Rheology Solutions has signed a license agreement with CSIRO to develop and manufacture a novel process control instrument known as the On-Line Rheometer (OLR).
Pat Griffin, Managing Director of Rheology Solutions announced that after a long period of discussion and negotiation, agreement with CSIRO had been reached for taking on the license for the OLR.
CSIRO initially released an Expression of Interest (EOI) in early 2007 to seven international companies that were known to have expertise in the appropriate markets and Rheology Solutions was chosen as the partner.
The OLR will be developed by Rheology Solutions. A manufacturing facility will be established in Bacchus Marsh employing 20 highly skilled technical and engineering staff adding to the region’s skill base. This is a significant development for the region with the establishment of a purpose built manufacturing facility.
Dennis Silvers of CSIRO stated that “The initiative brought to the table a viable offer that otherwise would not have occurred, which will result in about $2 million in royalties and a small manufacturing and distribution facility to be built in Bacchus Marsh, a town west of Melbourne, that will employ between 15 and 20 people and bring in more than $16 million to the local community”.
“The Moorabool Shire Council and the Victorian State Government have given much support to the project in terms of assisting to finalise the agreement with CSIRO”, said Pat Griffin.
“We will be seeking on-going financial assistance from the Local and Federal Government as we progress the development of the instrument. This project will inject significant revenues into the region and will also increase employment.”
What is the On-Line Rheometer?
Developed by CSIRO Industrial Physics, this novel instrument delivers fast, accurate results with a single measurement over a range of frequencies. The OLR reduces wastage, saving time and money with potential environmental benefits. Its simple design and stainless steel construction makes it easy to use and clean.
To date, when more detailed knowledge of the viscoelastic properties of the fluid is required test volumes must be removed from the process stream and measured using an off-line laboratory rheometer. This is a time consuming procedure that may require the process line to be shut down until the results are available to confirm, or otherwise, the quality of the product.
Alternatively, the process flow may continue with the potential loss of product. In some cases, the volume of lost product could be large and this could be particularly problematic when processing high value materials (such as pharmaceuticals), products that cannot be reprocessed or products that incur a disposal cost (such as, an environmental levy).
Thus a genuine process control rheometer which can be operated in an in-line or on-line configuration and measure the viscoelastic properties of a process fluid in real time, which has the potential to improve product quality and reduce processing costs.
The CSIRO designed On-Line Rheometer (OLR) is such an instrument and uses a patented multi-frequency squeezing flow technique that allows the viscoelastic flow properties of a material to be measured in a very short time.
The measured rheological parameters can be used as process controls in a feedback system to control the process, and hence the quality, of the final product.