Our Services

We provide engineering services through all aspects of process development, enabling value-added solutions that scale to meet your needs.
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Process Scale-Up & Safety Overview

Successful scale-up from lab to plant requires knowledge of how the process is influenced by the changes in scale, equipment configuration, and time. At Nalas we rigorously apply chemical engineering principles to identify sensitivities to these scale-sensitive parameters ultimately providing process understanding and confidence for scale-up.


Scale-down refers to understanding how process parameters such as feed rate, mixing, heat transfer limitations, and vessel-configuration, etc may impact product quality and safety and then designing laboratory experiments to mimic those effects. Through scale-down experiments we can often validate proposed scale-up protocols or demonstrate why challenges or failure have occurred on scale-up.

After process characterization and familiarizations studies Nalas can provide solutions and recommendations to your scale-up challenges, for example:

 

  • Why are we seeing variability in product quality or performance across manufacturing sites?

  • Is the process amenable to a continuous flow process? If so, what is the recommended equipment train and what size is the eventual footprint for a production target?

  • How do we consistently achieve the desired polymorphic (API) form on scale-up?

  • How do we achieve morphology and size distribution that is less sensitive to attrition?

  • Is the process safe to scale?

  • What feed rate can we tolerate to manage the exotherm and gas generation?

Process Characterization

  • Reaction kinetics

  • Mass balance

  • Heat of reaction and heat flow calorimetry

  • Material and physical property characterization (e.g. solubility, rheology, hygroscopicity, particle size, surface area BET)

Equipment Characterization

  • Heat Transfer

  • Mixing / CFD Modeling

  • Mass Transfer / kLa determination for Gas-Liquid Reactions

  • Process modeling (Access to Aspen, COMSOL, Dynochem, DesignExpert, etc.)

Thermal Process Safety Assessments

Whether you are synthesizing just a few kilograms or planning production of metric tons, a process safety assessment is critical to operator and proposed facility protection. Each step of the process and chemicals involved require testing for safety. The process safety assessment includes determining thermal stability, severity and criticality determination, small scale sensitivity testing, and waste profile assessment.

 

Tools Nalas uses for process safety assessments include:
 

  • Heat flow calorimeters (CRC90 and RC1) 

  • ARSST (Fauske) 

  • ARC (Netszch) 

  • TSu (HEL) 

  • DSC (Mettler Toledo and TA) 

  • TGA (TA) 

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Reaction Kinetics

Process understanding is heavily dependent on rates. Kinetics are the primary factor chemical engineers rely on when scaling up chemical processes. Kinetics are mainly dependent on concentration, temperature, and catalyst. We utilize kinetic data to support process models for batch scale-up and continuous processes. Kinetic data supports sizing of chemical reactors, developing process cycle times, and generating cost estimates for manufactured goods. When applied in a process model, kinetic data can be used to generate optimized dosing strategies, reagent stoichiometry, reactor configurations, and heat transfer requirements.

Our scientists are trained in “Data-Rich Experimentation”, which enables deep process understanding and speeds process development. Nalas utilizes both offline (eg. LCMS, GCMS, NMR) and in situ PAT tools (eg. ReactIR, ReactRaman, EasyViewer, FBRM, PVM, pH, turbidity) to monitor reaction and crystallization kinetics and elucidate reaction mechanisms. Using in situ analysis allows for continuous monitoring of species that are too unstable for analysis by LCMS or GCMS.

 

Reactor Scales

Nalas uses fully automated reaction platforms at several scales during process development. In the research lab, our reactors range from <1 mL for screening reactions, up to 6L for scale-up and process safety assessments. In our kilo-lab, Nalas utilizes reactors between 5L-100L for batch and continuous manufacturing of kilogram quantities of material.  

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CFD Modeling

Successful process scale-up requires an investigation into the effects of mixing on rates of reaction and mass transfer. Mixing and CFD models are used to predict the effects of scale on these rates. Nalas uses COMSOL to predict mixing, fluid flow, and heat transfer in batch and continuous flow systems. 

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Process Modeling

Before scaling to pilot plant or production scale, a process model is required to predict scale-up. Process models can be used to predict reaction kinetics, optimize downstream unit operations, size reactors and other equipment, determine capital and operating costs, evaluate process safety, and determine the overall process flow. Nalas uses software tools such as Aspen Plus, Aspen Batch Modeler and Aspen HYSYS for streamlining process modeling tasks. 

Heat Flow Calorimetry

Heat flow calorimetry is key for evaluating the potential thermal hazards inherent to process scale-up.  Nalas utilizes the Mettler Toledo RC1 for reaction calorimetry analysis prior to scale-up to ensure operator and facility protection.

 

Let us help you find the solution