Driving Repeatable Chemical Manufacturing Batch Operations

by , , | Nov 4, 2021 | Chemical

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

Chemical Engineering webinar: Achieving Repeatable Golden Batch OutcomesA key performance indicator (KPI) for many batch manufacturers is right the first time. Automation plays a large role in driving success in this KPI.

In a recorded webinar, Achieving Repeatable Golden Batch Outcomes, Chemical Engineering magazine’s Scott Jenkins hosts Emerson’s Michael Machuca and Marty McDonough to discuss some of the automation solutions that can improve the Right First Time metric. They discuss how to minimize out-of-spec batches to avoid time consuming rework or scrapping and drive safe, efficient and reliable operations.

I’ll highlight a few key points from the webinar and invite you to watch the recording. Michael and Marty opened discussing some challenges from manufacturers with chemical batch reactor applications. They note that some had Right-First-Time metrics between 40-70%. This means that 30-60% of the batches are not up to specification and need some kind of rework or in worst case even scrapping.

These low percentages also mean that up to 62% if the work performed by the plant staff is non-value add. Overall plant availability also is low between 75-90%. For these manufacturers there is ample opportunity to reduce and predict batch cycle time, eliminate out of spec batches and manage abnormal situations, such as process upsets and unplanned outages that develop to quickly address and fix.

Some questions to consider in reducing and predicting batch cycle times include:

  • Is your equipment available at the right time?
  • If you had less manual work, could you produce more?
  • Are you losing valuable production time due to re-work?
  • Are you missing feedstock at the start of production? Do you have enough for the last batch?

From an out-of-spec batch perspective, some questions to consider include:

  • Are you able to predict the end of batch quality?
  • Are you dealing with a lot of batch-to-batch variation?
  • Can you efficiently deal with raw material variability?

And, from an abnormal situation management perspective, some questions to consider include:

  • Do you have enough insight into your asset health?
  • Do you have enough insight into abnormal process conditions?
  • Does your work practice require a lot of staff interventions in hazardous environments?

By discussing and better understanding the answers to these questions, solutions can be identified to address them. For instance, when considering ways to optimize batch cycle time with existing assets may include predictive maintenance to avoid equipment breakdown, automating operator manual procedures to reduce opportunities for human error, and analytics for earlier recognition of the batch veering off-spec in order to make corrective actions sooner rather than later, when its more time consuming and expensive.

Watch the recorded webinar for the role that improved measurements, continuous asset monitoring, and operational analytics can play in many areas including batch reactor applications, material additions, batch charges, multiple recipe feeds, reactor heating and cooling, and more.

Visit the Chemical industry section on Emerson.com for more on the technologies and solutions to drive safer and more consistent, reliable and efficient operations.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.