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Title:
FERMENTATION TANK AND METHOD FOR INSTALLATION OF A STIRRER OF THAT TANK
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/111390
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Installation method for installing a stirrer (10) of a fermentation tank (20), the method comprising the steps of: - providing a fermentation tank (20) having a side wall (201) with a wall opening (202); - providing the stirrer (10), having a shaft intended (10) to be installed inside the wall opening (202) or at the wall opening (202); - providing a first support element (30); - providing a second support element (40); - associating the first support element (30) with the side wall (201) of the tank (20) at or in the proximity of the wall opening (202); - associating with each other at least one portion of the second support element (40) and the shaft (101) of the stirrer (10); - joining together the first support element (30) and the second support element (40).

Inventors:
PADOAN NICOLA (IT)
MAZZERO MATTEO PAOLO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2020/061504
Publication Date:
June 10, 2021
Filing Date:
December 04, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
IES BIOGAS S R L (IT)
International Classes:
A01C3/02; B01F7/00; B01F15/00; C12M1/06
Foreign References:
TWI583443B2017-05-21
EP0652802A11995-05-17
DE20121357U12002-08-08
DE102012213990A12014-02-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MANFRIN, Marta et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Installation method for installing a stirrer (10) of a fermentation tank (20), the method comprising the steps of: - providing a fermentation tank (20) having a side wall (201) with a wall opening

(202);

- providing the stirrer (10), having a shaft (101) intended to be installed inside the wall opening (202) or at the wall opening (202);

- providing a first support element (30); - providing a second support element (40);

- associating the first support element (30) with the side wall (201) of the tank (20) at or in the proximity of the wall opening (202);

- associating with each other at least one portion of the second support element (40) and the shaft (101) of the stirrer (10); joining together the first support element (30) and the second support element

(40).

2. Installation method according to claim 1, wherein said shaft (101) extends along a main extension direction (z) and wherein said first support element (30) extends mainly in a first direction (x) and in a second direction (y) which are perpendicular to said main extension direction of the shaft (z), and wherein said second support element (40) extends mainly at least in a first direction (x) and in a second direction (y) which are perpendicular to said main extension direction (z) of the shaft; the method comprising the steps of:

- adjusting, in said first direction (x) and/or in said second direction (y), the position of the at least one portion of the second support element (40) with respect to the remaining portion of the second support element (40) and/or adjusting, in said first direction (x) and/or in said second direction (y), the position of the second support element (40) with respect to said first support element (30).

3. Installation method according to claim 2, the method comprising the steps of: calculating the coordinates in said first direction (x) and in said second direction (y) of the central point (C) of said wall opening (202);

- measuring the position of the shaft (101) in said first direction (x) and in said second direction (y);

- calculating the difference in position in said first direction (x) and in said second direction (y) of shaft (101) with respect to said central point (C) of said wall opening (202).

4. Installation method according to claim 2 or 3, wherein said at least one portion of the second support element (40) comprises a coupling element (42) designed to be coupled with said shaft (101); and wherein the adjustment in the first direction (x) is performed by displacing in the first direction (x) said coupling element (42) along a remaining portion of said second support element (40); and/or wherein the adjustment in the second direction (y) is performed by providing at least one spacer element (43) and inserting said at least one spacer element (43) between said coupling element (42) and a remaining portion of said second support element (40).

5. Installation method according to any one of the preceding claims 2 to 4, the method comprising the steps of:

- measuring the position of the shaft (101) along the main extension direction (z) of the shaft;

- adjusting the position of the shaft (101) along said main extension direction (z) of the shaft.

6. Installation method according to any one of the preceding claims, the method comprising the step of:

- stably fixing said at least one portion of the second support element (40) with respect to the first support element (30).

7. Fermentation tank (20), comprising a stirrer (10) provided with a shaft (101), and a side wall (201) provided with a wall opening (202), the fermentation tank (20) also comprising:

- a first support element (3), associated with the side wall (201) in the proximity of or at said wall opening (202);

- a second support element (40) having at least one portion coupled with the shaft (101);

- wherein the second support element is joined together with said first support element (30); wherein said shaft (101) extends mainly along a main extension direction (z) and is arranged so as to pass inside and through said wall opening (202).

8. Fermentation tank (20) according to claim 7, wherein said second support element (40) is a part structurally independent of the first support element (30) and is configured for a form-fit or for being arranged to mate with the first support element (30).

