Understanding the Marvels of Continuous Systems: Exploring Their Functioning and Mechanisms

Understanding the Marvels of Continuous Systems: Exploring Their Functioning and Mechanisms

Well, as the title suggests, a continuous distillation still has the capability to produce distillate indefinitely. As long as the distillery can supply the apparatus, the distilling apparatus does not need to be turned off. In comparison, a batch system needs to be emptied, refilled, and reheated.

Furthermore, the time required to heat the continuous still is only a fraction of the time needed to heat a batch still that is proportionally sized to process the same volumes. Additionally, the continuous system is often designed with heat exchangers that can recover heat. This heat recovery feature allows the system to use significantly less heat than the commonly used batch systems. All of this leads to a reduction in operating costs.

This cost savings can be further maximized by the fact that if the startup cost is X, then implementing a second shift will reduce the cost associated with the second shift “startup” by 80%. And if a third shift is added, the cost associated with the “startup” is further reduced by a fraction of the second shift “startup” cost. Does that make sense? In other words, the longer you run the system, the cheaper it is to operate. This is a critical issue for an industry that relies heavily on economies of scale. In summary, a continuous still can reduce operating expenses by at least 30%. That is a significant return on investment.

How Does It Work?

Well, basically the system consists of two columns: a beer column and a spirit column. The beer column is filled from the top side. Live steam is injected into the base of the column. Once the live steam mixes with the injected beer, the heat transfers to the beer, causing the alcohol within the beer to heat up, vaporize, and then flow towards a reboiler where the spirit column is connected. The low wines entering the reboiler are reheated and a more concentrated alcoholic vapor enters the spirit column for further purification, before finally being collected and directed towards the finished product condenser. The spent beer then continues down the beer column and is discharged from a drain port at the base of the column.

All of this process is automated using a control panel with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) that controls various variables to keep the continuous still running at a steady-state while maintaining the desired set points for creating the desired finished product. Target temperature control at different stages of the process is the key variable needed for optimal steady-state operation. Needless to say, a reliable automated controller is essential. Some designs can be operated manually. However, unless the design is optimized, the still operator often ends up being very busy and has to make frequent adjustments to the still’s operation throughout the run. Manual operation cannot respond to adjustments as precisely as the PLC.

Is a Continuous Distiller Right for You?

If you’re looking to increase production capacity, reduce operating costs, and have more time for marketing, a continuous still is a great solution for your future expansion.

To learn more about continuous distillation, please contact info@ace-chn.com.

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