This article will discuss the scaleup of chemical and pharmaceutical plants.
The blog will discuss only small continuous processes in the chemical industry and flow chemistry (continuous) processes in the pharmaceutical industries.
COSTELLO gets involved when the laboratory chemistry has been completed and the client is ready to consider a continuous process. Moreover, we get involved at the bench scale level or pilot level as well.
Here are typical scaleup annual volumes measured in metric tons for three (3) different projects:
|Type of Plant||Bench Scale||Pilot Plant||Full Scale|
|Pharma Small Molecule||20||Skipped||100|
For the two specialty chemical project, the scaling multiplier is being shown as 20.
For the pharma small molecule project, the scaleup multiplier was 50 with full scale being a pilot size plant.
- Are there any process intensified unit operations that can be used in this process?
- Are there any process intensified reactors that can be used in this process?
- Is ratio control important?
- How important is overall step changes in the production rate?
- How will Clean In Place be achieved?
- Can the separation steps like flash evaporators and distillation columns be scaled down to miniature units or ?
Instrumentation and Control Issues
- Do flow transmitters hold a minimal inventory of process fluid?
- Do you use flow control valves or variable speed drive motors on pumps to determine and control flow rate?
- Have you considered the appropriate PATS (Process Analytical Technologies) so that reliance on laboratory analysis does not create a time delay between off spec production and a process change?
- How will the PATS be interfaced into a DCS (Distributed Control System) or a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller)?
- Have you considered:
Proportional Control Loops
In summary, specialized engineering skills go into small continuous plants using tubing instead of pipes and using process intensified unit operations.