9. Fermentation tank (20) according to claim 7 or 8, wherein said at least one portion of the second support element (40) is coupled with an end region (101b) of said shaft (101).

10. Fermentation tank (20) according to one of claims 7 to 9, wherein said first support element (30) and said second support element (40) extend mainly in a first direction (x) and in a second direction (y) which are perpendicular to the main extension direction (z) of the shaft; and wherein said second support element (40), or said at least one portion of the second support element (40), is movable with respect to the first support element (30) in said first direction (x) and/or in said second direction (y).

11. Fermentation tank (20) according to claim 10, wherein said at least one portion of the second support element (40) comprises a coupling element (42) designed to receive said shaft (101) and wherein said remaining portion of the second support element (40) comprises a horizontal crosspiece (41b) which extends mainly along said first direction (x) and wherein said second coupling element (42) is associated movably with said horizontal crosspiece (41b). 12. Fermentation tank (20) according to claim 11, wherein the second support element (40) comprises one or more spacer elements (43) and wherein said coupling element (42) can be associated with the horizontal crosspiece (41b) by means of one or more spacer elements (43).

13. Fermentation tank (20) according to claim 11 or 12, wherein said coupling element (42) is displaceable along said first direction (x) with respect to said horizontal crosspiece (41b).

Description:
FERMENTATION TANK AND METHOD FOR INSTALLATION OF A STIRRER OF THAT TANK

DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates in general to a method for installation of a stirrer in a fermentation tank and a fermentation tank provided with a stirrer. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a method for installation of a stirrer in an opening formed in a wall of a fermentation tank and a fermentation tank provided with a wall having an opening inside which a stirrer is inserted so as to pass through it. Conventionally, the known fermentation systems comprise a fermentation tank or fermenter. The fermentation tanks are containers which hold fluids or tanks which define a space inside which organic material resulting from zoological waste such as animal excrement and/or agricultural production waste is collected and processed and various natural substances conveyed. The space inside the fermentation tank is kept at a controlled temperature without oxygen so that bacteria may decompose said organic material producing biogas which will be subsequently collected.

Some fermentation tanks have mainly a circular cross-section and comprise at least one stirrer for mixing up the organic material contained inside it.

One type of stirrer consists of so-called slow stirrers. Conventionally, for each fermentation tank a plurality of slow stirrers is provided inside the internal space; preferably, three slow stirrers arranged staggered relative to each other at an angle of about 120° are provided. Generally, the slow stirrers comprise a rotation shaft and a plurality of vanes. The vanes are associated with said rotation shaft and extend radially with respect thereto. The plurality of vanes allows the stirring action and mixing of the organic material to be intensified. Said rotation shaft is arranged transversely inside the fermentation tank, namely is installed so as to cross transversely, at least partially, the internal space of the said fermentation tank. The rotation shaft is made to rotate, partly or completely, about its main axis so as to stir or mix the biomass contained inside the fermentation tank. An end region of the rotation shaft of this type of stirrer is associated with a support arranged preferably in the centre of the fermentation tank. The other end region of the rotation shaft is inserted so as to pass through a wall opening, namely a through-opening formed in a side wall or perimetral wall of the fermentation tank. Moreover, said other end region is associated with the side wall or perimetral wall of the fermentation tank in the proximity of or at the side opening. Generally, in the region of the wall opening, between the shaft and the side wall of the fermentation tank, there is a sealing device which is designed to prevent any leakage of organic material through the said wall opening. The sealing device comprises a frame or one or more membranes which are secured to the side wall, at the wall opening, by means of said frame. The at least one membrane has a seat designed to receive inside it the rotation shaft. When installed on-site, therefore, the rotation shaft is inserted inside said seat so that the empty space between the rotation shaft and the side wall at the wall opening is occupied by one or more membranes of the sealing device. Namely, the one or more membranes of the sealing device surround the rotation shaft in the region of the wall opening. Expressed differently, the one or more membranes of the sealing device occupy the region of the wall opening between the rotation shaft and said side wall. Said seat is situated centrally with respect to the wall opening

The operations of installation or assembly of the rotation shaft of a slow stirrer involve one end of the rotation shaft being associated with the wall of the fermentation tank. In the context of the prior art, for this purpose, after installing the sealing device or at least the frame thereof in the proximity of or at the opening, a first support element designed to support the rotation shaft is fixed thereto. This first support element is provided and fixed, during installation on-site, to the tank.

