Project Synopsis

Provide on-site process engineering services in support of capital projects at a U.S. catalytic component manufacturing facility.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a facility in the U.S. that manufactures catalytic inserts for automotive and industrial emission control applications.  The catalyst-containing slurries (washcoat) are batched at the facility.  The slurries are transferred to catalyst substrate coating production line. The production lines include a final drying and calcining step in which a slurry washcoat, containing aluminum oxide, rare earth oxides, and precious metals, is fixed to a substrate and passed through a dryer and a high temperature (calcining) oven.  The production lines are equipped with pollution control systems for abatement of the NOx.

Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to provide on-site technical support to assist their Project Engineering group with the execution of capital projects.

Specific project descriptions for which assistance was provided include the following:

  1. Upgrade the concentrated nitric acid supply system to the batching tanks including a carboy filling station to safely fill portable containers for batch pH adjustments.
  2. Upgrade the glacial acetic acid supply system to the batching tanks.
  3. Upgrade the ammonium hydroxide supply system to the batching tanks.
  4. Upgrade the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for the batching systems for two facilities.
  5. Installation of high shear mixers on batching tanks.
  6. Upgrade of the line pigging system for transfer of batches to/from batch tanks to the production equipment (catalyst coating).  The pipe pig system increases the efficiency of transfers by purging the lines of material which also prevents cross-contamination between batches.

Specific project tasks included:

  • Worked with Facility Production Management to define the scope of work for capital projects.
  • Generate Bid Specifications for mechanical/electrical contractors to solicit for project estimates.
  • Generate specifications for project-related equipment including:
    • Materials of construction for process piping for various corrosive chemicals
    • Automated valves
    • Flow meters
    • Pressure transmitters
    • Pumps
    • High shear tank mixers.
  • Generate cost estimates for capital projects.
  • Work with facility Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Department to complete Risk Assessments of the specific project tasks.
  • Generate Work Instructions for new processes.
  • Review and revise Control Functional Descriptions for PLC Upgrades.
  • Assist EHS with submittals to the state department of environmental protection for Request for Determinations (RFD) regarding proposed changes to the facility pollution control devices (e.g. dust collectors).
  • Perform Pre-Start Up Safety Reviews (PSSRs) with production personnel including training on new equipment before the turnover of new systems.
  • Generate recommended spare part lists and recommended preventive maintenance frequency to facility Maintenance Department after installation of new system/equipment.

Industry Type

  • Catalytic Device Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • On-site process engineering support
  • Process engineering staff augmentation
  • Capital projects engineering support

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