Archive: Oct 2018

3 Key Design Considerations for Your Process Systems

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The innovation driving modern-day production may be an art, but the optimization of the various processes involved is definitely an exact science.

There are two ways to go about production. Some choose to go with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, in which things work sometimes, or most of the time, and when they don’t, it’s back to the drawing board. The other, more efficient strategy, adopted by top manufacturers, involves careful system design and regular maintenance — allowing them to make the most of available resources and scale quickly and efficiently while eliminating the hiccups, downtime, and general headaches associated with production bottlenecks.

So what’s the best way to ensure optimal performance from your unique process system? Consider the three key design considerations laid out below.

1. Footprint

Before diving into the details, it’s important to first grasp the “big picture” of your process system design requirements. Assess the available space and how it can be best utilized to support the goals of the unit.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of equipment is being installed?
  • What kind of space can we use?
  • Do we need to account for extra space in order to accommodate certain features of the equipment or particular characteristics of the production process?

If you have to install a new tank, for instance, the vendor responsible for the addition will need to check off a few important to-dos:

  • Create sketches for review that show where the tank can sit.
  • Evaluate the dimensions of the tank against the dimensions of the location where tank installation is proposed.
  • Ensure that there is a clear passageway for the tank to reach the intended site; otherwise, installation cannot proceed.

2. Output Diversity

Single-product manufacturing deals with fixed quantities. There is little to no variation. So, the process system design can easily account for single density, viscosity, and temperature requirements.

The scenario is more complex for multi-product units. The following questions are of paramount importance when creating a unique setup capable of efficiently handling multiple outputs:

  • What raw ingredients will be processed?
  • How can we handle the different viscosities?
  • Do we need to change the temperature at any point?
  • How will the heat transfer take place?
  • Will other adjustments to production parameters be needed?
  • How can we accommodate these adjustments?

3. Maintenance

Without proper maintenance and upkeep, even the most sophisticated process system design will be undermined over time.

Three main cleaning options are available for production units:

With the CoP approach, separate cleaning tanks do the job. With a skidded CIP arrangement, the most effective cleaning is possible when the equipment is accessible and its design relatively straightforward.

A variety of tests — a couple of which are listed below — can be conducted to probe the thoroughness of CIP setups.

  • Analysis software monitors spray devices in order to keep tabs on performance and installation robustness.
  • A regular riboflavin test is an easy, visual way to spot areas of equipment that are not being cleaned.

The bottom line? Maintenance should never be an afterthought. It needs to be a regular practice to ensure optimal process system performance, reliability, and longevity.

Learn More

Truly optimized production also depends on three other critical system design factors. To find out what they are, download our new, free eBook, “Key Design Considerations for Process Systems.”