Then the rotation shaft is lifted by means of lifting means such as a crane or mobile lifting jacks and, keeping it suitably suspended, is inserted and centred inside the sealing device in the wall opening. Expressed differently, while it is kept suspended, it is attempted to position the rotation shaft in a position corresponding to the central point of the wall opening, and therefore of the sealing device.

Keeping the rotation shaft suspended and as far as possible stationary in the centre of the sealing device, a second support element associated with said rotation shaft is constructed. Said second support element is designed to be joined together with said first support element. Then, the second support element is joined to the first support element by performing manually the welds so as to provide a permanent connection between the aforementioned first and second support elements. Only once the welds have solidified is it then possible to remove the rotation shaft from the crane or the lifting jacks so as to allow it to rest on said first and second support elements.

This known installation method has numerous drawbacks. Firstly, the formation of welds during installation on-site is somewhat difficult and requires a lot of time. Manually performed welds are, moreover, often imprecise. In addition, since the different support elements are welded together, any subsequent operations for maintenance of the same elements are not easily performed. Furthermore, during most of the installation procedure, the rotation shaft must be kept suspended, with the consequent risks associated with the safety and difficulty of keeping the shaft in a stable position centred with respect to the opening and the sealing device. During installation of the rotation shaft with respect to the opening provided with sealing device the shaft must be inserted with precision. In particular, it is of fundamental important that the rotation shaft should be positioned centred, i.e. concentrically, with respect to the opening, and therefore the sealing device, so that, when installed on-site, it exerts as little stress as possible on the sealing device, in particular on the one or more membranes of this device.

The present disclosure proposes to provide a method for installing a stirrer and a fermentation tank which are able to overcome the drawbacks mentioned above with reference to the prior art and/or achieve further advantages.

This is achieved by means of a method and a fermentation tank as defined in the respective independent claims. Secondary characteristics and particular embodiments forming the subject of the present disclosure are defined in the corresponding dependent claims.

According to the present disclosure, the installation method for installing a stirrer of a fermentation tank comprises the steps of:

- providing a fermentation tank having a side wall with a wall opening;

- providing the stirrer, having a shaft intended to be installed inside the wall opening or at the wall opening;

- providing a first support element;

- providing a second support element;

- associating the first support element with the side wall of the tank at or in the proximity of the wall opening;

- associating with each other at least one portion of the second support element and the shaft of the stirrer;

- joining together the first support element and the second support element. Advantageously, therefore, the method in question involves providing a first support element and a second support element which are pre-assembled, i.e. without the need to form these elements from the start. As a result, it is possible to limit overall the installation time and in particular the time interval during which the shaft must be kept suspended. In fact, as soon as the second support element is joined together with the first support element, the shaft may be allowed to rest thereon. The weight of the shaft is transmitted onto the second support element and, via the latter, onto the first support element.

According to a preferred aspect of the installation method according to the present disclosure, said shaft extends along a main extension direction z, said first support element extends mainly in a first direction x and in a second direction y which are perpendicular to said main extension direction z of the shaft, said second support element extends mainly at least in a first direction x and in a second direction y which are perpendicular to said main extension direction z of the shaft. In addition, according to this preferred aspect, the method comprises the step of adjusting, in said first direction x and/or in said second direction y, the position of the at least one portion of the second support element with respect to the remaining portion of the second support element and/or adjusting, in said first direction x and/or in said second direction y, the position of the second support element with respect to said first support element. In other words, the position of the second support element or the position of the at least one portion of the second support element coupled with the shaft may be varied perpendicularly with respect to the axis of the shaft. Since the shaft is coupled with the second support element or a portion thereof, it follows that the position of the shaft may be adjusted or modified in said first or second direction. Therefore, the position of the shaft may be advantageously varied so as to correspond to the central point of the wall opening and/or of the seat of the sealing device.

According to a further preferred aspect of the installation method according to the present disclosure, the method comprises the steps of calculating the coordinates in said first direction x and in said second direction y of the central point of said wall opening, measuring the position of the shaft in said first direction x and in said second direction y and calculating the difference in position in said first direction x and in said second direction y of the shaft with respect to said central point C of said wall opening. As a result, adjustment of the position of the shaft may be performed in more precise manner.

