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The Use and Thermal Processing of Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is an amazingly versatile sedimentary rock that is composed of the microscopic fossilized remains of algae cell walls and readily crumbles into a fine powder.  These deposits of hard-shelled phytoplankton, also called diatoms, are the ancestors of the modern algae living in both fresh and salt water.  First discovered in Germany in the 1830s, diatomaceous earth is today found in numerous places around Europe and the United States, both on land and in marine deposits.

Heyl & Patterson to Exhibit at Power-Gen International 2014

Power Plant Smokestack

Electricity has been generated at power stations since 1882, and the first such plants ran on water or coal.  Over 130 years later, the modern world mainly relies on coal, nuclear, natural gas, petroleum, hydroelectric and biomass, with a small amount from wind, solar, tidal and geothermal sources.  The process of powering by electricity is known as electrification, and like these methods of power generation, it is usually associated with a change in a power source from one form to another.

Heyl & Patterson to Present on Frac Sand Drying at Frac Sand Insider

Frac Job in Process

Hydraulic fracturing, also called "fracking" or "fracing," permits access to vast amounts of natural gas that had previously been unreachable.  A well is first drilled into a rock formation, and a high-pressure fluid containing a propping agent, or proppant, is then injected into the well.  This mixture typically consists of water, sand and a proprietary blend of chemicals.  Once injected into the well, the proppant prevents the fracture from closing, which allows the gas to flow freely.

Answering Demand for Train Positioning in the Oil Sands Industry

Tanker Trains

The more efficient an oil sands operation is, the more profitable it can be.  The crude by rail industry has become an important means of transporting oil within Canadian provinces, to the lower 48 states, and to Europe and Asia.  Rail has become so vital because development of pipelines such as the Keystone XL have been delayed, and construction on pipelines for oversea exports is just getting under way. 

Potash Drying is Vital to the Fertilizer Industry

Potash Crystals courtesy of USGS

Potash is a mined salt that contains potassium as a primary ingredient.  Its formation is the result of the evaporation of bodies of water over hundreds of thousands of years, leaving potassium in their wake.  The substance was then buried deep in soil hundreds of feet under the ground, and was originally discovered during the oil-drilling process in Saskatchewan, where the largest potash reserves are located to this day.

Variety of Choice in River Barge Unloading

Grab Barge Unloaders

Prior to the Civil War, cities in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys such as Pittsburgh and St. Louis were wholly dependent upon steamboats as a means of transporting bulk materials.  Even after barges entered service, they were unloaded by hand because unloading machines had not yet been developed.  Productivity improved along with technology, and new processes were developed for machinery production and mechanization.

Innovative Zipper Duct Masters Dust Collection From Barge Unloading

Grain CBU

Dust is a collection of particles in the atmosphere that can consist of anything from soil to pollen to skin cells.  In terms of bulk material handling operations, dust mainly refers to tiny fragments of the very materials being transported or transferred.  After dust is formed, it causes more wear on equipment components such as bearings, and can create a grinding effect for increased abrasion.  It also leads to an increased risk of fire, higher maintenance costs and decreased visibility for workers.

Brighter Living Through the Processing of Titanium Dioxide

Paint Cans

Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium that is commonly sourced from minerals such as anatase, ilmenite, brookite and rutile.  Known by the molecular formula TiO2, it is formed when two oxygen molecules attach to one titanium molecule during the process of oxidation.  Although it occurs naturally in an impure form, the industrial demand for pure titanium dioxide necessitates its manufacture through processing.

Heyl & Patterson Hosts 2014 Railcar Dumper User Group Conference

Railcar Dumper User Group

Heyl & Patterson introduced the first-ever conference designed for users of railcar dumping systems in 1984.  Thirty years later, the conference continues to bring users together for industry best practices, product updates, training, roundtables and social networking.  Attendees of the bi-annual Railcar Dumper User Group Conference have access to Heyl & Patterson engineers and technicians to discuss the most up-to-date techniques and processes for efficient operations.

H&P Process Spotlight: Oil Sands Processing

Oil Sands Bitumen Processing2 resized 600

Canada's oil sand deposits contain the world’s second largest oil resource, after Saudi Arabia.  Surface mining can extract around 20% of the oil and currently covers about 342 square miles in the province of Alberta, roughly two-thirds the size of the city of Los Angeles.  In their natural state, oil sands are loose particles that are a combination of clay, sand and water saturated with bitumen.  Processing of this material fundamentally separates oil-bearing bitumen from the sand itself, and can also be referred to as bituminous sands.

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