Engineering plastic helps overcome citrus corrosion

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Problems coping with aggressive citrus oil have led Alfa Laval to use new polymer support plates for its DSS plate and frame membrane filtration...

Problems coping with aggressive citrus oil have led Alfa Laval to use new polymer support plates for its DSS plate and frame membrane filtration systems. Working in collaboration with one of the world's largest processors of orange juice, the company has developed and improved its DSS M39 ultra-filtration units for use in the pre-treatment of orange concentrate at a plant in South America.

In the past, the combination of juice oil and high temperatures resulted in the plates being attacked which led to corrosion, leaks, and product loss. The processor first considered replacing all of the filtration modules with expensive ceramic units but, following discussions with Alfa Laval, it decided that a more cost-effective solution would be to replace the support plates if a suitably tough alternative material could be found.

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), an engineering plastic offering performance at temperatures of up to 250°C, was selected. If required, it can be used continuously in steam and hot water without any loss of mechanical performance. It is approved for use in food applications. In many processes it has been used to replace more traditional materials such as glass, stainless steel and ceramics.

Following the success of replacing the polymer plates with the plastic material, Alfa Laval is now offering support plates in PEEK as standard.

Contact: Alfa Laval,

Tel: 01276 413632

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