According to another preferred aspect, said at least one portion of the second support element comprises a coupling element designed to be coupled with said shaft and the adjustment in the first direction is performed by displacing in the first direction said coupling element along a remaining portion of said second support element; and/or adjustment in the second direction is performed by providing at least one spacer element and inserting said at least one spacer element between said coupling element and a remaining portion of said second support element. According to another preferred aspect, the installation method comprises the steps of measuring the position of the shaft 101 along the main extension direction z of the shaft and adjusting the position of the shaft 101 along said main extension direction z of the shaft. Namely it is possible to vary the depth of insertion of the shaft inside the space inside the fermentation tank.

Finally, preferably the installation method further involves stably fixing said at least one portion of the second support element with respect to the first support element. In this way it is possible to fix stably also the position of the shaft with respect to said first support element and therefore said wall opening.

The present disclosure also concerns a fermentation tank, comprising a side wall provided with a wall opening and a stirrer provided with a shaft which extends mainly along a main extension direction z and is arranged so as to pass though said wall opening. The fermentation tank also includes: - a first support element, associated with the side wall in the proximity of or at said wall opening;

- a second support element, joined together with said first support element and having at least one portion coupled with the shaft.

In particular, according to a preferred aspect, the second support element is a part which is structurally independent of the first support element. In other words, the second support element and the first support element are not formed as one piece or integrally. Furthermore, according to this aspect, the second element is configured for a form-fit or for being arranged to mate with the first support element. In other words, the second element is configured so as to engage or form a joint, of the mechanical type, with the first support element. The second element and the first element therefore have a geometry such that they may be joined together or mated or engaged with each other.

According to a preferred aspect, said at least one portion of the second support element is coupled with an end region of said shaft. According to a further preferred aspect, said first support element and said second support element extend mainly in a first direction x and in a second direction y perpendicular to the main extension direction z of the shaft. Moreover, said second support element, or said at least one portion of the second support element, is movable with respect to the first support element in said first direction x and/or in said second direction y. Therefore, the second support element or at least said portion of the support element may be displaced so as to cause said shaft to reach a given position, preferably a central position with respect to the wall opening. According to a further preferred aspect, said at least one portion of the second support element comprises a coupling element designed to receive said shaft and wherein said remaining portion of the second support element comprises a horizontal crosspiece which extends mainly along said first direction. According to this said preferred aspect, moreover, the coupling element is associated movably with said horizontal crosspiece. The coupling element may therefore be displaced with respect to said horizontal crosspiece in the first direction x and/or in the second direction y.

According to a particular preferred aspect, the coupling element is displaceable along said first direction with respect to said horizontal crosspiece.

Finally, according to another preferred aspect, the second support element comprises one or more spacer elements and the coupling element can be associated with the horizontal crosspiece by means of one or more spacer elements.

Further advantages, characteristic features and modes of use forming the subject of the present disclosure will become clear from the following detailed description of embodiments thereof, provided by way of a non-limiting example.

It is evident, however, that each embodiment forming the subject of the present disclosure may have one or more of the advantages listed above; in any case it is not required that each embodiment should have simultaneously all the advantages listed.

Reference will now be made to the figures in the attached drawings in which:

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a tank according to the present disclosure;

Figure 2 shows a detail of a fermentation tank according to Figure 1 comprising a frame for the sealing device according to an aspect of the present disclosure; Figure 3 shows a detail of a fermentation tank according to Figure 1 comprising a frame for the sealing device and a first support element according to an aspect of the present disclosure;

Figure 4 shows, on the fermentation tank according to Figure 1, a view of a step performed according to an aspect of the present disclosure;

Figure 5 shows, on the fermentation tank according to Figure 1, a view of an assembly step performed according to an aspect of the present disclosure; Figure 6 shows, on the fermentation tank according to Figure 1, a view of an assembly step according to an aspect of the present disclosure;

Figure 7 shows a view, on a larger scale, of a detail VI of Figure 5 relating to a coupling element according to the present disclosure;

Figure 8 shows a partially cross-sectioned view of the detail of Figure 7.

With reference to the attached figures, an embodiment of a fermentation tank is denoted overall by the reference number 20.

The fermentation tank 20 comprises at least one side wall 201, or perimetral wall, and a bottom wall 203 which are integral with each other and designed to define, together, the internal space of the said tank. In other words, the bottom wall 203 together with the at least one side wall 201 surround the internal space or area of the fermentation tank 20. The side wall 201 extends mainly along a first direction x and a second direction y which are perpendicular to each other. Alternatively, the side wall 21 forms a tubular jacket, the radius of curvature and height of which are defined respectively along a first direction x and a second direction y.

