When developing new processes, the chemical engineer determines the basic conditions and recipes for the process. This laboratory data is generally not sufficient enough to design the production plant. The interaction of chemistry, physical parameters and instrumental boundary conditions in complex processes is usually determined in pilot plants. Chemical and bioreactions, crystallizations or mixing rheologically demanding media are investigated in these experimental plants. The concept of the future production plant must be considered while planning the pilot plant so that the geometrical circumstances, the residence time behavior as well as other parameters can later be extrapolated to the scale of the production plant.
In EKATO’s laboratories, a number of lab and pilot plants are available for carrying out such investigations. Typical batch processes can be run under normal industrial operating conditions and the range of available tank sizes starts from 5 up to 100 l. These can be for example hydrogenation reactions which are carried out at operating pressures of up to 100 bar. Therefore the mixing technology is designed in such a way that it can easily be extrapolated to production scale with regard to the design-relevant parameters such as mass and heat transfer, blend time and suspension of catalysts. Pilot plants are also available for the production of formulated products such as cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, paints and lacquers, adhesives, insulation materials and lubricants.
Our R&D-specialists are also available for carrying out pilot tests in the customer’s laboratory followed by the scale-up. With their expertise in mixing technology and plant engineering, they can even support the planning stage of the experiments. In the next step the results are analyzed and the production plant will be designed.
EKATO Engineering offers a full range of services for the planning and construction of pilot plants in the customer’s laboratories. It can include the conceptual, basic and detailed engineering of the key components or the entire plant. Of course EKATO also supplies the key equipment – e.g. agitator, reactor with heating/cooling system – or the turnkey pilot plant.