Catalyst Handling. How is the loading process?

May 2023

Catalyst handling is the removal of old product to introduce new catalysts into a reactor or processing unit, an oil refinery or a chemical plant.

This process involves several stages, which will vary according to the type of reactor and the nature of the catalyst.

A brief summary of catalyst management would be as follows:

Unloading of the old catalyst:

First of all, after a technical study of the nature of each job, we must remove the old catalyst.
There are various methodologies and different technical equipment is required to carry out the unloading.


Catalyst sieving is the process where we select and classify catalyst particles according to their size or particle size. We carry out this process in order to obtain a uniform and efficient particle size for subsequent operation.

Product loading:

Charging is the process of introducing the catalyst into the equipment. Different aspects must be considered, such as the method of loading and the accommodation and distribution of the catalyst within the equipment.

Catalyst Handling Loading Methods

At Lagupres, we carry out the loading process using Big-Bags or Drums, depending on the preferences of our clients or the situation of the equipment to be loaded and its location in the plant.

Catalyst loading process with DRUMS

The main benefit of the drums is that they are reusable, so once emptied they can be returned to the supplier. This considerably reduces waste generation at the plant.

The drum loading mechanism consists of filling the hopper and, once it is loaded, raising it to the mouth of the equipment and proceeding to load the catalyst.

Catalyst handling with big-bags:

Big bags are large and flexible bags made of strong materials used to transport bulk material (in this case catalyst).

Big-bags are easier to handle due to their “flexibility” and are more adaptable in case of limited manoeuvring space.

On the other hand, are often discarded once they have been used, so we generate waste and need to dispose of them properly.

In terms of the manoeuvre, the process consists of placing the hopper in the mouth of the reactor, and then raising the big bags without the need to move the hopper at each manoeuvre.

At Lagupres, we also have the capacity to load 2 Big Bags for each uphill manoeuvre.

Techniques for catalyst handling after the loading manoeuvre

Once the loading medium has been decided, the technique to be used must be chosen.

Here we can differentiate between dense loading and sock loading.

Sock Loading

The catalyst is loaded by gravity using a hose that allows slow and controlled displacement of the product through the hose. Breakage of the catalyst is prevented by the type of material of this hose and also by ensuring that the free fall from the hose to the bed is less than 1m.

Dense loading

The catalyst is loaded into the reactor in the form of a dense layer, poured directly into the reactor using Calydense technology, which distributes it evenly into a compact layer.

Remember that Lagupres has the scope to offer Catalyst Handling services all over the world.
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