Project Synopsis

Provide detail process engineering support for the development of a process design package for improving a micro silica batch manufacturing process.

Project Summary


The client is a global manufacturer of specialty chemicals, and this particular plant produces specialized (high value) highly porous micron size silica powders for analytical chemistry and pharmaceutical applications.  Process Engineering Assocaites, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to develop the detailed process engineering documents for upgrading the existing Pfaudler Reactor and Dr. M Filter system to incorporate improvements in process design, automation, control, and safety to the largely manual existing process operation.  These process improvements were previously identified in a preliminary process design project executed by PROCESS.

The process consists of two primary batch unit operations for processing silica powder: (1) a Pfaudler glass lined stirred tank reactor with a refluxing condenser, and (2) a Dr. M Filter with three candles (filter elements).  In the Pfaudler Reactor, micron size silica is reacted with aqueous hydrochloric acid (HCl) to remove trace metal contaminants, and modify its surface chemistry for subsequent surface bonding reactions.  The Dr. M Filter is used to recover silica from the reactor effluent slurry, wash it to remove residual HCl, and air dry it.  The existing process is largely a manual operation without any automatic valves or controls, and with inadequate venting and overpressure protection.

The scope of work was to develop the detailed process engineering design documents for the improved/ modified process.  These consisted of the following:

  • Final design basis
  • Process flow diagram (PFD) with material and energy balance (M&EB) and revised process description
  • Modified process piping & instrumentation diagram (P&ID)
  • Demolition P&ID depicting the existing equipment, piping, and instrumentation to be removed
  • Equipment and instrument lists including design and duty specifications
  • Revised and updated pressure relief valve (PRV) specifications
  • Auxiliary systems load summary table listing the utility requirements at the battery limits
  • Process control description including a table of process control interlocks, and motor-valve sequencing
  • Process control specification
  • Revised operating instructions incorporating features of the revised process design.

Industry Type

  • Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemical Reagent Manufacturing
  • Detailed process design support
  • FEL-3, Schedule A support

Utilized Skills

  • Detailed process design support
  • FEL-3, Schedule A support

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