KOPPERS Australia has implemented a level measurement solution from Endress+Hauser at its tar production plant, reducing the risks of downtime and cutting maintenance needs.
Crude tar has aggressive chemical properties and requires high process temperatures, making the task of refining the material a challenge.
Koppers’ facility in Newcastle involves two continuous tar distillation units and a naphthalene still to produce coal tar bi-products, carbon black and timber preservation chemicals.
The heat needed to distil the tar can exceed 350 degrees Celsius, and the resulting condensate is corrosive and abrasive.
Prior to the Endress+Hauser solution, Koppers used displacer level measuring devices which work based on their buoyancy. However, because of the distillation process, the devices often get coated, leading to less buoyancy and therefore inaccurate measurements.
This problem meant Koppers had to engage in high maintenance and frequent calibration, in order to ward off failure and downtime. If the levels are not optimal within any one distillation column, the entire line is affected, and unsafe levels can result in damage to the plant.
The company decided to adopt Endress+Hauser’s Levelflex FMP45, which uses a guided radar principle to measure the level of the product. The solution can withstand pressures up to 400 bar, and temperatures from -200 to 400 degrees Celsius. Importantly, it is not affected by coating, resulting in high reliability and accuracy.
According to Endress+Hauser, the FMP 45 is suited for difficult operating conditions, including application where there is foaming, turbulence, product build-up, varying density, varying product properties, and irregularly shaped vessels.