Plant Operations

Easy Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

December
2012
Alan P. Rossiter, Veerasamy Venkatesan
Managing the energy consumption of a process does not need to be complicated. This article presents some examples of less-complicated strategies.

Troubleshoot and Solve Pneumatic Conveying Problems

June
2010
Fluids and Solids Handling
Eric Maynard, Eric Maynard
Use this scientific approach instead of a costly trial-and-error method to diagnose problems and implement solutions for conveying systems.

4th AIChE Regional Process Technology Conference

August 1, 2012
The South Texas Section of the AIChE, in partnership with AIChE HQ, is hosting its 4th Regional Process Technology Conference at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference...

June 2015 CEP Preview

June 16, 2015
Chemical engineers continue to earn more than the average U.S. worker. The median salary of survey respondents is $127,000 — a 5.8% increase over 
the median reported in 2013.

Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams

August 24, 2010
With a Bit of Smoke, a Few Mirrors and a Degree in Hieroglyphics, Anyone Can Learn to Read a P&ID. This is Part 1 of a five-part series. Part 1 - Introduction Engineers love...

Entering a New Golden Age of Chemical Engineering

September 19, 2012
This post is the first in a series of 12 posts about who ChEs are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. 2013 AIChE president Phil Westmoreland looks at trends, considers the...

Water: Industrial Discharge Permits

September 6, 2011
Environmental management groups are cracking down on industries by imposing tighter discharge limits and making industries everywhere contemplate in-house pretreatment programs—...

Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams

September 1, 2010
With a Bit of Smoke, a Few Mirrors and a Degree in Hieroglyphics, Anyone Can Learn to Read a P&ID. Part 2 - The Fundamentals In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why a...

Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams

January 27, 2011
Learning to read and interpret piping and instrumentation diagrams via dry text-based articles (unlike those produced by yours truly) can be painful. To make this critical topic a...

Deflagration and Detonation Flame Arresters

May, 2002
Designed for chemical engineers and other technical personnel involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of facilities and equipment where deflagration and detonation flame arresters (DDFAs) may be required, this book fosters effective application and operation of DDFAs through treatment of...

Avoiding Static Ignition Hazards in Chemical Operations

September, 1999
Written by Laurence Britton, who has over 20 years' experience in the fields of static ignition and process fire and explosion hazards research, this resource addresses an area not extensively covered in process safety standards or literature: understanding and reducing potential hazards associated...

Prevent Pulsation Problems in Piping Systems

March
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Mark Corbo
Eliminate unnecessary damage in piping systems by following these guidelines to avoid pulsations from pumps and compressors.

Cost Management in Heat-Transfer-Fluid Systems

July
2006
Heat Transfer
Conrad E. Gamble, P.E.
By taking ownership of fluid-related decisions for the entire life of the project, from design through dismantling, users can secure the best and lowest-cost approach in process heating and cooling.

Distillation Troubleshooting

March, 2006
The last half-century of research on distillation has tremendously improved our understanding and design of industrial distillation equipment and systems. High-speed computers have taken over the design, control, and operation of towers. Invention and innovation in tower internals have greatly...

Specifying Laser Scanning Services

May
2005
Plant Design
Eric Hoffman
Increasingly, project managers are called upon to employ laser scanning technology. However, little information available to aid with its specification. This article discusses the basics of laser scanning and the parameters that should be included...

Improving Reverse Osmosis Performance

September
2010
Reactions and Separations
Loraine Huchler
Follow these guidelines for monitoring, evaluating, and troubleshooting RO units to ensure reliable and efficient system operation.

Exploring Instrumentation Alternatives

September
2008
Instrumentation
Robert Baker
Salvaged, remanufactured, refurbished or new-surplus equipment may be a cost-effective option. Here's how to recognize when such devices may no longer meet safety or regulatory requirements.

Evaluating Chiller Performance

May
2003
Heat Transfer
Charles Churchman
Use these simple temperature and flow measurement techniques to evaluate chilled-utility performance and identify the most cost-effective upgrades.

Spray Dryers: A Guide to Performance Evaluation, 2nd Edition

August, 2004
Spray Dryers: A Guide to Performance Evaluation, Second Edition discusses the reasons for spray drying. These reasons are usually to produce a product with certain desired properties or with better efficiency than other methods. The book discusses how to plan in light of these objectives and gives...

AIChE Equipment Testing Procedure - Particle Size Classifiers, 2nd Edition

June, 1993
This procedure offers complete methodologies for sampling and measuring particle streams and summarizes methods of particle size analysis. It also lists operating variables to be considered and measured. Although the procedure is intended specifically for particle classification equipment, many of...

The Chemical Industry Phoenix

June
2012
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
Seven years ago, I wrote a column for another publica­ tion entitled “The U.S. Chemical Industry: R.I.P.” This pillar of American economic strength, which a few years earlier was the leading exporter among U.S. manufac­turing sectors (with net exports of $15–20 billion annually), was shriveling due in large part to policy blunders and regula­tory mistakes.

Handling Flammable Liquids

July
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
James C. Mulligan
Identify electrostatic hazards associated with liquid processing and understand the precautions available to control them.

Rx for Pharma

March
2009
Critical Issues
Girish Malhotra, P.E.
Chemical engineers could hold the key that helps pharmaceutical companies — facing pressure to control rising drug prices and competition from generics — reduce their manufacturing costs.

Improve and Maintain Cooling Tower Efficiency

April
2005
Heat Transfer
James L. Willa
Changing maintenance and/or operating procedures can significantly increase cooling tower performance without major capital expenditures. Here are some tips for ensuring proper design and operation of major tower components.