The side wall 201 is provided with a wall opening 202, namely with a through-hole passing between the inner surface of the side wall 201 emerging inside said internal space and an opposite outer surface of the side wall 201. Inside the wall opening 202 it is possible to define or calculate a central point, centroid or centre of gravity

C.

The fermentation tank also includes a stirrer 10 provided with a shaft 101 and a plurality of vanes which extend radially with respect to said shaft 101. Said shaft 101 extends mainly along a main extension direction x and therefore the vanes are arranged radially along this same direction z. When installed on-site, the shaft 101 is arranged so as to pass inside, i.e. through, the opening 202 in the side wall 201. The shaft 101 is therefore mounted so as to cross, at least partially, the internal space of the fermentation tank 10. More specifically, when installed on-site, preferably the shaft 101 is arranged transversely inside said internal space: an end region 101a, or first end region, of the shaft 101 is associated with a support positioned in the centre of the fermentation tank 10, while the other end region 101b, or second end region, of the shaft 101 is inserted so as to pass through said wall opening 202. Preferably, the shaft 101 is inserted inside said wall opening 202 so as to be centred at the central point C. Said wall opening 202 is preferably occupied, at least partly, by a known sealing device, comprising a frame designed to be stably fixed to said side wall 201 at the wall opening 202 and one or more membranes designed to occupy, partly, the space inside said wall opening between frame and shaft 101. Namely, the sealing device comprises one or more membranes which are secured to the side wall 201 , at the wall opening, by means of a suitable frame. Moreover, the at least one membrane has a seat designed to receive inside it the shaft 101. When installed on-site, therefore, the shaft 101 is inserted inside said seat so that the empty space between the rotation shaft and the side wall, or the frame of the sealing device, at the wall opening is occupied by one or more membranes of the sealing device. In particular, said seat is situated preferably centrally with respect to the wall opening. In other words, the centre of the seat corresponds to the central point C of the wall opening 202. The fermentation tank 20 further comprises a plurality of support elements designed to support and associate the shaft 101 with the side wall 201 at or in the vicinity of said wall opening 202. Preferably, the plurality of support elements is positioned on the outer surface of the side wall 21, namely outside of the internal space of the fermentation tank 20. Said plurality of support elements is configured to support the shaft 101 and allow the rotation of the latter with respect to its main extension direction z.

Said plurality of support elements, in turn, includes a first support element 30, associated with the side wall 21 in the proximity of or at said wall opening 202 and a second support element 40, associated with said first support element 30.

Preferably, the second support element 40 is a part which is structurally independent of the first support element 30. The first support element 30 and the second support element 40 are configured to as to be joined together mechanically. Namely, the second support element 40 is associated with the first support element mechanically, i.e. without using welds.

In particular, the second support element 40 is configured to be joined together with the first support element 30, preferably by means of a bolted connection.

The first support element 30 therefore acts as connection or interconnection between the side wall 21 of the fermentation tank 20 and the second support element 40. In other words, the first support element 30 is arranged between the side wall 21 of the fermentation tank 20 and the second support element 40. The first support element 30 is therefore configured to allow fixing of the second support element 40 to the side wall 201 of the tank. The shaft 101 is associated with at least one portion of said second support element 40. In particular, the shaft 101 is associated with said second support element 40 so as to be able to rotate about its main extension direction z, namely about its axis. The second support element 40 transfers the weight of the shaft 101, coupled with it, to the first support element 30. In other words, the shaft 101 by means of the second support element 40 is coupled with the first support element 30 and consequently, by means of the latter, is indirectly coupled with the side wall 201.

According to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the second end region 101b of the shaft 101 is associated with the side wall 210 of the fermentation tank, in the proximity of or at the wall opening 202, by means of said support elements. In particular, said at least one portion of the second support element 40 is coupled with the second end region 101a of said shaft 101.

Preferably, moreover, the stirrer 10 also comprises a gearmotor unit 111 designed to cause rotation of the shaft 101 about is main extension region z. Even more preferably, the gearmotor unit 111 of the stirrer 10 is associated with the second end region 101b of the shaft 101 and the second support element 40.

