ProCap83

jon
edited April 2020 in Configuration

I've been having trouble with my current 8" setup with bubble caps (lots of flooding), and thinking of upgrading, maybe going from 8 bubble plates to 4 ProCap83 plates. Anyone using a ProCap83 on an 8" have any feedback, especially the upper limit of power for a single ProCap83?

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Comments

  • Might help if you have more details on your setup? How much power etc

  • Just for a scale reference, the big ProCaps on a 12" plate lay out about like the smaller ProCaps on a 4" plate.

    An 8" plate seems about like the odd man out in terms of size.

    A single larger ProCap fits on a 6" diameter pretty nicely.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • The boiler is 1000lt so oversized for an 8", and has 4 2" ports for elements so a max of about 40kw depending on which elements I use.

  • I don't think a 1000L is too small for an 8' column necessarily. 8" column with the smaller ProCaps will run 35 liters an hour nicely.

    70 watts per liter for a 1 hour heat up 35 watts per liter for a 2 hour heat up

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I would be getting to the root cause of your flooding issue before changing your setup. How do you normally run?

    I know when I have flooding issues (smaller scale though) its due to running to much reflux or to much heat. Normally I slowly dial down the reflux until my output percent decreases and then adjust power if required.

  • I think the flooding issue is caused because the caps are providing too much resistance vs the downcomers. As soon as I up to 12kw the downcomers stop draining and liquid holds up on each plate.

    I'm able to run about 12lt an hour of 91% at the moment,

    Note, I'm not sure that the bubble caps are StillDragon, as the column was purchased secondhand.

  • edited April 2020

    You could add additional downcomers to each plate (and see if thst helps) or drill a small hole to help with drainage.

    If its normal bubble caps and not the ProCaps36 then that sounds like your limitation.

    @punkin whats the max power you can throw at an 8"? And whats the general LPH people get?

  • edited April 2020

    @Smaug would know better than me, but the flow ranges from 20L/h tpo 60L/h depending on your product and style with ProCaps. I don't supply any of the AU columns with regular caps nowadays, a few 4" ones but I'm going to stop stocking them.

    I do know that some of my customers have had trouble with the 5-star caps as when they copied ours it was before @Smaug tweaked the designs to allow more flow.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • jon
    edited April 2020

    @punkin or @Smaug I assume that 20L/h to 60L/h is for the regular ProCaps36, would single ProCap83 be at the higher or lower end of that range?

  • edited April 2020

    Hi @jon,

    I don't think we have enough data to draw any conclusions yet.

    @grim likely has the most runs under his belt with the larger ProCap. But even then he is running 12" plates populated with 3 of the larger ProCaps.

    I'll know more soon as the continuous system on the way to Huntington Beach has single ProCap83s in the 6" rectifier. But the tees are 10" tall so the pressure associated with bad hydraulic behavior will be a bit more forgiving.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Also, @CothermanDistilling has a bunch of 8" stuff and likes to tinker so he is a good candidate to characterize the optimal operation range of the 8" diameter.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @Smaug said: Also, CothermanDistilling has a bunch of 8" stuff and likes to tinker so he is a good candidate to characterize the optimal operation range of the 8" diameter.

    I have been running the piss out of my 30-plate 8" CD with ProCap36's.... I have both the early design and later design ProCap36's (1/2" vs 5/8" tall, respectively). I do have risers on the old style to raise the bed height. I run a 4500 and a 6000W element when collecting and keep my RC at about 120F with a proportional valve that meters flow through a 200kbtu water/air heat exchanger.. the proportional valve is usually between 60 to 90% open, opening more as vapor temp below the RC raises. I am getting a little less than 20L/hr at 190-191, and if I drop to 188, I can double the output rate...

    I am turning molasses into 190 as fast as I can, I am bottling some sanitizer for local sales and transferring 55wg/100PG at a time to another local distillery that is combining it with his and selling larger containers to larger customers.

    If you have old school bubble caps, and have 18? holes, maybe swap another cap for a downcomer per plate to stop flooding... also, it is time consuming, but you can 'port' the downcomers by taking the sharp edges and smoothing the restrictions on the liquid flow... also, you have the downcomers grouped and alternating from side to side, correct? you want to get the cross-flow of the liquid before it goes down to the next plate if possible..

