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Josh

Remote Still Start Up Suggestions?

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Hi all,

Hoping for some help on automation. I have two oil jacketed stills with control panels. Each of the control panels have a simple left/right toggle switch to power them on. Does anyone know of a device that I can wire after the toggle switch to add remote start functionality via wifi? Basically When we charge our larger still to capacity, runs can take 12 hours+, and we sit for three hours during heat up before we get any action. It would be great to wake up and start the still heat up process while commuting to work to shorten the downtime upon arrival.

Seems like a simple unit that would exist in the world, but I can't seem to find anything on the interwebs!

Thanks in advance,

Josh

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Not an answer to your question, but in my opinion the warm up part of the day is when you are most prone to incident and the stills should be attended for safety. 

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Also not an answer to your question, but My electric company recommended letting a few minutes go by before turning on each element. I believe she said that If you demand a lot of electricity at once they then reserve that power on the grid for you at all times, and your bill goes up.

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Only effective way to do this is by installing a PLC and with complete automation.  Expensive because apart from all automation, process valves etc. , you now have to consider all Ex requirements as well.

 

Here's a cropped part of my HMI heat up screen image

 

heat up4.png

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If you really wanted to do this I think you would need to get a relay that is sized for the power going to your still/elements and that is switched by 120v power.  Then get a 120v wi-fi receptacle and use that to provide power to the relay switch..

I can see it now.. “Alexa, turn on the still!”

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BUT..... you then do not have any safety interlocks and then this is super dangerous.

 

I have programmed interlocks and in addition..... reduced power (my heating controller is 4-20mA), pressure monitoring, level monitoring, temperature monitoring with control and cooling water valve control.

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The issue about turning elements on sequentially over time is in reference to a demand meter. Depending on your service, once you hit your "maximum daily demand" which I believe is over a 15 minute period, you will thereafter be charged that "demand" every day for the rest of your operational life. However your cost per KW will be lower, billed on top of that flat demand charge.

As for remote start up, perhaps you could run a feed back loop program to your iPad that is lying beside you in bed, that also activates a remote wire clipped to your nuts. Then when your still starts at the distillery you will simutaneosly gets zapped in the nuts to force you to get up to protect your investment. All of course at a lower cost per KWH.

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How many gallons of oil are in each jacket?  Why not use water and lower your heat up time?  And never run a still unattended!!

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39 minutes ago, ChrisSD said:

How many gallons of oil are in each jacket?  Why not use water and lower your heat up time?  And never run a still unattended!!

In an open, non pressurized system, oil will heat a baine marie  still up to operating tamp faster because the oil can be heated up to 300 F while the temp of water cannot exceed it's boiling point.   I agree, never run a still unattended unless you use Rogers, bilateral energized nut control system.

 

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34 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

In an open, non pressurized system, oil will heat a baine marie  still up to operating tamp faster because the oil can be heated up to 300 F while the temp of water cannot exceed it's boiling point.   I agree, never run a still unattended unless you use Rogers, bilateral energized nut control system.

 

While oil can be heated up to a higher temperature, you're adding a lot more volume of material to be heated, which in turn will take longer with the same amount of BTU input.

I can only talk about our equipment as ours are typically ran as a pressure vessel.  We suggest using water on our systems, although you can also use oil without pressure, and here is why:

1.  Water is more cost effective than oil, requires less, and is 100% easier to clean up.

2.  Not sure how your kettles are designed, but ours have a reservoir on the bottom that houses the elements.  Where you need to fill the jacket up exponentially with oil, you only need enough water to  keep the elements covered while generating enough steam for the jacket.  When under pressure at close to 15psi steam is almost 250F.

3.  While you can hold higher temps with oil, you can get the steam temp up much quicker and cool it much quicker, making it a more responsive system.  In a well insulated kettle, once you get the oil up to temp, it takes a while to back that temp down.

That's based on our designs, our research, and feedback from our customers.

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So you are are telling your customers to run closed pressurized steam jackets on baine marie stills  with self contained heating systems and you are building your pots for that specific purpose.  That my friend is against fire and safety codes in every US state and Canada, unless the complete device is UL listed. If what you are saying is true, you are putting your customers and your company in a very bad situation.  You need to check the rules and talk to your attorney.

