In general, bitumen emulsion production equipment is used to produce bitumen emulsions. Usually is employs colloid mills, but also magnetic mills or hydrodynamic mixers are also available options. Bitumen emulsion units are classified according to their operational principles:
- cyclic (batch); or
- continuous (in-line).
Sometimes cyclic production units may be calle continuous equipment. In such a case, it means a continuous process of emulsion production. It is therefore, desirable to give clear definitions to the processes to avoid confusion. Emulsifier solution is an indispensable condition for bitumen emulsion preparation. It may also contain additional components such as acid or alkali. Such emulsifier solutions with additional components is called the “water phase.”
A “Continuous” inline bitumen emulsion production unit is a machine where the water phase is prepared directly in the pipeline that leads to the colloid mill. This process is uninterrupted.
The distinctive feature of the cyclic bitumen emulsion units is that they include one or two containers where emulsifier and additional components are metered. The resulting substance is blended and then supplied to the colloid mill.
The remarkable thing is that the bitumen-emulsion unit that includes two containers, is not considered to be a continuous in-line machine because of the difference in components metering the water phase parameters checkout and the process control.
This equipment should be considered to be a modified cyclic bitumen unit designed to increase productivity. The continuous, in-line bitumen emulsion unit does not include containers that are meant for the water phase preparation. The emulsifier and the components are metered directly into the “water to mill” supply line and are mixed before injection. There is no process cyclicity. Properties of the product, obtained at the first stage of production, will be stable during the whole production process.
In continuous inline bitumen production units, stability of the water phase is provided by using a special control system. The fact that such control systems require much more equipment and components, has led to the increase in the cost of continuous inline bitumen emulsion units.
Continuous bitumen units however, are considered to be better than cyclic bitumen units in functional terms despite the cost difference in the price of the equipment. The most suitable bitumen-emulsion unit for bitumen emulsion production may be chosen by clicking here.