Project Synopsis

Analyze existing process equipment capacity and suggest steps to improve and enhance product heating system capability at a resin manufacturing plant.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a resin manufacturing facility.  The client contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to prepare a process design package for a heating system for existing raw material storage tanks and process batching tanks.  The client needed to raise the temperature of the raw materials to a desired setpoint prior to transferring the material to the batching tanks.  Once in the batching tanks, the material needed to be held above a minimum temperature for a set period of time to maintain product quality.  The scope of the project involved reviewing the capabilities of existing equipment (two hot water boilers, one plate and frame heat exchanger, and a set of external heating coils) with regard to meeting the modified thermodynamic requirements (higher temperature setpoints) and the development of process design level (duty) specifications for new equipment and insulation as needed to achieve the desired process conditions.

More specifically, PROCESS completed the following tasks:

  • Developed a process design basis document that summarized all relevant process data including existing equipment capacities, physical and chemical properties of the materials, and maximum heat up times.
  • Generated heat and material balance (HMB) data for each heating system using PROCESS‘ licensed commercial computer process simulation software, CHEMCAD.  Preliminary data was evaluated under various operating scenarios by adjusting heat exchanger surface area, hot water supply temperatures, and pumping rates to define options for modification to existing equipment versus the purchase of new equipment.  It was determined that the existing heat exchanger and one existing hot water boiler could meet the process requirements for one of the applications with only minor modifications.  One new heat exchanger and a new hot water boiler were required for the second application.  Based on preliminary HMB data, PROCESS recommended for the second application that the client consider heating the material on the transfer to the batch tanks instead of maintaining the material in the storage tanks at the desired feed temperature with a continuous recycle loop.  This reduced the size of the new heat exchanger and boiler while maintaining process integrity.
  • Determined ambient heat losses for each of the storage tanks to quantify the additional heat duty requirements when sizing the heat exchangers and boiler.
  • Determined ambient heat losses in the batching tanks to define the heating and insulation requirements to maintain the system at a minimum temperature for a set period of time.  Based on the calculations, it was determined that the process conditions could be achieved by insulating the batching tanks and recycle piping with 2 inches of fiberglass insulation.  No additional heat source was required.
  • Modified existing piping and instrumentation drawings (P&IDs) to indicate all piping and instrument changes to the process.  The P&IDs provided sufficient detail for a skilled contractor to install the system.
  • Prepared process duty specifications for a new single pass plate and frame heat exchanger and a new condensing hot water boiler.

Industry Type

  • Batch chemical manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process heat transfer design

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