Here are the facts.  The mash in our oil fired, open system, non pressurized 45 to 500 gallon baine marie stills, reaches operating temperature  in 1 to 1.5 hrs.  Our hot water fired stills with, open non pressurized heating systems, reach operating temp in 2 to 2.5hrs.  The reason is simple, the oil can be heated to 300 to 350F while the water can not be heated above 212F under 1 atmosphere.

However our new OSPM modules allow our baine marie stills to be self contained, steam fired stills with open pressurizes systems.  This means that steam temps of up to 248F can be reached.  Because these are open systems, no UL listing is required.  Since steam has a much greater heat transfer  coefficient than oil, our open system pressurization module equipped baine marie stills, reach operating temp much faster than vented water jacketed stills and even oil fired vented jacket stills.  We have had some heat up to operating temps of less than 1 hr with our OSPMs

Also our stills come with heating systems made here at our factory in MO from all UL listed components, while yours do not.  Our control panels are NEC 409 compliant, while you sell kits for heating control systems with non UL listed components mostly made in China.  Panels built from your kits are in no way NEC 409 compliant and they certainly are not safe for the class 1 division 2 environments that surrounds every still. 

  Our heating systems are compliant with all of the fire and safety codes concerning class1 division 2 hazardous environments within the USA and Canada. Your kits have components that can never be used to build compliant panels.

Concerning agitators.  Our agitators have UL listed, US made Baldor motors that are good for class 1 div 1 hazardous environments.  Last time I checked, your agitator motors are not UL listed and they are certainly not certified for C1D1 or C1D2.

Also we use ASME rated American made Apollo safety valves and vacuum relief valves, on our inner pots and jackets.  What do you use on your inner pots and  jackets?

We also put pressure relief valves in the columns that sit on our still pots and you do not and this can create a very hazardous situation.  I can go on and on, but I won't unless you want me too. 

The best thing for you to do is to use the above info to solve these issues that you have.

 We have some new hot water fired stills that reach operating temp in less than 5 minutes.  That's right the contents of the pot begin to boil in less than 5 minutes.  However they are not for beverage ethanol.  They serve other purposes.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Southernhighlander said:

So you are are telling your customers to run closed pressurized steam jackets on baine marie stills  with self contained heating systems and you are building your pots for that specific purpose.  That my friend is against fire and safety codes in every US state and Canada, unless the complete device is UL listed. If what you are saying is true, you are putting your customers and your company in a very bad situation.  You need to check the rules and talk to your attorney.

Here are the facts.  The mash in our oil fired, open system, non pressurized 45 to 500 gallon baine marie stills, reaches operating temperature  in 1 to 1.5 hrs.  Our hot water fired stills with, open non pressurized heating systems, reach operating temp in 2 to 2.5hrs.  The reason is simple, the oil can be heated to 300 to 350F while the water can not be heated above 212F under 1 atmosphere.

However our new OSPM modules allow our baine marie stills to be self contained, steam fired stills with open pressurizes systems.  This means that steam temps of up to 248F can be reached.  Because these are open systems, no UL listing is required.  Since steam has a much greater heat transfer  coefficient than oil, our open system pressurization module equipped baine marie stills, reach operating temp much faster than vented water jacketed stills and even oil fired vented jacket stills.  We have had some heat up to operating temps of less than 1 hr with our OSPMs

Also our stills come with heating systems made here at our factory in MO from all UL listed components, while yours do not.  Our control panels are NEC 409 compliant, while you sell kits for heating control systems with non UL listed components mostly made in China.  Panels built from your kits are in no way NEC 409 compliant and they certainly are not safe for the class 1 division 2 environments that surrounds every still. 

  Our heating systems are compliant with all of the fire and safety codes concerning class1 division 2 hazardous environments within the USA and Canada. Your kits have components that can never be used to build compliant panels.

Concerning agitators.  Our agitators have UL listed, US made Baldor motors that are good for class 1 div 1 hazardous environments.  Last time I checked, your agitator motors are not UL listed and they are certainly not certified for C1D1 or C1D2.

Also we use ASME rated American made Apollo safety valves and vacuum relief valves, on our inner pots and jackets.  What do you use on your inner pots and  jackets?

