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Italian sulphur processor

chooses Sandvik Rotoform®

for the fifth time
Liquid sulphur supply at Econova

Feeding side of Sandvik Rotoform® units

Solidification plants at Econova boosts pastillation

capacity to 2280 tons/day
Sandvik’s innovative Rotoform® system. We also provide consultancy and
pastillation system, first launched in 1980 technical advice to other companies
and forming the basis of its sulphur around the world so we’re fully aware of
granulation systems ever since, has been alternative systems.The decision to
specified for the fifth time by Italy’s remain with Rotoform® was made on Rotoform® sulphur feeding
largest company in the field of sulphur the basis of the proven quality of pastilles
processing. and reliability of performance.”
There are currently 12 Rotoform
3000® systems and a single Rotoform “Together with Sandvik we have
High Speed line in operation at extensive expertise in the Rotoform®
Econova’s Sicily base, providing a total system having worked on everything
capacity of 1850 tons/day. A further from feasibility studies to turnkey
three Rotoform 3000® systems installed construction and commissioning of
at Econova Apulia in early 2008 provide sulphur solidification plants,” says
an additional 430 tons/day capacity. Dr. Giovanni Balistreri. “Over the next
“We have been working in close few years, we want to put this
Sandvik Rotoform® cooler-discharge
cooperation with Sandvik since the early knowledge to use in other applications
1990s,” explains Dr. Massimo Andaloro, such as the solidification of paraffins,
technical and plant manager at Econova, sulphur bentonite and other chemical
“so we know the advantages of this products.”

Esso investment and Sandvik technical expertise

Econova entered the business of sulphur This lack of a convenient market for the
solidification in 1990 following the increasing levels of sulphur produced at
collapse of another company that had its oil refineries led Esso to investigate a
previously taken Southern Italy’s sulphur number of different solutions in use Sandvik Rotoform® units – discharge and
output for processing into sulphuric acid. around the world. conveying of sulphur pastilles
The processing of crude oil into fuel
requires the extraction of as much
sulphur as possible and the most
advanced process is the Claus process,
which converts H2S into elemental
sulphur .
While the previous processing
company specifically required liquid
sulphur for the production of sulphuric
acid, Esso’s feasibility project recognised
that greater demand – and hence higher
prices – existed for sulphur in a form
that could easily be transported for
subsequent reprocessing. Liquid sulphur
is costly to move and store and, at
temperatures of up to 145 °C, also
requires strict safety procedures.With
markets throughout the Mediterranean
region requiring sulphur as a raw
material for fabrics, agriculture and
rubber vulcanisation, the sulphur clearly
had to be processed into a more easily By 1992, the first complete turnkey
manageable form. installation had been put in operation at
Having decided that solidification was Melilli, near Syracuse.This system,
the most appropriate way forward, Esso consisting of sulphur pit, preconditioner, However, growth in demand from other
then looked at the alternatives in this four steel belt coolers with Rotoformers® companies in the Mediterranean region
market.Their findings favoured Sandvik’s and the cooling water tower, was – including Exxon Mobil Chemical,Agip
Rotoform® solidification technology, the designed for 24 hour a day operation, Petroli and ISAB Energy – meant that
necessary investment was committed 365 days a year, and has been processing this 300 tons/day capacity would soon be
and, as Esso wanted to maintain focus on up to 300 tons a day ever since. insufficient so Econova embarked on an
core operations, Econova was born. on-going programme of investment.