According to a further preferred aspect of the present disclosure, both the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 extend mainly along a first direction x and a second direction y perpendicular to the main extension direction z of the shaft. In other words, both the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 extend mainly in the directions of the side wall 201 of the fermentation tank 20.

Preferably, both the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 each consist of a frame comprising two pairs of parallel and opposite sides. Even more preferably, the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 each comprise a quadrilateral formed by a first pair of vertical crosspieces, bars or rods and by a second pair of horizontal crosspieces, bars or rods. The ends of the horizontal crosspieces of the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 are joined to the ends of the vertical crosspieces of the first support element 30 and the second support element 40, respectively, so as to form a right- angle between them. Namely, the horizontal crosspieces 31b, 41b and the vertical crosspieces 31a, 41a of the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 are respectively perpendicular to each other. In particular, the first support element 30 includes a pair of vertical crosspieces 31a which extend mainly in the direction y and a pair of horizontal crosspieces 31b which extend mainly in the direction x. In addition, the first support element 30 comprises a third horizontal crosspiece 31b; the ends of said third horizontal crosspiece 31 are joined to an intermediate portion or region of each of the vertical crosspieces 31a. Similarly, the second support element 40 each comprises a quadrilateral formed by a first pair of vertical crosspieces, bars or rods and by a second pair of horizontal crosspieces, bars or rods. The second support element 40 includes, namely, a pair of vertical crosspieces 41a which extend mainly in the direction y and a pair of horizonal crosspieces 41b which extend mainly in the direction x. The horizontal and vertical crosspieces 31a, 31b, 41a, 41b of the first support element 30 and the second support element 40 are, for example, metal sections. According to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the second support element 40 is joined to the first support element 30 so that the horizontal crosspieces 41b of the second support element 40. In addition, according to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the first support element 30 is stably joined to the side wall 201, while the second support element 40, or at least said portion of the support element 40 coupled with the shaft 101, is associated with the first support element 30 movably with respect to a direction perpendicular to the extension direction z of the shaft 101. Namely, said first support element 30 is fixed or secured to the side wall 201 of the tank 20 and the second support element 40, or at least the portion thereof associated with the shaft 101 , is joined to the first support element 30 movably with respect to the latter in the first direction x and/or second direction y. Therefore, the entire second support element 40 may be displaced with respect to said first support element 30; or, alternatively, only said portion of the second support element 40 may move with respect to the first support element 30, while the remaining portion of the second support element remains stably associated with said first support element 30. Since the shaft 101 is associated with the at least one portion of the second support element 40, it moves integrally with said portion of the second support element 40. Namely, the shaft 101 moves with respect to the first support element 30 together with the second support element 40 or the portion of the second support element 40 with which it is coupled. As a result, the position of the shaft 101 with respect to the first support element 30 may be varied by displacing the second support element 40, or at least said portion of the second support element 40, with respect to the first support element 30 along said two directions. Since the first support element 30 is fixed to the side wall 21 of the fermentation tank 20, the position of the shaft 101 may be varied with respect to the said wall 21 , or the wall opening 202.

According to another preferred aspect of the present disclosure, it is possible to fix stably or fasten or lock the second support element 40 to the first support element 30; or it is possible to fix stably, fasten or lock with respect to the first support element 30 at least said portion of the second support element 40 associated with the shaft 101. Alternatively, the portion of the second support element 40 coupled with the shaft 101 may be fastened to the remainder of the second support element 40 and the latter fastened to the first support element 30. Therefore, the shaft 101 may be kept in a given position with respect to the wall opening 202 and/or the sealing device. According to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the at least one portion of the second support element 40 associated with the shaft 101 comprises, in turn, a coupling element 42 designed to receive said shaft 101. The coupling element 42 connects the shaft 101 to the second support element 40. The coupling element 42 is configured to be engaged at least partly by said shaft 101. In particular, said coupling element 42 defines a seat designed to receive inside it, at least partially, the second end region of the shaft 101b. The coupling element 42 moreover allows the shaft 101 to perform a rotary movement about its main extension direction z. Preferably the seat of the coupling element 42 comprises a bearing, such as a bush or bushing, for reducing the friction with the shaft 101 during rotation thereof. According to a further preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the shaft is associated with the coupling element 42 so as to be able to be displaced with respect to the latter along its main extension direction z. As a result, the shaft 101 may be inserted to a greater or lesser depth inside the internal space of the fermentation tank 20. Preferably, the coupling element 42 comprises in turn an adjusting element or operating element configured to adjust the position of the shaft 101 in the main extension direction z of the latter. The adjusting element or operating element therefore allows the depth of insertion of the shaft 101 inside the wall opening 202 to be varied or controlled. In particular, said adjusting element may comprise a ring nut.

