Orion Enigneered Carbons is the only supplier producing Carbon Black in five different production processes. With the Furnace Black-, the Gas Black-, the Lamp Black-, the Thermal Black-, and the Acetylene Black-processes we are able to offer a broader Carbon Black portfolio than any other supplier.
Carbon Black is produced either by a thermal oxidative process or by a thermal decomposition. The former involves the incomplete combustion of the feedstock while the latter splits the feedstock into its two components: carbon and hydrogen. Every Carbon Black production method is based on those two fundamentals.
The hydrocarbon is either liquid or gaseous. The liquid form is from coal/coal tar distillates or crude oil processing and is known generically as Carbon Black Oil (CBO). The Thermal Black Process uses natural gas as hydrocarbon source.
The Furnace Black process is the most common production method of Carbon Black. It uses liquid hydrocarbons as feedstock and natural gas as heat source. The Furnace Black method offers a great flexibility in producing a multitude of Carbon Blacks without the need to change equipment or feedstock. In addition, the Furnace Black process offers the best environmental and work safety benefits as it is fully enclosed, reducing the emission of process gases and dust to a minimum. The final product is sold either in powdered form or further processed to pellets and is used in many manufacturing industries.
At the beginning of the continuous Furnace Black Process, natural gas or fuel oil is burned with the help of pre-heated air to generate heat. A pre-heated liquid feedstock is sprayed into the heat source and cracked to form carbon particles. Afterwards, water is sprayed into the reactor stream to prevent any unwanted secondary reactions.
The gas stream containing Carbon Black passes through a heat exchanger for further cooling while it heats the required pre- heated air for the next combustion process.
A bag filter separates the carbon particles from the gas stream. The collected product is either loosely densified and packed as powdered Carbon Black or transformed into pellets. The gases produced during the reaction are either fed into an afterburning stage to dry the Carbon Black or burned in a boiler to generate steam and/or electricity.
The Furnace Black Process delivers mean primary particles in the range of 10-80 nm
In the wet-pelletizing process, water or water with a binding agent is added to the Carbon Black powder in a wet pellet mixer, followed by rotary dryers, which dry the pellets. This provides resistant against degradation and affords better conveyance and handling properties.
The Gas Black process was developed in the mid-1930s by DEGUSSA A. G.. It is a continuous process using vaporized oils as feedstock. In contrast to the Furnace Black process, the range of particles is quite small and consistent. This consistency is one big advantage of the Gas Black Process as it facilitates the predictability of the product characteristics and avoids complex readjustments of the production equipment. Another unique advantage of the Gas Black Process is the constant supply of oxygen during the production cycle, which imparts very special acidic characteristics, not provided by other Carbon Black processes. The final product is almost exclusively used in coating and printing industries, as the fine particles are of a special interest in these segments.
Coal tar distillate is a very pure form of oil and serves as feedstock in the Gas Black Process. A vaporizer heats the oil and hydrogen rich gas carries the vapors into a tube; fitted with numerous burners. Most of the generated Carbon Black adheres on the water-cooled roller, before it gets scraped onto the conveyer belt.
Any non-adhered particles pass the rollers and enter tubes, which lead to filters. They separate the Carbon Black from the gas stream and the black particles drop on the conveyer belt.
Gas Black produces mean primary particle sizes with a range of 10-30nm.
Lamp Black is the oldest production process for Carbon Black still in use. It operates with very pure Carbon Black oil as feedstock and is a continuous process. A special characteristic of the Lamp Black Process is the difference of the heat within the flame controlled by the supply of air. It generates a broad range of Carbon Black particle sizes during combustion. Lamp Blacks can be used in a wide number of industries and applications.
A large, open cast-iron pan and a fire-proof flue hood are the main components of the Lamp Black process. The former holds the feedstock which gets heated at very high temperature. The latter is lined with refractory bricks, collects the produced Carbon Black and passes it to the next process stage. A small gap between the pan and the hood lets air into the system to feed the flame. A vacuum in the system regulates the air supply and drags the vapors through the hood towards the cooling system.
Radiant heat from the hood makes the feedstock vaporize and combust partially. The majority of the oil gets transformed into Carbon Black. A small portion is completely burned. Then, the black particles pass the hood to the cooling system. Afterwards, the Carbon-Black-gas mix is conveyed to filters, where it gets separated from the gas and is further processed.
Lamp Black delivers primary particle sizes between 60nm and 200 nm.
The Thermal Black manufacturing process is a non-continuous or cyclic process with natural gas as feedstock. Although natural gas is the most common feedstock, other high quality hydrocarbon oils can also serve as feedstock.
A Thermal Black plant delivers maximum efficiency when it operates in a tandem mode: two reactors operating alternately in cycles between 5-8 minutes. One is heated with a natural gas/ oil/air mixture, the other one is fed with pure feedstock which undergoes thermal decomposition. This leads to the production of Carbon Black and hydrogen. The actual Carbon Black formation occurs in the absence of oxygen at decreasing temperatures.
Thermal Blacks have a very high particle size of 300nm to 500nm.
Acetylene Black consists of a very pure carbon resulting from the thermal decomposition of acetylene. This Carbon Black is available as powder and possesses a very high thermal as well as electrical conductivity. Therefore, it is especially used in rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, in the tire industry, as a conductive additive in polyethylene compounds and in the cable manufacturing.
After Treatment describes the “fifth” process in the Orion portfolio. During this process the surface of the black particles can be modified with oxidative agents, until the final products possesses the desired physical characteristics. All Carbon Blacks produced by the four processes, can be additionally treated. Therefore, this technology allows us to tailor the product individually to our customers’ needs.