Two glass columns with a diameter of 50mm each are available for conventional and reactive distillation. A packed column with up to 7 m structured packing (reactive Katapak-S or non-reactive BX by Sulzer) and a column with up to 40 bubble cap trays can be used for experiments in the pilot plant. Both columns are insulated with an evacuated glass jacket. Special evaporators with very small liquid hold-up are used for continuous operation to achieve stationarity in a comparably short time. Evaporators with higher hold-up are available for batch or semi-batch operation.
In the tray column, the temperature can be measured and liquid samples can be taken on every tenth tray. In the packed column, temperature and liquid composition are measured on every meter of the packing. The columns can be used up to 240 °C for non-reactive measurements, while reactive measurements with ion-exchange resins as a catalyst are possible up to 110 °C because of the decomposition of the catalyst. More thermally stable resins are currently undergoing test experiments.