the required dosage of methanol constant through readjustment. The resulting high precision dosage keeps operating costs low and guarantees optimum efficiency.

In comparison to flow controllers that measure according to the Coriolis principle, the LFC, using differential pressure measurement, offer advantages due to its substantially lower cost. In addition, because the measurement principle of the LFC requires no moving parts, such as impellers, incidence of wear in the unit is considerably reduced.

Especially useful for the scientists at the Bremen institute is the substantially improved knowledge of the process obtained through the recording of methanol consumption and the temporal flow characteristics. "The complete process can be fully documented", said Dr.-Ing. Heinrich Klümper-Westkamp from the heat treatment department at the IWT. "Within one test series, we can analyse the impact of various process data on the treatment of a component and develop improved reproducible processes."

About the Liquid Flow Controller

The LFC is an intelligent, integrated, cost saving solution for applications where several liquids or a liquid and a gas must be regulated simultaneously. Previously this type of control was comparatively complex, involving the use of individual components, which raised issues of cost and interfacing incompatibility. However, the LFC overcomes these problems with an integrated design that optimises the differential pressure process for liquid flow-rate measurements, to give precise, fast and repeatable measurements in a highly compact device.

Due to its fast and accurate flow rate measurement, the Liquid Flow Controller is ideally suited for the dynamic control or metering of liquids such as deionised or demineralised water, methanol or low-viscosity oils. The LFC can therefore be used in a large number of industrial applications including heat treatment (by carburisation or endogas generators), testing, surface coating, cooling (machine tools), filling, packaging, and in combination with Bürkert Mass Flow Controllers, the simultaneous dosage of gases and liquids in atomising or sterilisation processes.

About BURKERT Bürkert Fluid Control Systems is one of the leading manufacturers of control and measuring systems for fluids and gases. The products have a wide variety of applications and are used by breweries and laboratories as well as in medical engineering and space technology. The company employs over 1,800 people and has a comprehensive network of branches in 33 countries world-wide.


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