Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering services to support the design of a new process for sulfonating a polystyrene block copolymer at an existing Northeastern U.S. chemical manufacturing facility.

Project Summary


The client, a multi-disciplined detail engineering company, subcontracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide process engineering services in the design of a new process for sulfonating a polystyrene block copolymer at an existing Northeastern U.S. manufacturing facility for the ultimate client, a leading producer of basic and intermediate chemicals for a variety of industries.  PROCESS was assigned the following project responsibilities:

  • Assist the client with improving the original preliminary process design.
  • Produce an overall process Heat and Material Balance (HMB) to use as a basis for all equipment design and specifications.
  • Update the existing Process Flow Diagram (PFD) to capture changes in the process design.
  • Develop new, and markup existing facility piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) for the complete sulfonation process.  Eleven (11) total P&IDs were delivered.  PROCESS maintained ownership of the P&IDs during the project.
  • Walk down the facility to produce existing as-built P&IDs and for the development of demolition P&IDs for the facility. Demolition drawings were required so that several pieces of existing equipment (tanks, pumps, pipe, etc.) could be re-used in the new process.
  • Prepare the equipment, instrument, specialty item, and line lists for the project.
  • Evaluate existing equipment (tanks, agitator, pumps, etc.) for service with the new process.
  • Write equipment specifications for all new tanks, pumps, heat exchangers, and other equipment needed.
  • Write instrument specifications for all new parts that are needed for the new process.  This included providing datasheets for 62 new units.
  • Complete pressure relief device evaluations (including calculations for all credible scenarios, documentation, and sizing of the devices) for the 16 relief valves and burst disks in the process.
  • Contact manufacturers to obtain specifications and quotations for non-standard parts that were required.
  • Identify and evaluate new technologies and analytical tools for operating the process.
  • Identify and manage all the process and utility tie-ins for the system.  Tie-ins were identified on the P&IDs.  PROCESS marked all tie-in points out in the field, and provided on-site assistance during the transfer to detail design.
  • Facilitate and participate in a process hazards analysis (PHA) held to analyze any potential hazards associated with the sulfonation process.
  • Support the the ultimate client control engineer in developing a Functionality and Control document for the new process.

The project progressed to detail design of the new process and is expecting to start production soon.

Industry Type

  • Intermediate Chemicals Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process design
  • Evaluation of existing equipment for re-use in a new process
  • Process demolition support

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