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Parr Instrument Company 211 Fifty Third Street
Moline, Illinois 61265-1770
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(309) 762-7716
Fax: (309) 762-9453

ParrNotes Newsletter Vol.2 No.3


A Quarterly Newsletter of Parr Instrument Company | September Edition 2015 | Vol. 2 No. 3

Welcome to ParrNotes

This is the 7th issue of ParrNotes since we decided to publish this newsletter as just one initiative to open the lines of communication with our dealers. In these days of information overload with too many emails, I hope ParrNotes is one you find useful. Our goal is to educate, inform, and give you the tools to secure new customers and better serve your existing ones.

You have my commitment to continuously improve our business, expand our products, and provide research solutions for our customers.

Good luck selling!!

Jim Nelson
President & Chief Operating Officer


Features and Benefits
Service Tips
Controller Section
Application Awareness
Parr Team Member Focus
Upcoming Events

Features and Benefits

Multi Reactor Systems

Starting with several custom multi-reactor systems beginning in the 1980’s and continuing with the introduction of the first standard multi-reactor product, the MRS5000, in 2001, Parr has been building multiple reactor systems for many years. Recently the demand for more and different multi reactor systems has prompted us to add additional information to our catalog. Chapter 3 is now dedicated to Multi Reactor Systems and includes short descriptions of a number of systems recently produced. There you will find photos of systems that range from a three reactor system designed for corrosion testing by an industrial customer made up of large vessels rated for use at high temperatures and pressures and constructed of Alloy C-276 (3x 4578; 1.8L rated 345bar @ 500 °C), to a six reactor system to be used by an academic research center at a leading university comprised of our smallest stirred vessels which includes an automated liquid sampling system (6x 4596; 25mL rated 200bar @ 350 °C). More information about these and other multiple reactor systems can be found on pages 72 and 73 of the newest version of our catalog, released just last month.

Three Reactor Parallel System

Three Reactor
Parallel System

Six Reactor Parallel System with Automated Sampling System

Six Reactor Parallel System
with Automated Sampling System

We look forward to working with you to determine whether a multi-reactor system might serve the needs of your customers, whether they are combinatorial chemists at pharmaceutical companies, catalyst development researchers at petroleum companies, material scientists at polymer producers, or academic researchers looking to perform parallel testing on any process. In just the last year or so, we have manufactured multi reactor systems using our largest stirred reactors (4x 20L), to our smallest (6x 25mL), and several in between (8x 1L, 2x2L, etc.) Don’t hesitate to contact us for general information about previous projects or with specific questions about how such a system might meet the needs of your current customers.

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Service Tips

The Importance of Proper Maintenance on Oxygen Combustion Vessels

By now everyone is familiar with the regular maintenance done after every 500 tests on Parr Instrument Company’s Oxygen Combustion Vessels. This consists of replacing all of the O-rings and seals on the oxygen vessel and, for the 6400, the O-rings and lubrication on the seal/release piston area.

Parr also strongly recommends returning all oxygen vessels to Parr after 5000 tests for recertification in accordance with ASTM E144 Standard Practice for Safe Use of Oxygen Combustion Vessels. If the bomb is subjected to high levels of chlorine or waste materials it may have to be returned more frequently.

Recently a customer experienced a problem with a burn through on their 6400 Automatic Isoperibol Calorimeter. Investigation revealed that this bomb had over 8000 tests without being recertified.

Pitted oxygen vessel

Pitted Oxygen Vessel Cylinder

The image on the right shows the cylinder is extremely pitted from testing wastes and other materials.

Part of the recertification process is polishing the cylinder and checking that all critical sealing surfaces are undamaged.

Parr has not yet received this bomb for evaluation so these critical sealing surfaces have not been measured yet. Looking at the pitting it is likely that the cylinder would have been rejected had it been returned to Parr for testing at the correct interval. Performing this important maintenance could have preserved the safety of the equipment and prevented thousands of dollars of damage to the customer’s 6400 Calorimeter.

