Project Synopsis

Process/project engineering assistance for process improvement upgrades on two lines of batch reaction systems in a chemical manufacturing facility producing specialty metal powder products.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to provide process/project engineering assistance for process improvement upgrades on two lines of batch reaction systems in the chemical manufacturing facility producing specialty metal powder products.  PROCESS, in conjunction with the client’s process engineers, had identified major process improvements that would enhance product quality during a previous project.  The primary improvements to the systems involved modifying the reactor vent and byproduct recovery systems to prevent air ingress to the reactors, using a modified reactor design to facilitate product removal, using an automatic solids feeding system, and replacing the existing reactor heads with ones that would improve the heat transfer characteristics of the reactors.

Process improvements engineering tasks included:

  • Development of process and engineering documentation in preparation for production test runs of the improved processes
  • Serving as the process safety and process engineering representative for process hazard analyses (PHAs) of the modified reaction systems
  • Assisting with the physical modifications of the test reaction systems
  • Providing technical coverage/supervision during the production test runs of the modified reaction systems

Process/engineering documentation development sub-tasks included the following:

  • Preparation of modified process drawings
  • Preparation of process and control system descriptions for the modified process
  • Development of detailed process testing plans that included testing goals and objectives as well as accompanying measurement techniques and laboratory quality assurance plans, testing schedules, technical coverage requirements, and process safety requirements
  • Detailed revision of existing batch production operating procedures to reflect operating steps for the modified systems

After the documentation was prepared, the systems modified, and the PHAs conducted, PROCESS provided technical coverage for the production test runs conducted to prove that the products could be produced in the modified reaction systems in a safe and reliable manner.  After the first test batches were completed and product quality analytical results were known, adjustments to the modified system designs were completed prior to the final test runs.  After all test runs were completed, PROCESS prepared production testing reports that included the modified process documentation, process and control descriptions for the modified systems, testing analytical results, and conclusions and recommendations for commercial-scale production using the modified systems.

The test runs were successful in proving operational safety, product quality/consistency, and product yield for the defined reactor configuration changes.  All of the recommended modifications were implemented as part of a full-scale facility expansion project.  The test run report and documentation were used in developing equipment specifications, preparing work instructions, and defining process control logic for the reactor operations  in the new facility.

Industry Type

  • Batch Chemicals

Utilized Skills

  • Process description preparation
  • Controls description preparation
  • PHA participation
  • Develop process test plans
  • Test results reporting
  • Scale up recommendations
  • Operating procedures preparation
  • Basic Engineering Design (BED)

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