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Plate spacing for 6" reflux column


Maschmeier

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I think you'd want 6" as minimum, but take into consideration what (or if) you're using for sight glasses, you need enough room to weld or solder.

shoot me a message if you have any more questions about plates, caps down comers or fluid levels.

Steve

With respect Steve, I think your answer might be a little too low tech.

Maschmeier,

Still internal designs, including proper spacing between Trays (or theoretical trays) can really only be designed via in-depth calculations by a Chemical Engineer or using software packages such as ProII, ChemCAD, or SulCol 3.0 (from Sulzer Chemtech).

Please be cautious in designing or constructing distillation equipment. Internal design is not as simple as planning for necessary distances between plates for sight glasses. While we're on it, sight glasses on every tray in distillation equipment is a useless and unnecessary expense.

If you want an accurate answer to your question contact an internals design company, which is not necessarily the same thing as a distillation equipment manufacturing company, and get to a place where you have a degree of comfort in the answer.

An example of the design for the internals in my skid is shown below. If you’re not getting something like this from your OEM, then you need to consider your needs and vendor choices.

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With respect Steve, I think your answer might be a little too low tech.

Maschmeier,

Still internal designs, including proper spacing between Trays (or theoretical trays) can really only be designed via in-depth calculations by a Chemical Engineer or using software packages such as ProII, ChemCAD, or SulCol 3.0 (from Sulzer Chemtech).

Please be cautious in designing or constructing distillation equipment. Internal design is not as simple as planning for necessary distances between plates for sight glasses. While we're on it, sight glasses on every tray in distillation equipment is a useless and unnecessary expense.

If you want an accurate answer to your question contact an internals design company, which is not necessarily the same thing as a distillation equipment manufacturing company, and get to a place where you have a degree of comfort in the answer.

An example of the design for the internals in my skid is shown below. If you’re not getting something like this from your OEM, then you need to consider your needs and vendor choices.

while you are correct that advanced mathematics are involved for proper internal design, going the route you suggest is a very expensive way at achieving a 1% gain.

1% gain in the petro chem world is very important, in distillation inefficiency can be a benefit to your product with the arguable exception of Vodka production.

there is a certain amount of designed inefficiency in each still we build for the purpose of usability.

following some basic rules of thumb a design can get very close, which is fine for a 1 off build, taking into account cost and ease of build.

Micro distilling is the convergence of art and science, there are times when the art is sacrificed for the science and sometimes science must take a back seat.

as to your comment on the uselessness of sightglass windows, from a purely science perspective, your absolutely correct, but they look pretty, and the microdistilling movement is as much about the experience as the product, so tourism is important.

Also if you are using fixed rather than removable plates, a nice large sightglass can give access to your plates for maintenance if need be.

Steve

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Steve,

You are very correct in many of the perspectives shared, it just depends what your design and operational criteria are.

However one item on which I would continue to disagree is efficiency, specifically your 1% gain supposition. Due to the design work I had performed, I recover all but less than 1% of alcohol from my tails. To say differently, my tails are virtually alcohol free. So I would suggest the cost involved in proper design has gained me as much as 30-40% greater throughput per run, due to full and proper alcohol extraction.

With the surge of micro-distilleries in our marketplace I think a strong argument can be made for operational efficiency trumping old school design or tourism. But as you say, there are many ways to play in this market.

Cheers.

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John, I have very little knowledge of plated stills so correct me if I am wrong.

Almost any still of almost any design ( or lack of) can be run to extract alcohol until "the tails are virtually alcohol free"

The cost of removing the alcohol from the tails is not in the design, but in running the still for longer.

I am not saying "don't spend money on a good design" I am just saying your statement about tails is not very scientific.

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Pete,

Sorry for the confusion. Yes, you are correct, one can run the stills until all alcohol is extracted from the tails. However, this often comes at the cost of driving fusels and congeners over with the alcohol in undesirable quantities or being forced to run the still in a very inefficient manner with regard to both energy and time.

The design process I went through allows for a 1000g fermenter to be run to completion every 8 hours through my stills, with little or no alcohol left in the tails and with no congener co-distillation issues as a result.

I'll be releasing the details of my stills soon, which may alleviate some of the confusion in discussions like this one.

Cheers.

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