We also put pressure relief valves in the columns that sit on our still pots and you do not and this can create a very hazardous situation.  I can go on and on, but I won't unless you want me too. 

The best thing for you to do is to use the above info to solve these issues that you have.

 We have some new hot water fired stills that reach operating temp in less than 5 minutes.  That's right the contents of the pot begin to boil in less than 5 minutes.  However they are not for beverage ethanol.  They serve other purposes.

 

 

So are the feds having you keep records on your customers who buy those stills for other purposes?

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I believe what Paul is saying is, running equipment that is not up to all codes is both dangerous to the operator, as well as to our industry overall. 

The next time some yahoo blows themselves up or kills a tour group of tourists we will all be in a world of hurt.  Nobody is going to drill down deep enough, nor will anyone really care  to find out what shortcuts the still manufacturer or operator took to keep their cost of entry down.

Our insurances will skyrocket and some political hack will no doubt put a bill in motion that prevents non-employees from entering production facilities.

Smarten up !

 

 

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22 hours ago, Aux Arc said:

So are the feds having you keep records on your customers who buy those stills for other purposes?

All still vendors are required to put serial numbers on every still and to collect the name and addresses of the purchaser of that still.  That is federal law and we have followed those requirements with every still that we have sold since the very first one. However the feds have never asked us to give them that info.  If they ever do we are ready. 

We sell small to extremely large systems for extracting oils from plant materials.  One of the primary components of these systems are vacuum stills that concentrate the oils, while reclaiming the ethanol for future use.  We have sold systems to large nutraceuticals companies, as well as large and small essential oil extractors and processors.  Since the farm bill passed last fall, rescheduling hemp and making it legal, we have had a huge number of customers wanting complete systems to extract and concentrate CBD.  Several of these customers are large row crop farmers who have the money to really put some size into it.  Believe it or not I have never had a customer from the extraction industry ask me to sell them an illegal still (without a SN and without giving their info).  We give each of these customers a link to the application that they need to file to get their industrial ethanol use permit which allows them to distill legally.  Most of them do not realize that they need it.

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22 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Paul has got the Marijuana oil production market locked up.  Like the dealer to the dealers!

Thanks Silk.  I wish, but I don't really have it locked up.  There are lots of equipment vendors that sell equipment for extraction of oils from plant materials and there are several of them that have much larger yearly sales than us (mainly CO2 extractors) but we are gaining market share every month.  CO2 systems cost 5 to 10 times as much as my ethanol systems and CO2 is impossible to size up to do over 1,000 or 2,000 lbs per day of plant material, without spending $5,000,000.00 to $10,000,000.  Our ethanol systems will produce products with the same or greater purity as CO2 and we have systems that will process up to 12,000 lbs per day.  Our 12,000 lb per day system cost around 1,900,000,00 including everything needed.  The hot water boilers are fairly inexpensive but the chillers will typically cost as much as the rest of the equipment combined or more.  It takes a lot of chilling capacity for condensers on stills that are distilling off ethanol at 82F.  Also dewaxing of hemp (removing lipids) requires that the oil laden ethanol be chilled to below -40C which means that cryo chillers or liquid nitrogen cryo systems are required.   We are working on a precipitation/decanting process that will remove the lipids at -18C with a precipitation time of 48hrs. These systems will not require cryo systems for chilling.

   Most of our competitors in the extraction industry are doing huge mark ups.  It is not unusual in this industry for vendors to mark up 500% to 1000% over production costs.  They have been doing it because the market will bear it.  Our mark ups are small so I can sell equipment with the same or better quality for much lower prices which will increase our market share as time moves forward.  

Of course my equipment is not meant for any specific plant material.  It can be used for a broad range of plant materials.

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Thank you everyone for your contributions - Roger re: nut clamps particularly inventive.

Both stills are non-pressurized bain marie stills with oil jackets. Minimal/no risk of jacket pressure issues with the open vents. Nest cameras in production facility always running for remote observation.

The heating systems are initiated by a toggle switch (see pictures) that goes to a PID. I find it hard to believe that an automated version of this switch isn't available in the market. I was simply curious if someone had replaced this type of toggle with an automated version.

Thank you all!