Moreover, according to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the position of the coupling element 42 is variable or adjustable with respect to the side wall 201 of the fermentation tank 20. In particular, the coupling element 42 is associated movably with a horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40. Therefore, the position of the coupling element 42 with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b may be modified. As a result, since the shaft 101 is associated with the coupling element 42, the position of the shaft 101 and the coupling element 42 may be varied together. The coupling element 42 is preferably displaceable in a guided manner with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40.

According to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the coupling element 42 is movable with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40 so as to be able to be displaced with respect thereto in the direction y. In other words, the coupling element 42 may be displaced with respect to the horizontal crosspiece 41b heightwise; therefore, the coupling element 42 may be raised or lowered with respect to the horizontal crosspiece 41b. Preferably, the second support element 40 comprises one or more spacer elements 43 designed to be associated with the horizontal crosspiece 41b and the coupling element 42 so as to be inserted or arranged between said horizontal crosspiece and said coupling element 42. The spacer element(s) 43 therefore act as shims for adjusting the distance between the coupling element 42 and said horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40. For example, it is possible to stack on top of each other several spacer elements 43 so as to increase the distance between the coupling element 42 and the horizontal crosspiece with which the latter is associated. Preferably, a spacer element 43 is a substantially plate-shaped element or an insert or a flat piece.

Preferably, the coupling element 42 is movable with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b so as to be able to move along it in the direction x. In other words, the coupling element 42 is designed to move along x with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40. The coupling element 42 may be in slidable contact with the horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40; or the coupling element may be moved together with one or more spacer elements 43 with respect to said horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40.

Finally, according to a further preferred aspect of the present disclosure, said coupling element 42 is configured to be fastened to the first support element 30 and/or to the second support element 40, so as to keep the shaft 101 in a stable position with respect to the wall 21 and the wall opening 202 of the fermentation tank 20. For example, the coupling element 42 and/or the one or more spacer elements 43 and the horizontal crosspiece 41b of the second support element 40 may be provided with a plurality of eyelets or through-holes 44. The coupling element 42, together, where appropriate, with the one or more spacer elements 43, is positioned so that its eyelets and the eyelets on the horizontal crosspiece 41b are superimposed on each other to form a single seat inside which a screw or other insert may be inserted.

The present disclosure also relates to an installation method for installing a stirrer 10 of a fermentation tank 20.

In the description of this method, the elements of the fermentation tank involved in the method and having the same function and the same structure as the elements described above retain the same reference number and are not described again in detail.

The method comprises the steps of providing a fermentation tank 20 having a side wall 201 with a wall opening 202 and providing the stirrer 10 having a shaft 101 intended to be installed inside the wall opening 202 or at the wall opening 202. In other words, the shaft 101 is configured to be installed inside the wall opening 202 or at the wall opening 202. Preferably, the shaft 101 extends mainly along a main extension direction z.

In addition, in accordance with the method according to the present disclosure, a first support element 30 is provided and the first support element 30 is associated with the side wall 201 of the tank 20 at or in the proximity of the wall opening 202. Preferably, the first support element 30 is stably joined to the side wall 201. In addition, there are the steps of providing a second support element, associating with each other at least one portion of the second support element 40 and the shaft 101 of the stirrer 10, and joining together the first support element 30 and the second support element 40. Preferably, said at least one portion of the second support element 40 comprises a coupling element 42 designed to be coupled with said shaft 101.

