A tantalum-lined column designed for a silcone producer by AstroCosmos Metallurgical reduced costs associated with repairs and downtime.

Tantalum's corrosion resistance and durability make it suitable for severe applications.
The ability of tantalum to provide performance in severe applications was demonstrated by a silicone producer's decade-long experience with its tantalum-lined column. The column, fabricated by AstroCosmos Metallurgical, Wooster, OH, recently passed the 10-year mark with a record of no repairs and no lost production time.

More than 10 years ago, a silicone producer was seeking ways to reduce costs associated with regular repairs and recurring downtime it was experiencing with its brick-lined column. The solution was a 73" dia. by 117" long, loose-lined tantalum column. The unit's size presented a challenge, but its design also placed stringent demands. The column employs a design with proprietary convolutions to accommodate possible vacuum conditions. The unit was supplied as a single package, complete with ladders, platforms, skirt and related fixtures.

While its initial investment was significantly higher than other available technologies, the silicone producer went ahead with a proposed solution from AstroCosmos because the life-cycle cost estimated for the tantalum column projected a final best value. The subsequent unbroken performance has made clear that the original cost savings estimates were understated; actual savings exceed expectations.

Reflecting on this experience, Gregory C. Becherer, senior vice president for sales and marketing at AstroCosmos, said, "Tantalum's natural corrosion resistance and durability, combined with special design features, result in high performance products that achieve greater productivity, reliability, longer life and true cost effectiveness. When we demonstrate this to prospective customers, they find going with the technology that is the best in the long run an easy decision."