Provide process engineering assistance to troubleshoot a scaled up process for the production of a new batch polymer.
POLYMER PROCESS EVALUATION AND TROUBLESHOOTING
The client, a microelectronic coating manufacturer, contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide troubleshooting and scale up support for a batch polymer production process. In an effort to fulfill product orders, attempts had been made by the client to scale up the process from a bench scale apparatus to larger pilot scale equipment. These attempts had been unsuccessful due to an inability to meet certain end use specifications. PROCESS was asked to review the process data and assist with process scale up. In support of this effort, PROCESS completed the following tasks:
- Developed a process design basis
- Reviewed data for the existing process to quantify critical operating conditions
- Evaluated attributes of reactor setups including geometries, agitation, heat transfer, and material additions
- Developed recommendations to improve consistency and control of the scaled up process.
In order to develop a clear understanding of the process, operating procedures were reviewed and summarized into a process map detailing raw materials, process steps, and critical operating conditions. Plant staff were then interviewed to better understand the potential impact of deviation from prescribed conditions and to narrow the focus of investigation to key differences in the scaled up operation.
Data for process parameters identified as fundamental to operations were then evaluated to quantify their significance in terms of final product quality. Through this evaluation, a set of critical quality parameters were identified. Further efforts were focused on quantifying unmeasured conditions based on equipment configurations such as agitation rates and skin temperatures along heat transfer surfaces.
Based on these findings, the equipment and control schemes were modified to improve consistency and batch control. Test runs were conducted to validate the effect of the changes with further modifications made as required in preparation for full scale production.
- Semiconductor Manufacturing
- Process troubleshooting
- Process scale up