Damaged Oxygen Vessel Retainer

Damaged Oxygen Vessel Retainer

The damaged 925DD Oxygen Vessel Retainer is shown in the image on the right. What we suspect is that the 821DD O-ring seal on the 668DD Check Valve was compromised. Pitting on the sealing surface could cause the O-ring to leak/fail when the sample is ignited. This could bring the flame down through the exhaust path and cut the metal like a welding torch. Once the flame gets to the exhaust tubing it will melt it immediately causing the calorimeter to exhaust pressure and flame inside the case.

Please note that every oxygen combustion vessel that Parr manufactures is subject to the recommended 500 Test Maintenance and 5000 Test Recertification.

Help inform and encourage our customers to prevent damages like these from occurring to their equipment. Additional information on recommended maintenance is found in all Parr Instrument Company calorimeter and oxygen vessel instruction manuals, our 480M Dealer Service of the Parr 1108 Oxygen Combustion Vessel and 481M Dealer Service of the Parr 1136 and 1138 Oxygen Vessel dealer service manuals.

Parr Instrument Company in the U.S. and Parr GmbH in Germany are set up to fully test and recertify any oxygen combustion vessel manufactured by Parr. Please contact us for details.

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Controller Section

SpecView Version 3

For many years, Parr Instrument Company has utilized SpecView as the Graphic User Interface (GUI) and data logging platform for the 4871 Process Controllers for both custom systems as well as the 5000 Multiple Reactor System (MRS). In addition, SpecView can be specified for any order with a 4838 or 4848 Controller as an upgrade to the standard ParrCom software issued with these controllers. Recently, SpecView has completed the beta testing phase of SpecView version 3 and has begun distribution of this much anticipated release.

Many improvements have been made to this version, some of which may not be readily evident to most users. The most obvious change is the improvements to the charts. These changes include improved graphics, the ability to add notes to the chart, chart scrollback (the ability to view previous data) and many options to accommodate the incorporation of visual preferences to the charts. Several other major improvements impact the development of projects and may not be noticeable during runtime: live data during edit mode, the ability to cut/paste without losing properties, interactive variables list and improved color dynamics capabilities. For a more in-depth look at “What’s new in SpecView version 3”, a video produced by SpecView can be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MHikcilLc4.

In order to ensure that “bugs” in SpecView version 3 will not have an adverse impact on our customers’ use of the software, Parr Instrument Company will continue to issue most projects in SpecView version 2.5 format during this initial release of SpecView version 3. Since the SpecView projects are upward compatible, they can be opened by either SpecView version 2.5 or SpecView version 3. This will allow the user to install either version of SpecView on their PC for interfacing with the Parr Instrument Company controllers. SpecView projects that are only configured for version 3 will be designated with a name that ends with V3.

The SpecView installation files as well as the supporting documentation, including a new SpecView version 3 manual and several videos produced by SpecView to highlight the improvements, will be included on the distribution media issued with the project. This additional material has increased to a size that can no longer fit on a CD. Therefore, the installation materials and all supporting documentation will now be issued on a USB thumb drive. This will allow the installation files, the application specific files and the support materials to remain on a single source. The thumb drive will contain all of the files previously installed on the CD as well as an ISO image of the materials. It should be noted that the thumb drives cannot be locked and that the user should be careful as to not delete any pertinent information from the drive. A read-only ISO image is included so that if any files are inadvertently deleted, the information can be restored by mounting the ISO image using Windows™ or with any of the many available 3rd party options available on the Internet.

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Application Awareness

Heating Slowly Can Be Beneficial

Typical Heater and Reactor Temperature Graph

Typical Heater and Reactor
Temperature Control Graph

Customers often ask about how quickly a Parr reactor can be heated to a desired temperature. Though rapid heating rates are warranted in some processes, heating quickly usually comes with unforeseen consequences. This article discusses how heating at a slower, deliberately controlled rate has its benefits.

