Remanufacturing an endothermic atmosphere generator retort

Posted by Tom McDevitt on Feb 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM


Despite the declining preference for endothermic dissociated ammonia generators, The Rose Corporation has a fairly large number of customers still operating our Drever Ammonia Dissociators, and for a variety of reasons.  The primary reasons for staying with dissociated ammonia for production can be broken out into two, externally driver factors which are, compliance with governing agency’s recertification processes and demanding zoning codes.

The Rose Corporation’s aerospace customers maintain their Drever equipment for production because the cost and lengthily process to recertify for production new equipment, and subsequent manufacturing procedures and policies relative to new equipment, is a deterrent to changeovers to  bulk hydrogen and nitrogen storage.  Additionally, the cost of changeover is considerable and many times outside the financial ability of smaller, hi-tech suppliers to the aerospace sectors.

The second most common reason influencing manufactures to stay with endothermic atmosphere generation of  hydrogen and nitrogen is the often times complicated, bureaucratic quagmire of zoning codes and grandfathered exceptions for manufacturers in local communities across the country.  Simply stated, in many, small communities around the nation, zoning codes are restrictive, cumbersome, and expensive for manufacturers considering the move from dissociated ammonia to bulk storage, and even though both methods for supplying on-site hydrogen and nitrogen for production have their own, unique problems, many times smaller communities find greater fears with the notion of the manufacturing centers within their community storing bulk hydrogen is the arguably, albeit irrational fears of devastating explosions.

Another external driver for customers staying with endothermic dissociated ammonia generators is the unpredictable might of Mother Nature.  In recent years, hurricanes Sandy and Katrina had a large impact on communities within their path, but specific to the discussion here, these hurricanes had a crippling impact on commercial hydrogen suppliers based in those communities due to property and equipment damage that all but brought to a halt the commercial delivery of hydrogen and nitrogen gases for the local, manufacturing sectors impacted by the storms.  As a result of this, The Rose Corporation saw an instantaneous demand for return to on-site generated gases with many customers seeking new Drever Ammonia Dissociators, as well as contracting The Rose Corporation to refurbish long ago mothballed Drever endothermic equipment.

The Rose Corporation’s highly flexible manufacturing production value stream successfully executed every project for customers in these hard-hit storm areas, therefore returning back into service customer’s production lines long before commercially supplied hydrogen and nitrogen could realign with demand.

One Rose Corporation customer is operating their Drever 750 CFM Ammonia Dissociator since its original 1984 installation.  This customer, with its highly qualitied maintenance team, understands the value of proper equipment maintenance, and faithfully follows The Rose Corporation’s recommendations for operation of our Drever Ammonia Dissociators, with the resulting outcome being the highly cost-effective method of supplying on-site atmosphere gases for their production needs.

By operating their Drever equipment consistent with our manufacturer’s recommendations, this customer routinely realizes catalyst chamber service cycles of six years or more.  Factor in the price of a Rose Corporation Drever catalyst chamber spread over a six year period and the annual, average costs of the catalyst chamber, the single, most expensive replacement part of any manufacturer’s endothermic atmosphere generator, is approximately $2000 annually; a manageable for most enterprises.

The Rose Corporation customer discussed here had the misfortune of damaging a recently installed catalyst chamber caused by the failure of the anhydrous ammonia low pressure switch resulting in an over temp scenario inside the catalyst chamber that fused the catalytic media, and therefore diminished the output flow of dissociated gases.  If this customer was in the practice of cycling off the unit during non-demand times, then the resulting stresses caused to the catalyst chamber by thermal cycling would render the chamber totally useless; however because this customer rarely turns off their dissociate; rather reduces idle time temperatures to our recommended low-temperature set point,  there was virtually no damage to the catalyst chamber, and because of this condition, The Rose Corporation was able to provide the option of recharging the existing catalyst chamber with new media.  The customer accepted The Rose Corporation’s proposal to remanufacture the unit and returned to service a 100% useable retort at the savings of nearly $11,000.

The Rose Corporation’s production team cut open the catalyst chamber and disassembled its interior parts, chiseling out the fused, catalytic media.  Once the damage media was removed and the inlet and outlet pipes verified free from damage and clogging, the disassemble retort was sent to the company’s dual-media blast room where it was thoroughly sanitized by our glass-bead surface preparation process.  Following the interior and exterior surface restoration, the unit was sent to the company’s assembly department where the retort was charged with new media.  From assembly, the unit was moved downstream to the assigned fitter’s station where the heads were reinstalled to The Rose Corporations tight specifications for these units.  Company welders skillfully welded the unit and forwarded the retort on its way to the company’s quality inspection center where the unit was recertified for service. 

Start to finish, the Drever retort was completely remanufactured in three days, a time frame nearly three days shorter than required to build a new unit; resulting in a customer who was delighted to have his Drever 750 CFH catalyst chamber back ahead of schedule and way under his anticipated budget.

The Rose Corporation’s Industrial Furnace division manufactures for customers world-wide all types and configurations of industrial furnaces such as batch type reheat and forging, tip-up, roller hearth, bell, car-bottom, vacuum, electric arc, and many more for both atmosphere and non-atmosphere, batch and continuous applications.  The Rose Corporation has manufactured industrial furnaces under both our RoseTM  and DreverTM  furnace brands, as well as manufacturing customized furnaces to our customer-supplied design.  We also manufacture dissociative, atmosphere generating equipment. 

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