Project Synopsis

Develop a process design package and provide project management, equipment commissioning, and startup support for a new edible oil Hydrogenation system.

Project Summary


The client, an edible oil manufacturing facility, contracted with Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide lead process and project engineering services in the design, installation, and startup of a new Hydrogenation system. The project included a hydrogen reactor system (reactor, agitators, hydrogen supply, vacuum system), heating and cooling systems (to include heat recovery), automated solids feeding system, solid/liquid in-line mixing, and other associated tanks, pumps, and process and utility piping.

The client’s original scope was to install a new reactor system to replace existing reactors with a minimal shut down of operations (4 days). The facility is FDA regulated and follows cGMP guidelines.

PROCESS was assigned the following project responsibilities:

  • Develop new process flow diagrams (PFDs) and material balances repurposing existing systems and integrating several new unit operations into the process.
  • Develop new, and markup existing facility piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) for the complete Hydrogenation system.  PROCESS maintained ownership of the P&IDs during the project until final as-built drawings were completed.
  • Identify and manage all the process and utility tie-ins for the system.  Tie-ins were identified on the existing plant P&IDs.  PROCESS marked all tie-in and isolation points out in the field and provided on-site assistance during the pre-construction reviews and the construction phase.
  • Facilitate and participate in a process hazards analysis (PHA) conducted to analyze any potential hazards associated with the Hydrogenation process, as well as maintain the list of action items generated from the PHA.
  • Develop a heat recovery process.  PROCESS specified tanks, pumps, heat exchangers, instrumentation, and operational sequencing to reduce or eliminate additional heat input to the reactors after the initial batch.
  • Develop a solids handling system to automate the addition of catalyst to the reactors which reduces employee contact and charging times.
  • Develop a solids handling system to automate the addition of filter aid materials reducing employee contact and charging times.
  • Specify all instrumentation including an in-line process analyzer; flow meters; level, pressure and temperature sensors.  Review the equipment documentation and quotes as well as interact with vendors to facilitate the purchasing of the equipment.
  • Develop equipment specifications for all of the equipment in the project including the reactors, agitators, in-line solid/liquid mixers, bulk solids handling equipment, vacuum system, pumps, and heat exchangers.
  • Review the equipment documentation and quotes as well as interact with vendors to facilitate the purchasing of the equipment.
  • Develop and maintain an equipment list, automated valve list, control valve list, PSV lists, manual valve lists, line lists, instrument list, and steam system component list.
  • Specify insulation and heat tracing requirements for the piping system and reactors.
  • Review control system design, develop control point list (input/output), and aid in the development of a functional specification and programming logic development based on the operating procedures, instrument list, and P&ID’s that were developed during the project.
  • Develop the standard operating procedure (SOP) and Work Instructions (WI) for the improved Hydrogenation system.  The SOP was modified from an existing document to incorporate the new process and modified system changes.
  • Develop “click-by-click“ instructions for the process control simulator to aid in the retraining of operators before the final system changeover.
  • Test process control logic and the human-machine interface (HMI) system before integration into the facility control systems.
  • Aid in the development of the project changeover timeline to minimize downtime of the facility during the installation and integration of the new system.
  • Develop the sequential flushing, testing, and commissioning plan for the system changeover.
  • Develop equipment, piping, and control system testing packages.

This project was conducted as part of an overall facility expansion project. Project goals included to making minimal design changes to the process, reuse/repurpose existing equipment, increase capacity, and achieve cost savings wherever possible. These goals were all achieved and the process was started up smoothly and is meeting or exceeding the design projections for both throughput and quality.

Industry Type

  • Food & Beverage Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process design
  • Project management
  • Process procedure development
  • Operator training simulator programming
  • Plant commissioning
  • Unit startup support

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