As mentioned, preferably both the first support element 30 and said second support element 40 extend mainly in a first direction x and in a second direction y perpendicular to the main extension direction of the shaft. According to a preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the method also comprises the step of adjusting, in said first direction x and/or in said second direction y, the position of the at least one portion of the second support element 40 with respect to the remaining portion of the second support element 40 and/or adjusting, in said first direction x and/or in said second direction y, the position of the second support element 40 with respect to said first support element 30. In other words, according to this preferred aspect of the method, the second support element 40, or at least the portion of the support element 40 coupled with the shaft 101, may be moved or displaced with respect to the first support element 30 along a direction perpendicular to the extension direction z of the shaft 101. Expressed yet differently again, the position of the entire second support element 40 may be varied with respect to said first support element 30; or, alternatively, only said portion of the second support element 40 may be modified with respect to the first support element 30, while keeping unvaried, the remaining portion of the second support element stably associated with said first support element 30. Since the shaft 101 is coupled with the at least one portion of the second support element 40, it is moved together or integrally with said portion of the second support element 40. As a result, the position of the shaft 101 with respect to the first support element 30 may be controlled by displacing the second support element 40, or at least said portion of the second support element 40, with respect to the first support element 30 along the first direction x and/or the second direction y. Since the first support element 30 is fixed to the side wall 21 of the fermentation tank 20, the position of the shaft 101 may be varied or controlled or adjusted with respect to the said wall 21 or the wall opening 202.

According to a further preferred aspect of the present disclosure, the method comprises in addition the steps of calculating the coordinates in said first direction x and in said second direction y of the central point C of said wall opening 202. Preferably, the method in question involves also installing a sealing device inside or at said wall opening 202. The step of assembling the sealing device may be performed in two steps: firstly the frame of the sealing device is assembled and then at least one membrane provided with a seat inside which the shaft 101 can be housed or arranged is joined together with said frame. The frame of the sealing device and the at least one membrane are located so that the seat for housing the shaft of the membrane(s) is located in the centre of the opening 202. Namely, according to a preferred aspect of the present method, the membrane(s) of the sealing device is/are positioned so that the respective seat is central with respect to the wall opening 202.

According to a preferred aspect of the method according to the present disclosure the following steps are also provided: measuring the position of the shaft 101 in said first direction x and in said second direction y and calculating the difference in position, in said first direction x and said second direction y, of the shaft 1010 with respect to said central point C of the wall opening 202. In other words, the method preferably involves detecting the arrangement of the shaft 101 with respect to a predetermined spatial reference point, namely the central point C of the wall opening. In this way it is possible to determine whether there is divergence in the position of the shaft with respect to its ideal position, namely the position coinciding with the central point. In other words, the method involves establishing whether the spatial arrangement of the shaft along said first direction x and/or said second direction y differs from a predetermined or ideal arrangement. Said steps of measuring the position of the shaft 101 and detecting the difference in position between the latter and the central point C of the wall opening 202 may be performed before moving the second support element 40 or said at least one portion of the support element 40 coupled with the shaft 201, in order to determine more fully the degree of displacement which must be applied to the second support element 40 or to said at least one portion of the support element 40 in order to minimize the displacement with respect to the central point of the opening C. Alternatively, or in addition, said two steps may be performed after adjusting the position of the shaft 101 with respect to the opening 202 so as to check whether the position of the shaft 101 in said first direction x and/or said second direction coincides with the coordinates of the central point C of the opening 202 in the said two directions.

According to a further preferred aspect of the method according to the present disclosure, the adjustment in the first direction x of said at least one portion of the second support element 40 is performed by displacing in said direction the coupling element 42 along a remaining portion of said second support element 40.

According to a further preferred aspect of the method according to the present disclosure, the adjustment in the second direction y is performed by providing at least one spacer element 43 and inserting said at least one spacer element 43 between said coupling element 42 and a remaining portion of said second support element 40. The at least one spacer element 43 allows the distance to be increased along the second direction y between the coupling element 42 and the remaining portion of the support element 40.

In addition, according to another preferred aspect of the method according to the present disclosure, the adjustment of the spatial arrangement of the shaft with respect to the wall opening 202 may also be performed along the extension direction z of the said shaft. Namely, according to a preferred aspect, the method according to the invention involves also measuring the position of the shaft 101 along the main extension direction z of the shaft and adjusting the position of the shaft 101 along said main extension direction z of the shaft. Preferably, therefore, the method also involves adjusting the depth of insertion of said shaft 101 inside the wall opening 202 and inside the internal space of the fermentation tank 20.

Finally, preferably, the method also involves coupling with the shaft 101 a gearmotor unit 111 so as to impart a rotation to said shaft 101 along its main extension direction z; namely so as to cause rotation of said shaft 101 about its axis. The subject-matter of the present disclosure has been described hitherto with reference to preferred embodiments thereof. It is to be understood that other embodiments relating to the same inventive idea may exist, all of these falling within the scope of protection of the claims which are illustrated hereinbelow.