Project Synopsis

Perform a process overview of a batch metal powder production operation for the purpose of identifying production process improvements. 

Project Summary

BATCH METAL POWDER PRODUCTION OPERATIONS REVIEW AND BYPRODUCT DISPOSAL ALTERNATIVES EVALUATION

The client contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to perform a general overview of a batch metal powder production operation for the purpose of identifying production process improvements.  One major element of this project involved the identification and evaluation of process alternatives for the disposal of a major reaction byproduct, a combination of elemental sodium and elemental potassium (NaK).

Project tasks included the following:

  • Site visits for the purposes of observing existing production and byproduct disposal techniques and for obtaining the process and engineering information required to complete the process improvements / alternatives identification and evaluation tasks
  • Development of potential production process improvements
  • Identification of reaction byproduct disposal alternatives and technical and economic evaluation of the alternatives for the purpose of selecting a preferred disposal option
  • Preparation of a preliminary process design for the selected byproduct disposal alternative
  • Summarizing the project findings in a project report

For one of the metal powder production lines, PROCESS recommended the decoupling of a common vent system for the purpose of preventing air ingress to the reactors, which was causing major quality problems.  In addition, PROCESS reviewed several client-generated process improvement ideas for the purpose of identifying process improvements to be tested during future pilot plant runs.

For byproduct disposal, PROCESS evaluated on-site controlled reaction with steam, on-site incineration, and removal as a liquid and off-site disposal.  The technical and economic evaluation resulted in the selection of the controlled steam reaction.  A conceptual process design, including a process flow diagram with mass balance was developed for the steam reaction system.

Project findings were summarized in a project report.  Included in the report was the recommendation to pilot test the controlled reaction system prior to commercial-scale design.  Therefore, at the end of the project, PROCESS participated in the selection of an engineering company to be contracted with for the purpose of detail design and fabrication of a pilot-scale controlled steam reaction system.  Finally, PROCESS prepared detailed testing procedures for the pilot-scale demonstration of the facility.

Pilot tests were conducted successfully at a later date.

Industry Type

  • Metal Powders Production

Utilized Skills

  • Technical and economic evaluations
  • Process improvement engineering
  • Byproduct disposal alternatives evaluation
  • NaK reaction
  • Vendor evaluation/selection

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