Project Synopsis

Develop both preliminary and final process design information for a significant plant expansion project for a fine chemicals and specialty catalyst manufacturer.

Project Summary


The client, a world-wide producer of chemicals and commodity materials, currently produces fine chemicals and specialty catalysts at an existing manufacturing facility.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client’s corporate office to develop an initial FEL-1 and subsequent FEL-2 design for expansion of the facility’s batch production capacities.

Project tasks included:

  • Process Design Basis preparation, which involved development of the equipment design and sizing requirements for the new systems.
  • Preparation of Heat & Material Balanced (HMBs) and Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs), which involved the simulation of multi-step batch processes based on client operating data and procedures.  Due to the large number of products produced at the batch facility, eleven (11) products were chosen to serve as the basis of design.  The HMBs were developed to provide assessments of cycle time, scaling, equipment capacity, and utility requirements.  PFDs were then generated for each product to depict the desired process configuration and primary equipment items.
  • Preparation of Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), which involved the development P&IDs from initial concept through issued for design (IFD).  The P&IDs depicted the primary unit operations, process and utility streams, instrumentation and controls, and preliminary line sizing.  The drawing set included over 100 drawings which covered the main process areas, water treatment, and utilities.
  • Preparation of an Equipment List, which involved the development of a list of process equipment information.  Through the course of the project, the equipment list was maintained to serve as the basis for the preliminary cost estimates prepared by PROCESS as well as a communication tool to convey sizing information to outside entities’ involved in preparing the initial facility mechanical and civil details.
  • Equipment Duty Specifications preparation, which involved the development of process design level (duty) IFD specifications for all major pieces of process equipment.  This task included specification development for over 250 equipment items covering the main process areas, water treatment, and utilities. Equipment types included such items as jacketed reactors, distillation systems, filter dryers, molecular sieves, solids packaging, vacuum conveyors, batch reactors, glass lined reactors, and a Powdered Activated Carbon Treatment (PACT) system for wastewater.
  • Utility system evaluations, which involved analyses of transient heating, cooling, and vacuum requirements for the batch systems.  To complete this task, utility loadings versus time were evaluated for relevant batch steps of the eleven (11) base products.  These loadings were determined based on both desired process conditions and heat transfer characteristics of the equipment.  The results were then used to size utility supplies, condensers, and vacuum pumps.
  • Additional supporting project tasks completed through the course of the project included preliminary instrument I/O estimates, wastewater characterization support, environmental impact evaluation support, piping and facility siting review, vendor interface for package system design, and participation in hazard assessments (HAZOPs).

Industry Type

  • Batch fine chemicals and catalyst manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Preliminary process design
  • Final process design

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