Don't Get Burned Picking Dry-Type Flame Arresters

October
2002
Fluids and Solids Handling
Stanley G. Grossel
These commonly used devices rely on an internal medium to extinguish flame fronts and take the punch out of shock waves, protecting piping, equipment and personnel. Selecting such equipment involves considering the probable type of combustion,...

Avoid Problems in Process Water Systems

October
2007
Heat Transfer
Marilyn W. Blaschke, Roger D. Metzler
Prevent corrosion, emulsification and fouling by implementing these operational and chemical measures.

Use Oxygen to Improve Combustion and Oxidation

July
2010
Reactions and Separations
Nancy C. Easterbrook, Reed J. Hendershot, Timothy D. Lebrecht
Substituting oxygen for air is often a low-cost, easy-to-implement option that can reduce capital costs, lower emissions, and improve process flexibility and reliability.

Examining X-Ray Technology

March
2009
Fluids and Solids Handling
Ray Spurgeon
Use X-ray inspection to see whether your product is contaminant-free and packaged properly.

Identifying Corrosion and Its Causes

April
2011
Fluids and Solids Handling
Gary Geiger, Mel J. Esmacher, P.E.
An important first step in maintaining equipment reliability and efficiency is understanding the various types of corrosion damage that can occur.

Optimize Heat Exchanger Cleaning Schedules

June
2001
Heat Transfer
Bruce A. Barna, Chris D. Gosling, Brendan R. O'Donnel
Get the most out of your heat exchanger by evaluating the trade-offs between a one-time expenditure and reduced operating expenses, increased income, and/or longer operating life span. Brendan R. O'Donnell - Bruce A. Barna - Chris D. Gosling -

Is Your Cold Lime Softener Effective?

December
2007
Reactions and Separations
Loraine Huchler
If your plant's utility system is experiencing problems, the culprit may be the clarifier. Understanding how to diagnose and correct off-spec clarifier operation will allow downstream units to function more efficiently and reliably.

Apply Solubility Theory for Process Improvements

March
2004
Reactions and Separations
Michael J. Gentilcore
For solid compounds that dissolve in solvents but do not ionize, the thermodynamics of solubility can provide valuable predictions and insights.

Get More Out of Single-Stage Distillation

February
2002
Reactions and Separations
Ernest A. Perkins , Ryan C. Schad 
Try these practical ways to boost capacity, increase product quality or reduce cycle time in batch and continuous systems.

Profiting From Your Pumping System

September
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
Aimee McKane  , Vestal Tutterow,  Don Casada
Identify ways to minimize the lifecycle costs of your pumping system

Determine the Right Eye Protection

September
2011
Safety
Harry J. Elston
Wearing the appropriate protective eyewear begins with a thorough safety assessment. These guidelines clarify how to identify hazards and select protective equipment to avoid eye injuries.

Take Another Look at Steam Traps

June
2001
Fluids and Solids Handling
S. Raghavi  Chari
Think twice before installing a steam trap. In the case of superheated lines, steam traps may prove to be a waste of time, effort, and money

Track Condenser Performance

February
2003
Heat Transfer
Brad Buecker
An effective monitoring program can extend equipment life, improve operations, and yield substantial energy savings.

Guidelines for Crystallizer Selection and Operation

October
2004
Reactions and Separations
Wayne Genck
Continuous crystallizers serve a wide range of applications in the chemical process industries. Optimize system performance by heeding these practical design and operating principles, which apply to the forced circulation (FC), draft-tube-baffle (...

Reduce Risk When Sourcing Abroad

October
2010
Fluids and Solids Handling
Gregory T. Benz, Ling Du
Purchasing lower-cost process equipment from vendors in developing nations can be an attractive proposition in times of economic austerity. When sourcing outside local channels, keep the points discussed here in mind to avoid costly problems that go...

Optimizing Batch Operations

January
2006
Reactions and Separations
Kah Loong Choong, Robin Smith
Use this novel method to optimize the operating conditions as they vary through time in batch processes.

Reduce Dust Explosions the Inherently Safer Way

October
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
A. G. Dastidar, Faisal I. Khan, P. R. Amyotte
This article is aimed at the development of a framework for dust explosion prevention and mitigation that explicitly incorporates the principles of inherent safety. As distinguished from engineered and procedural safety features, inherent safety...

What’s the Price of Steam?

July
2005
Heat Transfer
Robin Smith, Petar Varbanov
Realistic steam prices are necessary for the efficient operation of a chemical production site, both to allocate realistic costs to the different businesses on the site and to provide a true economic incentive for energy conservation.

Reduce Your Compressed Air Costs

October
2011
Fluids and Solids Handling
Ron Marshall, Bill Scales
Annual operating expenses for compressed air systems can exceed the equipment’s purchase price. Follow these seven steps to implement efficiency measures that yield cost reductions.

Evaluating Cooling Tower Upgrades

May
2008
Heat Transfer
Tom Dendy
When considering improvements to cooling towers, it's important to perform an economic analysis of the options.

Improve Flange Joint Reliability

January
2011
Back To Basics
Mike Emery, John Ludman, Thomas Sandbrook
Proper design, installation, and maintenance of flanged connection systems can prevent loss of containment and process interruptions. Follow this seven-step approach to ensure reliability of this critical process equipment.

Estimate the Capacity of Simple Batch Processes

August
2002
Reactions and Separations
James L. Manganaro
Finding the throughput of a multiple-unit, multiple-step operation, even when it is relatively uncomplicated, is not always an easy matter. Several equations and graphical aids are provided to help determine yearly capacity.

Evaluating and Documenting Tower Performance

February
2010
Reactions and Separations
Daniel R. Summers
A good performance evaluation can lead to a significant improvement in column performance and establish a basis for future tower evaluations. <br>
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