The Sandvik Rotoform® system

sulphur melt by pipeline or in special
trucks, and its storage – ready for
processing – in heated tanks. Heated
pumps then supply the liquid sulphur, at
a constant pressure, to the Rotoform®
The Rotoformer® itself consists of a
heated, cylindrical stator and a
perforated rotating shell that turns
The basic pastillation principle consists environmental problems, such as noise concentrically around the stator,
of a Sandvik Rotoform® feeding system and dust, which are usually associated depositing sulphur drops across the
which deposits droplets of liquid with these secondary processes. This whole operating width of the steel belt.
sulphur onto a continuously running combination of simplicity, efficiency, The circumferential speed of the
steel belt.Water is sprayed against the product quality and minimal Rotoformer® is synchronised with the
underside of the belt and the resulting environmental impact is the key to the speed of the belt, ensuring that drops
transfer of heat converts the droplets success of the system and its versatility are deposited accurately, consistently
into solid pastilles. has resulted in over 1300 installations and without deformation.
This process forms molten product across a whole range of applications – Heat released during solidification
directly into granules or pastilles so since it was first launched. and cooling is transferred by the
there’s no requirement for grinding or Looking at the system in more detail, stainless steel belt to the cooling water.
crushing. This eliminates the costs and the process starts with the delivery of This is sprayed against the belt
Sandvik Rotoform® units at Commercial, practical and environmental benefits
Econova / Melilli / Sicily
The most obvious benefit of efficient requirements, the systems can be shut
pastillation is the production of a down quickly and easily. All essential
consistently high quality end product, components can be accessed from the
Since that first installation a further eight meeting all relevant international shopfloor without auxiliary equipment
Rotoform 3000® systems have been standards. and, with few moving parts to maintain,
installed at the company’s Sicily site, and Considering the fact that solidified operations can be restarted with the
in 2007 a thirteenth line was installed, sulphur may be moved as many as 15 minimum of downtime.
this time making use of Rotoform HS times between production and re-use
(high speed) technology. This new (i.e. the various stages of handling, Environmental aspects
system is based on the same principle transport, storage, etc.), there are a Concerns over environmental issues are
as the standard Rotoform® but, by number of prerequisites of a premium receiving increasing attention, not only
making use of a larger head and longer pastille: from governmental and other regulatory
steel belt cooler, delivers twice the • Low friability and impact abrasion bodies, but also from environmentally
previous capacity – up to 12 tons per resistance (low visual dust aware organisations such as Econova
hour, making it ideal for high capacity generation) themselves, and this was an important
sulphur solidification installations. • Good flow characteristics, but high factor in choosing this particular
Additional benefits include easier angle of repose solution.
servicing and reduced spares • Uniform size and therefore good “Of all the processes available on the
requirement. characteristics for blending market,” says Dr. Giovanni Balistreri,
• Low moisture content shareholder and managing director of
This investment has given Econova the • Stable properties over time Econova,“the Rotoform® pastillation
capacity to handle up to 1850 tons/day • Consistent quality process has proven to be one of the
at its main Sicily site.The recent opening most environmentally-friendly.”
of a new plant – based around three With indirect but highly efficient heat With Sandvik’s continuously
Rotoform® lines – at the ENI refinery in transfer, clearly defined cooling times operating steel belt coolers, heat is
Taranto, Italy gives Econova an and controllable quality through transferred indirectly. So neither the
additional 430 tons/day capacity and accurate crystallisation, the Rotoform® sulphur nor the cooling water can be
boosts total production to 2280 tons/ system satisfies all necessary technical contaminated, and the water is normally
day, 365 days/year. requirements and the consistent, just recycled back into the system after
hemispherical shape of the pastilles cooling. Within the plant itself, the low
themselves ensures excellent handling friability of the pastilles means the
and storage characteristics. atmosphere is virtually dust free and the
In short, the Sandvik Rotoform® lines extracted fumes meet all legal
underside, collected in tanks and here at Econova deliver all the requirements without need for
returned to the recooling plant. At no requirements of this product form: treatment such as scrubbing or
stage does the cooling water come into easy product flow and high bulk weight incineration.
contact with the sulphur. At the cooler through a pastille that’s uniform, stable,
end, pastilles are taken off with a thermally unstressed and of high purity Coping with varying
discharge knife and pass, via a chute, to a and quality. throughput requirements
collecting belt for further processing.To While this in itself is a key advantage Sulphur supply is subject to very high
eliminate the possibility of damage to of the system, Sandvik’s Rotoform® also fluctuations caused by variations in
the pastilles during discharge, a silicon- provides three other major benefits for sulphur content of the crude oil and by
based release agent is applied to the Econova: easy operation and the mode of operation, so the
steel belt as a thin film by means of a maintenance, minimal environmental Rotoform® system has been designed
roller system. impact and maximum versatility. to enable rapid changeover to partial
An automatic filling system ensures that operation without any loss of quality.
sufficient quantity of the release agent is Maximum up-time Alternatively, as Econova’s overall site
always held in the tank. As mentioned above, Econova’s consists of several Rotoform® lines,
The Rotoformer® is equipped with Rotoform® lines have been designed to entire lines can be shut-off and re-
an effective exhaust system, with a tight operate with minimum operator started at short notice, adjusting overall
exhaust hood, an air exhaust and intervention for optimum productivity plant throughput for maximum
throttle flap positioned above each and lower employee costs. In the event flexibility.
Rotoformer®. The solid pastilles are of planned or unscheduled maintenance
transferred to the storage silos via belt
conveyors or a bucket elevator.
Looking beyond sulphur
The experience gained over the last Together, Sandvik and Econova
10-12 years has enabled Econova to expect their close co-operation to pay
establish itself not only as Italy’s No.1 real dividends over the coming years as
company in sulphur solidification, but they continue to work together to
also as a major supplier of consultancy, improve the efficiency and productivity
design and installation services to other of solidification plants at Melilli/Sicily,
companies. This involves a great deal of Taranto/Italy and further afield too.
research, development and system Conveying of sulphur pastilles
testing – carried out in partnership with
Sandvik – and the company now sees
major opportunities for growth through
diversification into other solidification

Rotoform® sulphur pastilles on the way to


Econova’s purpose-designed unit for

Econova management: (left to right) depositing pastilles on the stockpile
Dr. Massimo Andaloro, Dr. Giovanni Balistreri,
Dr. Piero Balistreri. Sandvik: Romolo Colli,
Sales Engineer SPS Italy

© Sandvik Process Systems, Div. of Sandvik GmbH

Econova stockpile

ISO 9001 : 2000 ISO 14001 : 2004

OHSAS 18001 : 1999
3/2008 – Printed in Germany Ship loading at the harbour, Augusta/Sicily