Process Technology Evalution and Assessment
Companies in the process industries often need impartial evaluations of process technologies for making strategic and tactical business decisions. Some of the situations that force this need include: outside technology acquisition (licensing), benchmarking internal technology developments, screening toll manufacturers, assessing scale-up potential and risk, and process selection for projects. Our experienced staff and dynamic process simulation capability can help provide a comprehensive process evaluation solution.
Typical evaluation criteria we employ are list below:
Robustness addresses process vulnerabilities to the variations and conditions encountered in a real processing environment. For catalyst promoted processes, the effect of fluctuations in raw material quality (composition, purity, and dryness) on yield, selectivity and life is of significance. Other process issues that can cause process upsets and loss of production include, propensity for equipment fouling and wear, foaming, corrosiveness of process materials, and extreme temperature, pressure and humidity conditions to name a few. Through prior experience and facilitation of process hazard analyses, our engineers have gained valuable insights on the design and operability issues of many processes.
Scale up of operation becomes an issue when the process under consideration has not been operated at the capacity required for a new project. Not all process parameters will scale linearly. In addition, for batch chemistry, the runaway and decomposition reaction hazards are generally exacerbated at large scale. Our Process Safety Office™ component SuperChems™ is simulation software capable of characterizing reaction kinetics and thermodynamics of scaled-up systems based on thermochemical test data.
Operability / Maintainability
Processes that need more operator/maintenance intervention are more vulnerable to unscheduled outages and will generally require more staffing and maintenance resources than process which are more forgiving (e.g., less fouling or less aggressive on equipment). We are experienced in preparing reliability/availability/maintainability (RAM) studies that allow quantification of the expected up time and annual production capacity of process design configurations.
If done properly, this is usually the equalizing factor that accounts for all the known and suspected items that affect the processing costs. For developmental processes this may require independent estimates of raw material, catalyst, and utility consumptions based on knowledge of the chemistry and thermodynamics of the process. We have considerable experience in preparing manufacturing cost structures for a large range of chemical and refinery processes.
Process Simulation Studies
Maintaining up-to-date, accurate process simulation data is paramount to the safe, efficient operation of a plant and is a valuable aid to process optimization. ioMosaic offers our Process Simulation service as part of an Emergency Relief System (ERS) Design project, or as part of our Process Technology Evaluation and Assessment services.
Using our process expertise gained in the petrochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, ioMosaic can include the following as part of our Process Simulation studies:
- Development of Heat and Material Balances, For Existing Operations
- Sensitivity Analyses to Identify the Optimal Design Based on Operating and Business Targets
- Assessment of Equipment Deficiencies, Such As Heat Exchanger Fouling, and Column Flooding
- Equipment Sizing Verification, and Recommendation
- Evaluation of Feed Changes, Upsets, and Equipment Downtime
Sometimes a deal maker or breaker is the licensing arrangement. Some important aspects of note:
- Company Experience and Credibility (Will They Be In Business As Long As You Will?)
- Technical Support Capability (Are They Convincing Regarding Technical Issues?)
- Licensing Terms (What's Included In The Base License and What Is Extra Requiring Annual Fees?)