The Flavourtech Spinning Cone Column is a distillation or stripping column in which steam removes, under vacuum, volatile compounds from liquids or slurries.
The column itself is a vertical, stainless-steel vessel with a central rotating shaft. It contains a stack of alternate rotating and stationary cones, the rotating cones attached to the shaft, the stationary cones fixed to the wall of the column. A cut-away diagram of a single cone set is shown in Figure 1.
The feed material, from which the volatile compounds are to be removed, is fed into the top of the column. This material, either liquid or slurry, flows as a thin film down the upper surface of the first stationary cone. It then drains through the outlet of the stationary cone on to the base of the spinning cone immediately below. Centrifugal force, generated by the rotation of the cone, causes the liquid to flow upwards and outwards across the upper surface of the spinning cone, again as a thin film.
This film breaks up as it is thrown from the lip of the spinning cone; the liquid is then deflected downwards on to the next stationary cone, and the cycle is repeated. In this manner, the liquid works its way, cone by cone, from top to bottom of the column.
At the same time as liquid is flowing down the column, stripping steam is introduced into the base of the column. The vapour flows upwards, across the surfaces of the volatile-rich liquid films, separating and removing the volatile compounds from the liquid. Fins on the undersides of the rotating cones promote turbulence in the vapour stream, increasing mass transfer efficiencies. Figure 2 illustrates the flow of liquid and vapour through the column.
The vapour flows out of the top of the column and passes through a condensing system which captures the volatiles in a concentrated form. The remaining liquid or slurry is pumped out of the bottom of the column.