Shortened heater life is often a consequence of trying to obtain a maximum heating rate. The heating elements used in Parr’s Reactor Systems are made of materials that have low thermal mass relative to the large thermal mass of the vessels being heated. To achieve upper end reactor temperatures requires a significant amount of power. When a Parr heater is powered at 100%, the high powered heating element can reach temperatures well above its recommended maximum operating temperature long before the reactor reaches the desired operating temperature. Operating at higher than recommended temperatures can fatigue the heating element precipitating as reduced heater life. This is often transparent to the user as the heating element temperature is neither monitored nor limited.

Temperature overshoot is another consequence of heating too quickly, primarily due to thermal lag. This is especially true when heating heavy walled, large diameter, and/or non-stirred reactors. The media inside the reactor can have thermal properties that lead to increased thermal lag. Heating too quickly can also cause the cylinder walls to reach higher than desirable temperatures, which can lead to undesirable conditions. Thermal lag is often exaggerated when using a glass or PTFE liner, which can lead to deformation of PTFE liners. Heating at a slower and controlled rate allows the heat to transfer more evenly reducing hot spots.

The most common ways to control the heat rate using Parr controllers are:

  1. Utilize a ramp program. All of Parr’s current heater controllers have the ability to run a ramp function. Details on programming a ramp function can be found in the associated instructional documentation or by contacting Parr’s customer service department.
  2. Operate using lower power settings during the heating cycle. Limiting the power on Parr’s 4848/4838 Series Controllers can be done by setting the heater switch to the low power (I) setting. The low power setting is typically suitable to take the reactor up to 100-150 °C, after which, the switch can be set to high power when taking the reactor to higher temperatures. Parr’s 4871 Controllers are typically provided with a way to set a multiplier on the heating output. As an example; a multiplier of 0.5 limits the maximum output to 50%.

We hope the information above will better equip you to discuss heater performance with your customers and allow you to help set realistic expectations. If you need additional information about heating rate management, ramp program entry, controller power settings, or other topics, please do not hesitate to email us with your specific questions and we will address them with diligence.

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Parr Team Member Focus

Parr Instrument Company has received approximately 6,300 orders this year and over 9,500 orders in 2014 through direct and distributor sales. In order to process this workload, Parr currently employs 109 people. We are thankful for each team member who aids from order entry to product delivery in helping our company run smoothly and efficiently.

In this issue, we will focus on three of our assembly team experts who construct all of our reactor systems. From standard orders to custom systems, our assemblers ensure each order is built to specification with top care and quality.

Parr Instrument Company's Reactor and Pressure Vessels Assembly Team

Parr Instrument Company’s
Reactor and Pressure Vessels Assembly Team

Kurt Dopler

Kurt’s primary responsibility is assembling Parr’s pressure reactors. He has been with the company for seven years and likes the interesting challenges that his job presents. Outside of Parr, Kurt devotes his time as a preacher for a local church.

Kurt Dopler

Travis Fouts

Travis’ focus in our assembly department is building our custom reactor systems. In the past two years, Travis has built approximately 30 unique systems. When not building equipment at Parr, Travis can be found working in his wood shop building anything from custom ink pens to furniture.

Travis Fouts

Steve Jebsen

Steve has been with Parr for 18 years, spending the first eight years in our machine shop and 10 in assembly. His day to day job is building our pressure reactors and vessels. Steve enjoys the different challenges that he is faced with everyday at work. In his free time, Steve spends time with his wife of 38 years and their children and grandchildren.

Steve Jebsen

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Upcoming Events

Parr Stand and Team at

7th Symposium on Continuous Flow Reactor Technology
September 28 – October 1, 2015
Delft, Netherlands
Look for: Parr U.S.A. & Benelux Scientific

11th International Symposium on Supercritical Fluids (ISSF 2015)

October 11 – 14, 2015
Seoul, Korea
Look for: MK Science

The Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers
October 22 – 23, 2015
Kintex, Korea
Look for: MK Science

2015 AIChE Annual Meeting
November 8-13, 2015
Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Look for: Parr U.S.A.

2015 Pacifichem
December 15-20, 2015
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii
Look for: Parr U.S.A.

View our complete list of shows.

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