    Another option would be to enlarge one hole to fit 3/4" copper tube and have it stick out the top the depth you want the liquid, and stick out the bottom so it is submerged below the liquid level... you might be able to do two 1/2" copper pipes and not permanently affect the plate... (might)

  • jon
    edited April 2020

    I'm pretty sure it's not a draining problem, it's a pressure problem caused by the bubble caps. Often I only have 1 or 2 of the downcomers draining the rest have vapour forcing up them.

    10.5 kW seems low for 12 ProCaps, especially when you don't care about quality / separation, although that output seems high. Your 188 proof takeoff is 4 times my 182 rate and I'm using about 70% of the power. I think I used to run my 3 ProCap setups at 4 kW for rum after pulling off heads.

    Is there a reason you going to 190 proof for hand sanitizer, if you could double output at a lower rate, I'm supplying at 180 and they still easily able to create the WHO recipe.

  • you are not legally making the right hand sanitizer if you are not using 190...... FDA rules...

    Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)Guidance for Industry (PDF)

    see page 3 - "94.9% ethanol by volume"

  • Also, if you use a calculator such as Hand Sanitizer Calculator @ HoochWare, it warns you if you put in less than 94.9%...

  • @CothermanDistilling said: you are not legally making the right hand sanitizer if you are not using 190...... FDA rules...

    Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)Guidance for Industry (PDF)

    see page 3 - "94.9% ethanol by volume"

    I think it’s important to note for USA producers that @CothermanDistilling is giving incomplete information on the 94.9% number.

    If you will refer to footnote 8 on the same page it clearly says that lower percent alcohol may be used as long as it is on the label and that the percentage does not drop below 80%

    Perhaps some corrections should be noted in the appropriate threads?

    If you read the WHO original formula document it talks about 75-85% being the most effective range for alcohol percentage of the formula. This deliberately provides a margin of error for developing nations, field conditions and places where accurate weight and measuring devices are not available or not used correctly.

  • edited May 2020

    Be careful with that, there are two issues, purity and proof. I thought they reduced the standard to account for alcohol distilled to a lower purity, but reading the footnote, I'm no longer convinced.

    (8) This is consistent with the USP and FCC grade requirements for purity. Lower ethanol content alcohol falls within this policy so long as it is labeled accordingly, and the finished hand sanitizer meets the ethanol concentration of 80%.

    This is not clear. If they are saying that USP and FCC grade requirements for purity still apply, and that you need to be consistent with requirements, they would be talking about using 94.9% ethanol that was diluted to a lower proof, not ethanol distilled at a lower proof (less pure).

  • and "labeled accordingly"..

  • @Smaug said: Just for a scale reference, the big ProCaps on a 12" plate lay out about like the smaller ProCaps on a 4" plate. An 8" plate seems about like the odd man out in terms of size. A single larger ProCap fits on a 6" diameter pretty nicely.

    I heard someone say recently that you personally had made ProCaps better. I thought it was rise in the height. I am confused. Is there a single ProCap that will fit an 6 inch? I’d like more info on ProCap specs. Sounds like a game changer. I understood ProCap would cure flooding and take more watts. Please spill everything about ProCaps. If you have a link that help I’d be happy with that.

  • edited May 29

    Here is a bit of the historical summary of the bubble caps progression.

    Punkin can add to or correct my recollection.

    Because we understood that the turndown ratio (operating range) of bubble caps was wider than perforated plates, we knew that we wanted to produce a system that was at least theoretically better at precision separation than it's perforated counter part. Even though we of course knew that perfs would be existentially more affordable to produce, they were already being done. We wanted to keep our designs as creatively original as possible.

    That, added to the fact that we wanted a system that could also be easily incorporated into what hobby builders were also doing with the newly realized small plated columns of the day.

    The very first generation of bubble caps had 3mm holes in the little stand pipe section. Operators soon started opening those holes up to 4 mm in an effort to get more through put, and so we changed the design in kind.

    People started trying to run faster as the small columns started being used by boutique start up distilleries. With a single downcomer per plate (on the 4") and added pressure to run faster, users started eliminating a bubble cap and replacing with an extra downcomer in an effort to help the column cope with the added vapor being put into suspension. Operators started throwing more heat at the system in an effort to move into what they assumed at the time was commercial production speeds. The added DCs didn't really adequately help cope with the larger issue of more through put. We again enlarged the holes in the DCs and BCs to try and help through put. But we just ran out of space to make more or bigger holes.

