The ChE in Context: Advanced Manufacturing in Chemical Engineering

October
,
2017

In a history spanning some 130 years, chemical engineering has contributed critical technologies and processes to the manufacturing sector, fulfilling the needs of society and commerce. Recent decades have seen these needs change rapidly — marked not only by the revolution in information technology, but also by depletion of natural resources, climate change, and growing populations in need of options for sustainable living and heath care.

AIChE and its Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC) have identified Advanced Manufacturing (AM) as one of the priority issues for the Institute and for the chemical engineering profession. Chemical engineers — armed with our specialized skills and aptitudes — are ideally suited to lead a revolution in manufacturing innovation.

AM impacts all products of the chemical value chain. For the manufacture of high-volume petrochemical products, even incremental improvements — not to mention breakthroughs — can significantly improve yields as well as profits. For new products such as pharmaceuticals, novel molecules, and advanced materials, the product- and process-design phases must be closely coupled to reap maximum benefit.

Advanced manufacturing brings with it several challenges pertinent to chemical engineers, among them:

  • the continuing need to significantly improve product quality and process...

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