Research to Business
Offer: 600

A look at the rotary reactor

An automatic, image-based analysing method can recognise deposit build-ups in rotary reactors and ensures optimum processing.

Diagram showing the structure of the analysing system: (infrared) camera, rotating vessel and example of image tracking of a deposit build-up.

Rotary reactors are frequently applied in combustion and mixing processes, such as in waste disposal, cement-making or metal recycling. The reaction material is fed into a vessel and is mixed thoroughly as the vessel slowly rotates. An additional burner in the vessel allows combustion processes to be carried out.

State of the art

The constantly rotating material flow causes deposits to gradually build up on the inner surface of the vessel. To a certain degree, such deposit build-ups are unproblematic. However, if they get too strong, this can have a negative impact on the reactor process, and in extreme cases, the vessel can even be blocked. This is why rotating vessels are cleaned at regular intervals. Conventional methods applied to keep track of deposit build-ups provide only insufficient measurement results or require the reactor to be shut down while checks are carried out.


At the KIT Institute for Applied Computer Science (IAI), scientists have developed an automated system for deposit build-up analysis with which rotary reactors can be monitored while in operation. The system features a camera or, if the processes restrict vision, an infrared camera fixed at the outlet of the rotating vessel that records image sequences of the rotating vessel interior. A specially developed software evaluates local image material such as structure, contrast or brightness development with the aid of an algorithm and identifies potentially critical deposit build-ups. These spots are plotted in the image sequence, so that a circulating motion path is created from which the height and location of the deposit build-ups in the rotary reactor can be derived.


The system can be linked directly to the process control system. This enables automatic process control based on the measurements, e.g. through a rise in temperature or changes in the mixing ratio in the rotary reactor. Thanks to continuous monitoring of deposit build-ups, prophylactic inspections are no longer needed, which saves time and money spent on cleaning the rotating vessels.

Options for companies

KIT is looking for partners for the industrial application and application-optimised further development of the technology.

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Your contact person for this offer

Dr. Rainer K├Ârber
Innovation Manager
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Innovation and Relations Management (IRM)
Phone: +49 721 608-25587
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