If you run a professional distillery, petrochemical unit or any other plant that requires the use of towers or columns for distillation, absorption, stripping, heating, scrubbing, etc then you can surely boost the efficiency of your column with structured packings. If you have a larger tower or column that needs optimization then you should certainly opt for a structured approach instead of using random packing so as to enhance the capacity of your column.
Your current random packing could have consisted of column packing material such as berl saddles, intalox saddles, raschig rings, pall rings, or cascade mini rings, among others and would have been made out of various types of metals, ceramics, or plastics. These column internals are usually procured in sacks or bags and simply dumped in column or tower beds as per specific requirements. However, in case your requirements for such column packing is large then there could be a high level of distortion or breakage in the lower levels of such random packing due to excess weight and this could cause blockage in the path of vapors traveling upwards during distillation or other processes.
An alternative solution to packing medium to large towers or columns would be to opt for structured packings. These packings are actually available as corrugated sheets with criss-cross design for effective vapor liquid separation. These packings are usually supplied in bales and are then inserted into the column after ascertaining the exact dimensions for optimum efficiency. The advantages of using the structured packing approach is to increase efficiency while lowering pressure drops to a large extent, which in turn will deliver a purer product while consuming less amount of energy at the same time. If you have not received satisfactory results with random packings or with trays then it is truly time to opt for this approach.
While traditional structured packings have been constructed out of corrugated sheet metal, modern manufacturing methods have enabled designers to offer intricate designs with increased surface area or packing density for improved results. You too should seek out packings that possess high packing density, high mechanical strength, low weight, and low maintenance costs in the long run. If you have a small or medium sized column in terms of diameter then you can also opt for wire gauze structured packing to improve the efficiency of your column without boosting production or maintenance costs. You should certainly utilize the powers of the World Wide Web to study different types of structured column packings so as to compare their features before making an informed decision as to the packing that best suits your production process. Many manufacturers of such packings now offer their products through the internet and you can easily browse through their product lineup and receive quotes as well as deliveries with just a few clicks of your computer mouse.
If you want to avoid sudden pressure drops as well as flooding due to excessive liquid buildup during distilling, absorption, or stripping, among other processes and find that random packings are unable to efficiently solve your problems then you should simply look towards structured column packing. You can certainly boost the efficiency of your column with structured packings that can be conformed easily to suit the shape of your tower or column and can solve your problems in a truly cost effective way.