A paradigm shift is underway in the process industries. For over 100 years, these industries have maintained that processes were most efficiently treated as a series of standardized unit operations, and that cost-effective scale-up occurred by increasing equipment size to take advantage of economies of scale. These principles still hold in most cases, but process intensification (PI) and modular process technologies are starting to change these perspectives. New thinking and new tools allow engineers to see process development in entirely new ways, and the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute and its members are helping lead this change in U.S. manufacturing. The news article “RAPID’s Quest for Intensification” (pp. 24–28) gives a brief introduction to RAPID and spotlights three of its many projects.
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