Pilot Scale Fractionating Column

What is Fractionating Distillation Equipment? 

A fractionating column, also known as a fractional column, is a crucial piece of equipment used in the distillation of liquid mixtures to divide the mixture into its constituent sections, or fractions, based on variations in volatilities. Small-scale laboratory distillations and large-scale industrial distillations both use fractionating columns.

The separation of volatile components (fractionation) can be accomplished with Promas cutting-edge fractional distillation equipment (Fractional Columns). Fractional distillation is ideal for separating complex mixtures such as fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foods, flavors, cosmetics, extracts, and so on.

From lab-scale solvent recovery to manufacturing scale fractional distillation equipment is available in a variety of sizes. Promas specializes in fractionation columns in the mid-size range. These fractionation units were designed to bridge the gap between small laboratory bench scale fractional distillation units and large process systems for critical applications.

We can assist with design (including evaluation for theoretical plates, plus the energy needed for the desired separation) and can evaluate the appropriate components for the best configuration for your needs using Promas engineering expertise for fractional distiller equipment. After that, the fractional distillation unit is designed, tested, and delivered.

Pilot Scale Fractionating Column

 The PROMAS- FC- 1  is a 30-litre capacity pilot-scale fractionation column made of stainless steel. The fractionating column is made to do multicomponent batch fractionations in a high-vacuum environment. It differs from a traditional distillation unit in that it uses a dropping film style “wide surface area” heat exchanger through which the fluid to be fractionated is continuously pumped that results in turbulent flow of liquid from top to bottom of all tubes. 

The thin layer of the material that forms on the tube surface wears away by the turbulent flow and that results in increasing the heat transfer coefficient. During the distillation, the heating surface is constant, unlike in the pot of a traditional batch distillation column. As a result, the temperature of the heating media should not be increased significantly to transfer enough heat to sustain the boil-up rate. 

This prevents the substance from overheating and thermolabile components of the mixture do not change chemically. Furthermore, exclusive fractionations are performed in a programmed manner from this column by changing the source heat temperature, because of the presence of various controls in the system operating the columns becomes quite simple. 

The overall unit includes the following features: 

  • A stainless steel reboiler of capacity 30 litres with a charging nozzle and an isolating valve. The unit is equipped with a vacuum gauge that displays the net pressure inside the pot. The materials flow through a bottle nozzle into the suction port of a delivery pump which pumps it to the top of the vessel’s high surface area heat exchanger. The liquid temperature is shown by thermometer sensors at the pump. When the distillation is over, the pot can be withdrawn through the bottom out let on the pump. There is a sight and light glass that allows you to see within the reboiler. 
  • A wide surface area heat exchanger is made up of SS 316 shell and the tube is placed vertically on the horizontal reboiler. Using a gear pump thermic fluid is continuously circulated through the heat exchanger casing (P-1). A carbon steel oil expansion tank is also included in the circuit. The temperature of the heating medium can be controlled by changing the oil temperature on the control panel. 
  •  On the reboiler’s vapor nozzle, a packed column of sufficient length packed with structured wire net packings is installed. The column has a lot of surface area per unit volume of packing, and it has a lot of voidage. As a result, for a given boil-up rate, the pressure drop across the column is minimal. This improves the column’s productivity. 
  • A SS 316 reflux divider with a pneumatically operated ball valve allows you to choose any reflux ratio. A reflux condenser (shell and tube) with sufficient heat transfer area to allow vapor condensation.
  • A glass viseur connects a vacuum line to the main vacuum pump. A residue collection pot (optional) with a pressure-balancing line to make it easier to remove pot residue while the column is still vacuumed.


  • To circulate oil through the main reboiler heat exchanger, a hot oil circulation pump and an oil expansion tank are used. To allow pre-setting of the heating oil temperature, the electrical heaters are connected to the main power supply through a temperature control system. The pump creates forced circulation, which improves heating efficiency.
  • To ensure water supply, a water tank and a water pump are linked to all condensers and traps. Oil-sealed high vacuum pump with two stages capable of evacuating the entire device to 0.5 Torr.
  • To prevent uncondensed vapor from entering the vacuum pump, a vacuum trap (optional) is connected between the pump and the device. A cum vapor trap on the vacuum leg to help isolate the device from the receiver when vacating.
  • A chiller (optional) to supply chilled water or brine to the pit.
  • At the reboiler, condenser, and other stages, vacuum gauges are used to track the vacuum/pressure. To register liquid and vapor temperatures, three temperature sensors are attached to the digital display unit.
  • An energy meter is used to calculate the total amount of energy supplied to the batch during the distillation process. A control panel with all of the appropriate switches and display units to program the column’s operation. Compressed air is supplied to the reflux control valve through a 1/2 horsepower air compressor (optional). The whole thing is put on a steel frame and polished to give it a gleaming finish.


To provide regulated heating to the device material to be distilled, a dropping film forced / circulation heating system is used. A pneumatically controlled reflux control system that allows for the presetting of a broad range of reflux ratios to achieve maximum efficiency. A conveniently placed control panel with all controls in one place to make operations easier. A live demonstration of the fractionating column can be seen at PROMAS Engineers Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai, where a GLC and HPLC have been mounted to track fraction efficiency.

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