Ensure Safe Scaleup

September
,
2019

Minor hazards in the laboratory could turn out to be major safety concerns as the process is scaled up. Follow this guidance to ensure each stage of scaleup is safe.

Scaleup is a critical part of process design, but movement from laboratory-scale equipment to laboratory units, pilot plants, and demonstration units creates numerous technical and safety challenges (Figure 1). During scaleup, research staff discuss technical concerns, such as scale-up ratios, modeling effects and effectiveness, and contaminant buildup. However, they often overlook, down-play, or ignore safety challenges, as hazards may seem inconsequential at such a small scale.

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Figure 1. As processes move from the bench to demonstration-size units, the safety risks change and vary.

This thinking is flawed, because quite a lot can go wrong even at small scales — much of it unexpected and, hence, not planned for and unmitigated. This article provides some safety advice for scaleup...

Author Bios: 

Richard Palluzi

Richard P. Palluzi, P.E., CSP, of Richard P Palluzi LLC is a consultant to the pilot plant and laboratory research community on safety, design and research project management. He retired as a Distinguished Engineering Associate after almost 40 years at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, where he was involved in the design, construction, and support of pilot plants and laboratories for ExxonMobil’s research site in Clinton, NJ, as well as affiliates worldwide.Read more

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