Project Synopsis

Evaluate plant process equipment using the client's Aspen simulation and determine how the equipment needed to be modified in order to produce a new final chemical product.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a major chemical manufacturing facility that produces organic specialty and non-specialty chemical products.  Previously, Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to manage the equipment design effort and complete equipment specification packages for a specialty alcohol derivative process.  The original process consists of three plants.  The first plant produces an intermediate product, while the remaining two plants produce unique final products.

For this project, PROCESS was asked by the corporate engineering group to evaluate the equipment in one of the final product plants and determine how the equipment needed to be modified in order for the other final product to be produced in this plant.  The client provided PROCESS with an Aspen computer process simulation model which showed how the equipment would be used for the new service.

PROCESS completed the following tasks in support of the equipment evaluation and redesign effort:

  • Used the Aspen model provided by the client, identified equipment that would potentially be too small to handle the new process, including distillation towers, reactors, heat exchangers, tanks, decanters, pumps, and filters.
  • Used KG Tower and HTRI software to determine which of the columns and exchangers were undersized.  This included developing heat curves from Aspen to be used in HTRI.
  • Evaluated if it would be more efficient to change the design of undersized exchangers or change the steam supply to a higher pressure.
  • Developed a new design for equipment that was undersized for the new service that would accommodate both processes without making the equipment too large for the original service.  This was challenging since some columns and exchangers were drastically undersized for the new service.
  • Modified the equipment specifications that required a re-design.  This included rating the equipment for both services.
  • Modifying all other equipment specifications that would be used to produce the second product (but didn’t require a re-design) to include information on how the equipment will operate in the second service.
  • Added three new pieces of equipment and developed equipment specifications for them.
  • Directed the client with the evaluation and re-design of several pumps and a vacuum system.

A total of 39 equipment specification packages were produced or modified by PROCESS during this project.  This includes 3 new pieces of equipment and 10 re-designed pieces of equipment.

Industry Type

  • Organic Specialty and Commodity Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process equipment throughput evaluation and de-bottlenecking
  • Process equipment evaluation and re-design
  • Aspen process simulation

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