    Hence the original ProCaps were conceived. We didn't want to sacrifice any real estate for added DCs and we didn't want to reduce potential vapor through put by eliminating BCs. The ProCap solution works well. We though we had something worthy of protection, but soon realized that big oil had beaten us to the punch in about 1937 or so hahaha.

    An equal amount of real estate dedicated to draining capability and vapor through put. After that, only a small modification to the design to slightly increase the volume of the liquid beds in order to shift a bit more alcohol into the column.

    So at small scale production, the ProCaps became an industry standard really. We now see knock offs everywhere. However, guys like grim that have plenty of steam boiler capacity were reporting that they indeed could still flood a ProCap plate. It would seem guys like grim needed more through put capability in order to execute a right proper strip or just prepare for the next level of general production capability without compromising the systems ability to optimally liberate ethanol?

    Seemed the next step was to scale the ProCap up to a legitimate size. So we measured and calculated the open area on the regular ProCaps. Doing so, we then realized that the open area available for drain capability was actually smaller than the open area for vapor through put. Previous thinking (or lack there of) did not allow us to take that kind of metric into proper consideration. Based on feed back from the customers, we knew that we did not want the plates to flood no mater how much heat was being thrown at the kettle.

    So the larger ProCap83s were laid out so that the open area dedicated for drain capability was indeed larger than the open area for vapor through put.

    The single larger ProCap does fit nicely into a 6" column. Very much like the original single ProCap fits into the BabyDragon. The single ProCap83 on a six inch column is very likely not flood "proof". The ratios are not as favorable as 3 big caps on the 12" column if you see my meaning? However, if you increase the distance between liquid beds you will also further optimize the column's hydraulic behavior.

    grim can likely talk more at length about his 12" column outfitted with the big ProCaps.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Sounds about right to me, but it was a lot of beers ago.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • The only other design change was to the flow director. A 12" ProCap plate has 18 ProCaps. If you have 18 or 20 plates,,,,that is a mind numbing amount of ProCaps to install. And the flow director further adds to the desire to stick an ice pick in ones ear when assembling. The ProCap83s have a fully integrated flow director because,,,,,,whiskey.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • 3 Procap83 does outperform the traditional cap design on a 12” tray - both in raw speed, but I think turndown as well.

    I can run them with lower reflux rates, without draining/drying the plates out (maybe a function of the deeper bed). The deeper bed does provide a little bit higher proof output. Keep in mind I never used the inserts on the small caps.

    Really want to see these things in an 18” column on a 500g kettle - that would really save me time.

  • The big caps are serious, holding one in your hand is pretty awesome.

  • I’ll cut some new videos of the big caps

  • edited May 30

    With respect to the higher ABV, here is a riff (barrowed from the continuous spirit column) on an Liquid Management system that will allow you to make a heads cut CM style. And/or pull product off at any plate level if a lower (barrel strength) abv is needed.

    Sort of like the polar opposite of a plate by-pass.

    If running CM style, the small (4" x 20") heads condenser acts as a pre-condenser that will allow distillate to flow from the top exit with out fear of steam hammering. Or simply switch the discharge to the under side port of the main product condenser.

    image

    image

    LM Hybrid_1.jpg
    800 x 664 - 46K
    LM Hybrid_2.jpg
    800 x 800 - 51K

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @smaug @grim @punkin wow!!!!!!!!!!!! Not at all what I expected to hear. Family caused me to be out of this for a number of years. Bubble caps were the shit when I left. I designed a single cap many years ago that had 2 separate DC It looked like a smile. 2 1/2 in eyes and a 2 inch mouth. I still have them but never tried them. I’d love to see pics videos of progresssion if possible. All especially procap vs 83s vs 38s

  • edited May 30

    The history of the original ProCaps is discussed right here. Moonshine may come along and provide a link if we are lucky.

    The evolution of many of our designs were done here in consultation with our customers and forum members. The GB4 gin basket was the first ever modular carter head produced, other companies saw this and decided it was easier to lift our design than do all that development work for themselves. ;;)
    Same with the Crystal Dragon, copies of which are being sold here in Australia and world wide.

    We're pretty proud of both the development and that our products are good enough to steal. :))

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • One of the lads over on the ADI forums liked to come across as an expert builder that did spend time casting shade ( before the "Affordable" used car salesman showed up).

    I didn't have the heart to publicize the dude didn't even know what a dephlegmator was till he purchased one of ours to evaluate.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Lol who is the used car salesman? Is he really a used car salesman?

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