Lump breakers prove themselves at Shell

Using our lump breakers the ash-processing SARU units of Shell in Pernis are running at full speed again. “The lump breakers have proved they can meet the requirements of our plant”, says Mario Graca, process engineer at Shell. For big projects of this type Shell is of course playing it safe. The installation was preceded by detailed discussions and tests on site.

Why a lump breaker?
SARU stands for Soot Ash Removal Unit. This is where Shell has for decades already been processing ash and other hazardous substances that are produced in other processes in Pernis. These substances finally end up in a rotary kiln incinerator with a rotary valve. This has worked well for years, but more recent waste materials seem to clump together and this could block the rotary valve.

Suitable solution
This is why Shell approached the contractor Jacobs to find a solution. For senior buyer Rudy Schilders it soon became clear that a lump breaker was needed for this. So the search began for a suitable supplier. “We have had a few clarification meetings during the tender phase. Van Beek offered a technically good solution that fitted in with the functionality we were wanting for this project. They could also deliver with the right delivery time”, says Schilders.

Shell had already had good experience with Van Beek
Shell had a variety of reasons for being interested in what Van Beek has to offer. “We have had good experience with the Van Beek screw conveyors that had been running in the SARU units for years. The company has proved it can manage projects of this type”, Graca recaps.

Putting our clever heads together
Roel Kneepkens, sales engineer at Van Beek, looks back with great pleasure at the meetings with the engineers of Shell and Jacobs. “In the beginning they were very curious about how we would approach this. I spent a day with those involved in a meeting room to get set out what we had to take into account and how we would approach this. This was a new problem and we therefore wanted to be quite certain that our solution would help.”

Too dangerous for normal test
Normally we invite a company to carry out a product test on our site if they would like to do so, but that was not an option with these hazardous substances. “You cannot transport these substances outside the plant. The people who work with them wear protective suits and treat the substance with the greatest possible care”, explains Kneepkens.

Test on site
This is why a test set-up was installed in the SARU unit. “That was quite an undertaking because this site is naturally not geared up for carrying out tests on site. But everything worked out in the end”, says a satisfied Kneepkens. For Shell it was an important advantage that Van Beek offered this option.

Van Beek meets the requirements
After a day of tests Shell was sure that our lump breaker could solve the problem. Another important requirement which we met was the documentation requirement. Shell asks for extensive documentation for projects of this type and partly due to our automated CRM system it was easy for us to supply all the required documentation.

Special lump breakers
Shell ordered two lump breakers for two identical lines. Because of the hazardous substances that the lump breakers have to pulverize these were special designs. All the welds were tested for air-tightness with a dye penetrant inspection. The lump breaker is fitted with heavy duty seals on the input and output side. All the seals are dust-proof. There is also a slight excess pressure on the seals to ensure that the substances remain inside the lump breaker.

Careful process
The fact that Shell works carefully and securely for projects of this type can be seen from the time that passed between the first inquiry in April 2015 and the delivery. The first talks were in August 2015. In February 2016 there was a day of meetings. In April that year the final order was placed. The delivery was in January 2017. In December that year the lump breakers were commissioned.

Satisfaction about cooperation
Graca is positive about the cooperation. “We have cooperated on a machine that is suitable for this purpose. It was great that we could do the test ourselves in our refinery before we placed the order. Van Beek has supported us well.”

Schilders is also satisfied. “The delivery went very well. You always come up against minor problems in projects of this type, but they were all solved extremely well.”

Kneepkens looks back at pleasant cooperation. “It was a new challenge which involved a lot more brainstorming and planning compared with other projects. I was pleased to cooperate with the engineers of Shell and Jacobs.”

Something for you?
Are you concerned about an aspect of your process where our expertise could get everything back on track? Do not hesitate to contact us!

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