Project Synopsis

Complete process design for a major chemical production capacity expansion project utilizing existing, idle equipment in combination with new purchased equipment.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a batch/continuous chemical production facility that produces an intermediate specialty organic chemical compound.  The client desired to increase the production capacity by 67% and contracted PROCESS to execute a complete process design for the expansion.  This expansion project involved utilizing existing, idle equipment in combination with new purchased equipment to achieve the additional production.  Process major unit operations included multiple batch reactions, product washing, pressure filtration, crystallization, light ends compression/recovery, product drying/packaging, and byproduct neutralization.  Project tasks included:

  • Revision and updating of the existing process piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs)
  • Computer process simulation, mass and energy balance development, process flow diagrams (PFDs) preparation, and process description preparation
  • Equipment arrangement drawings preparation
  • Equipment, instrument, and line lists preparation
  • Expanded process P&IDs preparation
  • Process design level capital cost estimate preparation
  • Existing vent system capacity evaluation
  • Utilities (cooling water, steam, nitrogen, hot oil) expansion capacities evaluations
  • Equipment data sheets preparation
  • Relief valve capacity evaluations and sizing
  • Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) facilitation, process engineering participation, and documentation.

The first task involved site work to update the client’s existing P&IDs.  PROCESS produced as-built P&IDs in preparation for P&ID modifications necessary for the expansion project.  A total of sixty (60) P&IDs were required to depict the expanded process.  The existing process was then simulated using commercial simulation software to produce a mass and energy balance for expanded production.  Tank jacket calculations were completed for batch reactors to assess heat transfer limitations and quantify utilities consumption.  The balances and calculations were combined to produce comprehensive PFDs of the expanded process.  The PFDs also indicated required utility rates for nitrogen, hot oil, cooling water, and steam.  A total of seven (7) PFDs were required to depict the expanded process.  PROCESS conducted additional site work to select locations for the new equipment required for the expansion and generated new equipment arrangement drawings.  A separate computer simulation of the vent system was completed to help ensure the capacity was available to adequately handle the additional production.  Equipment data sheets for the new equipment items were created based on the expanded system processing rates from the mass and energy balance.  The data sheets were issued to vendors for purchased equipment cost estimates.  The vendor quotes were compiled and a factored capital cost estimate was produced.  Relief valves for the new process rates were sized and included in the design documentation as well, and PROCESS conducted a PHA of the process design and issued the PHA report.

PROCESS remained involved with the project during the subsequent detail design phase. The plant expansion was ultimately brought on line in a very smooth fashion, with the expanded plant producing both quantity and quality of product that exceeded the client’s expectations.

Industry Type

  • Batch Specialty Organic Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process engineering
  • PFD and P&ID creation
  • Equipment specifications
  • Safety relief systems capacity evaluation
  • Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)
  • Basic Engineering Design (BED)
  • Pressure relief valve (PRV) or pressure safety valve (PSV) sizing

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