Josh

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Remote startup can be considered a " Dangerous " affair as many things can go wrong if you do not have the exact safety interlocks necessary for ALL contingencies that will create an unsafe condition, double quick. There are operational scenarios that can happen which have not been experienced, and as thus not planned for which can and will surprise the operator of said system. Once thing you can do it keep your boiler on warm standby at 170F with the necessary Aquastat control integrated into the control system, or leave it fully spooled up. Automation can be quite a dangerous affair and has gotten a lot of people killed in the industrial world. The latest notable incidents being the 2 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft that have crashed due to bad Engineering and even worse Oversight, and with so called people in high places lying about the reality of what has taken place.

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By the way Paul, our baine marie kettles are set up and rated the exact same way as our steam jacketed stills.  Same PRV's etc...  We just add a box to the bottom for elements if you want to make a self-contained steam jacket.  Not everyone can afford a boiler.  But when they can, their StillDragon baine marie kettle will already be set up and rated for steam, thus keeping them from having to purchase a completely new still.  We have a lot of them out there in operation and none of them are blowing up as THEY HAVE THE PROPER RATINGS!!  As for the other stuff, you're just reaching to think that we don't put an emphasis on safety.  That's that last of our conversation.  I was trying to help out the OP not get in an argument with you!!

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On 5/3/2019 at 8:23 AM, Roger said:

 

A steam jacketed pot that has a closed pressurized system, that operates at less than 15 psi, which is fired by a low pressure steam boiler does not require an ASME stamp or a UL listing because the boiler that heats it has both an ASME rating and a UL listing.  However, a steam jacketed pot that operates at less than 15psi as a closed pressurized system which is fired by it's own self contained steam heating system must be ASME rated and must have a UL listing for the entire device.  It appears that you were ignorant of that fact but now you know.  Also, since you are selling your still boilers with electric heating elements and you are telling your customers that closed pressurized steam heating systems can be added using your heating control panel kits you are putting your customers in a situation where their still does not meet safety or electrical codes. Also you are having them create a closed pressurized steam heating system which they may not know how to do exactly.

 

All of our baine marie pots can be converted to steam using a low pressure steam boiler or our OSPM however our Baine Marie steam systems are up to code either way for the reasons I explained in my first reply to your original post.

I

22 hours ago, ChrisSD said:

By the way Paul, our baine marie kettles are set up and rated the exact same way as our steam jacketed stills.  Same PRV's etc...  We just add a box to the bottom for elements if you want to make a self-contained steam jacket.  Not everyone can afford a boiler.  But when they can, their StillDragon baine marie kettle will already be set up and rated for steam, thus keeping them from having to purchase a completely new still.  We have a lot of them out there in operation and none of them are blowing up as THEY HAVE THE PROPER RATINGS!!  As for the other stuff, you're just reaching to think that we don't put an emphasis on safety.  That's that last of our conversation.  I was trying to help out the OP not get in an argument with you!!

 

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On 5/5/2019 at 4:21 PM, Josh said:

 

The heating systems are initiated by a toggle switch (see pictures) that goes to a PID. I find it hard to believe that an automated version of this switch isn't available in the market. I was simply curious if someone had replaced this type of toggle with an automated version.

 

Safety issues & testosterone contests aside, you can find plenty of wifi controlled relays, but as they require power, none will be a drop-in replacement.  You'll need to understand the current and voltage across the switch, choose a compatible relay.   Any idea how that switch is wired ?  

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I'd replace it with something that looks like this.

1730401571_ScreenShot2019-05-11at8_56_00AM.png.9364ebc440e72f69303837dc9c6b93b3.png

 

Or maybe something like this if a display is necessary.

1698194163_ScreenShot2019-05-11at8_57_54AM.png.3d6d09b6bb508a1da61bf0f0271917c9.png

 

My Mash and Fermentation controllers are based on this one though, I'm partial to this brand, it's a great system.  You just connect the wires to where they need to go, and it goes.  It has a nice little web server HMI built in, so you can access it from anything with a browser.  Plenty of SCADA/Failsafe capabilities too, alerting/messaging, etc.  

7283bb2229c502662381ae36093045.jpg.0c3746705c8a9cdf8b85ab30ae173bcd.jpg

 

 

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