Process Development & Optimisation

Access to state of the art, computer controlled reaction systems

Some companies will have too few processes in research to be able to justify the purchase of a multiple reactor system that can be used for fast track development. For these situations we can use the latest equipment in our own laboratories to carry out the development on your behalf: AutoMATE is one of our most common tools but HP ChemSCAN and PolyBLOCK are other possibilities. We plan out the work programme together with you and then use our combined experience to fast-track your R&D.

Parallel experimentation, factorial design, optimisation

Traditional process development was carried out by altering one variable at a time and identifying its 'best' value, e.g. to minimise the cost, maximise the production rate or to obtain the highest purity product. Design Of Experiments (DOE) involves identifying all the variables ('factors' in the language of DOE) that may affect your process development. Examples could be feed rates, reagent concentrations, pH, temperature, stirring intensity or a reactant particle size. The parameters by which you will judge process optimisation and how good the results are must also be defined: these are the 'responses'. Factorial design defines an efficient sequence of experiments in which several factors are varied simultaneously: measurement of the responses for each experiment enables robust identification of those factors that have the biggest influence on the responses. Additional experiments can then be used to help define those conditions that achieve an optimal response combination. To complete such a sequence of experiments quickly fully automated, computer controlled multiple reaction systems are used. Sophisticated software packages are available both to plan the experiments and to interpret the results, for example see http://www.statease.com.

We use these DOE techniques when helping you to develop your process quickly and safely. We can also use them for process troubleshooting, for instance to try and identify the root cause behind failed batches or variable product quality.

Rapid and safe process scale up

Financial pressures to reduce the 'time to market' have never been greater. At the same time the requirements of national bodies such as the HSE and Environmental Agency to develop safe and 'green' processes are becoming increasingly demanding. Both of these considerations mean that you must have quick and cost effective access to thermal screening, isothermal calorimetry and adiabatic calorimetry services. You need to use equipment and methodologies that allow your staff to be more productive and you require quick access to all the services that will provide the information for your risk assessments, your hazard identifications and your HAZOPS. Such information is required for you to define the Basis Of Safety (BOS) under which your process will operate. For relevant HSE publications search for INDG254 and HSG 143 at http://www.hsebooks.com.