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  • Optimal Proposal
  • Advantages of Integrated Proposal of Agitator, Mixing Vessels, and Internals

Advantages of Integrated Proposal of Agitator, Mixing Vessels, and Internals

We have been working on “Optimal Proposal” for many years, in which our experienced engineers will propose optimal solutions according to your challenges.
Especially in our reactor engineering solution, which has a delivery record of about 2,000 units worldwide, we always try to make proposal taking the agitator, mixing vessel, and internals such as coils not individually, but “in total”.
Why is integrated proposal important? And what benefits does integrated proposal bring to customers? Dr.Takenaka from our Mixing Technology Group answers these questions.

Katsuhide Takenaka, Leader of Mixing Technology Group, Engineering Department

Provide customers with peace of mind by integrated proposal

Why is integrated proposal important?

Mixing has various meanings. It is very simple if it is only necessary to disperse the material in liquid, that is, to just mix, but in polymer production, for example, it is quite complicated. It is because we need to consider not only the state of flow of the materials to be mixed, but also the reaction heat of polymerization. We have to think about how to treat the reaction heat while taking composite factors such as the type of reaction and equipment size into consideration.

When using a coil for heat removal, there are various large and small considerations, such as where and what kind of coil is to be installed, how much performance is required of the pump, and what it might cause to happen to the flow in the vessel. In such a situation, if the mixing equipment is arranged by Agitator Company A, the mixing vessel is arranged by Vessel Company B, the internals are arranged by the engineering company, and so on, who is responsible for heat removal by the coil? Even if Agitator Company A can guarantee that this heat removing performance is enough according to calculations, it is not certain that the engineering company can smoothly select the water circulation pump capable of flow rate that meet the heat removing performance. I think it will make the customer very uneasy. It can be a serious risk that may stop the whole process in the worst case.

It means that if proposals are not integrated, it may force the customer to take potential risks, doesn’t it?

We have know-how to propose the agitator, mixing vessel, internals as a total system. There are many companies handling only agitators or only reactors, but there are only a few companies in the world that can handle all in one. I think it is our strong point that we can make proposals covering every detail from the matching among the agitator, mixing vessel, and internals to the flow rate of the pump, which is possible because of none other than our know-how accumulated through our experience of making about 2,000 proposals worldwide. By doing so, we can realize mixing under optimum conditions, and customers don't have to worry about responsibility. Therefore, I believe it is extremely beneficial also from the viewpoint of risk management.

There is another advantage of integrated proposal: quickness. I think, whether you simulate a coil for heat removal, or baffles for improving the mixing efficiency, a considerable time is required if without know-how. We can make more realistic proposals more quickly based on not paper calculations, but our experience of actual introduction.

Importance of Increasing the Choices of Proposal

What kind of response do you receive from customers in your daily work?

I often hear, “We can trust Sumitomo.” I think it is not only because of our technical strength and product quality that achieve “quick and uniform mixing”, but also because of their expectations for our members that if they consult with us, they might be able to find some clues for solutions. What is behind that is our rich chemical engineering proposal approaches and our traditional sense of helping customers solve their challenges from all angles.

I am in a position of a Group Leader (Manager) who nurtures young members, but I’m also called “a hard-to-catch manager” in the company. It is because I’m traveling all over Japan and talking with customers. After all, we cannot understand the customer's real problems unless we talk with them face to face.

We have many doctoral course graduates. I hope that such young members will also do so. By taking the trouble to move around to discover various issues to be solved, discussing challenging approaches to them, and accumulating such experiences, each member will become stronger and eventually contribute to the strength of our company. I hope them to accumulate expertise to be able to remind themselves as soon as hearing a problem from a customer, such as “I remember I have experienced some similar case at...”

You have been involved in various projects so far. Are there any impressive episodes?

After all, the project I joined first is memorable. I was in charge of the development of a polymerization tank for styrene-based resin production for a chemical manufacturer from the experimental stage. While many companies were not allowed to enter the plant, I was allowed to be present at the start of operation. As we increased the liquid volume after the reaction starts, the product, which was initially dark brown, gradually lost its color to look beautiful and eventually flowed into the next process. When I saw the scene, I really had a sense of accomplishment.

The resin product is now used by millions of people every day as a packaging material, which accounts for a very high market share in a certain field. Every time I touch the material, it reminds me of those days. It is the real pleasure of this work, isn't it?

“Want to be a weapon
for our customers fighting around the world”

Competition is getting more and more intense globally not only in the chemical industry but also in various industries. What kind of contribution can mixing technology make for companies to survive in the world?

For example, I think almost all chemical manufacturers are enhancing their specialties by specializing themselves in special polymer manufacturing or the like in order to ensure their unique positions avoiding price competition. And production of such special polymers often require a large-scale impeller. By utilizing our technology and products, they can integrate two mixing vessels into one or increase product yield. Our technology and products also can reduce the initial investment and running costs to help them compete with their competitors around the world. I think there are some situations where our mixing technology can be useful as a weapon to fight in the world.

What is the prospect of the mixing technology of Sumitomo Heavy Industries Process Equipment?

We are now consciously planting seeds for our future. Our young members are working on some challenging themes. Instead of adhering to the traditional sense of mixing, they always looking for new challenges, trying to expand their field of work centering on mixing.

We hope we can always help our customers while they continue to make progress, and will continue our efforts to do so. If you are in charge of the process in your company. We will be appreciated if you feel free to contact us, such as “I'm thinking about this kind of things...” and “Can you do such a thing?”

Our Professional

Katsuhide Takenaka, Ph.D.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries Process Equipment Co., Ltd.
Manager, Principal
Mixing Technology Group
Technical Development Department

Majored in chemical engineering in university. From the undergraduate to the doctoral course, devoted himself to study of mixing. After obtaining a doctoral degree, joined Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. through a chemical company. Has been devoting himself to mixing and engaged in technology development since then.
Extremely busy flying around the world on weekdays. Healed with a walk with his children on weekends.