Corn­ing ® Ad­vanced-Flow™ Re­ac­tors Take Con­tin­u­ous Flow Process Pro­duc­tion from Lab to Full-scale Man­u­fac­tur­ing

C K Sethia, Dr. Makarand Pim­pla­pure

Chemical Industry Digest - - What’s In? -

C K Sethia, Dr. Makarand Pim­pla­pure, Corn­ing Re­ac­tor Tech­nolo­gies, In­dia.

The de­tails in this ar­ti­cle would fa­cil­i­tate in switch­ing from batch scale to con­tin­u­ous process.

Con­sis­tently pro­duc­ing a unique bal­ance of prop­er­ties for fine and spe­cialty chem­i­cals is an on­go­ing chal­lenge for man­u­fac­tur­ers. Tra­di­tional batch pro­cess­ing tech­niques have been proven over decades of use, but may have ef­fi­ciency, qual­ity con­trol and safety short­com­ings that could be par­tic­u­larly trou­ble­some in spe­cialty chem­i­cal pro­duc­tion.

Chem­i­cal en­gi­neers have long rec­og­nized that con­tin­u­ous flow pro­cess­ing is an ef­fi­cient and cost­ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to batch pro­cess­ing. Un­til re­cently, con­tin­u­ous pro­cess­ing mainly worked in lab­o­ra­to­ries that needed to pro­duce small vol­umes of chem­i­cals for test­ing and prod­uct devel­op­ment.

That changed when Corn­ing de­vel­oped its Corn­ing® Ad­vanced-Flow™ re­ac­tors (AFR) to take con­tin­u­ous flow pro­cess­ing out of the lab­o­ra­tory and onto the pro­duc­tion floor. Em­ploy­ing its more than 165 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in ma­te­ri­als sci­ence and process man­u­fac­tur­ing, Corn­ing cre­ated in­dus­trial-scale re­ac­tors that can pro­vide con­tin­u­ous process pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of up to hun­dreds of kilo­grams per hour for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal chem­i­cals, base chem­i­cals, and fine and spe­cialty chem­i­cals.

“For the past seven years, Corn­ing has been work­ing in the In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and chem­i­cal pro­cess­ing mar­ket to bring AFR’s dis­rup­tive, in­her­ently safer tech­nol­ogy (IST) to academia and com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ers in re­gion,” said Amit Bansal, Pres­i­dent of Corn­ing In­dia. “This team con­tin­ues to ex­pand our foot­print in In­dia through part­ner­ships with col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, as well as re­la­tion­ships with fine/spe­cialty chem­i­cals and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try.”

While Corn­ing’s AFR tech­nol­ogy has been around for more than six­teen years, the growth and devel­op­ment in the In­dian chem­i­cal & phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­try has taken place pri­mar­ily over the last seven years. A grow­ing num­ber of In­dian chem­i­cal and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are turn­ing to con­tin­u­ous man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques to sup­ple­ment, and in many cases, re­place their batch pro­duc­tion pro­cesses. With broad ex­pe­ri­ence of over six­teen years, over 600 chemistries and hun­dreds of in­stal­la­tions across the globe, Corn­ing’s AFR tech­nol­ogy of­fers a va­ri­ety of so­lu­tions to help meet the needs of small and large lab­o­ra­to­ries, as well as in­dus­trial scale man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Corn­ing AFR Tech­nol­ogy

Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors con­sist of cor­ro­sion­re­sis­tant glass and / or ce­ramic flu­idic mod­ules with in­te­grated dos­ing sys­tem that con­nects them with the feed­ing sources. The re­ac­tors com­bine three es­sen­tial prop­er­ties of chem­i­cal pro­duc­tion – heat, mass trans­fer and re­ac­tion – to oc­cur si­mul­ta­ne­ously in a sin­gle piece of equip­ment.

“Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors are small and pro­duce the full ben­e­fits of in­ten­si­fied mi­croscale con­tin­u­ous pro­cesses, but with the ca­pa­bil­ity to meet in­dus­tri­alscale pro­duc­tion,” said Alessandra Vizza, re­gional busi­ness direc­tor, Corn­ing® Ad­vanced-Flow™ re­ac­tors. “Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors en­able greater ef­fi­ciency in pro­duc­tion as com­pared to tra­di­tional batch re­ac­tors due to their smaller foot­print in man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties and abil­ity to scale from the lab­o­ra­tory to full pro­duc­tion in less than half the time it takes in batch pro­duc­tion sys­tems. There could also be safety gains be­cause con­tin­u­ous flow re­ac­tors use smaller vol­umes of chem­i­cals com­pared to large vol­umes of chem­i­cals in batch pro­duc­tion.”

Start­ing ma­te­ri­als are dosed into Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors to flow through heart-shaped mixing struc­tures which are spe­cially de­signed to pro­mote thor­ough mixing while keep­ing in­tense heat ex­change to en­sure isother­mal con­di­tions. These fea­tures al­low pro­duc­tion of a large port­fo­lio of de­sired chem­i­cal re­ac­tions such as ni­tra­tion, chlo­ri­na­tion, ox­i­da­tion, hy­dro­gena­tion and many oth­ers. The abil­ity to con­trol the feed in­gre­di­ent ra­tios into the re­ac­tors could en­able com­pa­nies to safely pro­duce a specif­i­cally de­sired quan­tity of a prod­uct at con­sis­tent qual­ity and lower cost.

Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors can be cus­tom­ized to meet spe­cific needs. They can also be in­te­grated into ex­ist­ing chem­i­cal pro­cess­ing in­fra­struc­tures with lit­tle or no down­time. The re­ac­tors have small foot­prints so com­pa­nies don’t have to ex­pand or build new fa­cili-

ties to pro­duce new prod­uct lines. De­pend­ing on cus­tomer needs, the re­ac­tors are also com­pat­i­ble with the CGMP (Cur­rent Good Man­u­fac­tur­ing Prac­tice) and the ATEX (the Dan­ger­ous Sub­stances and Ex­plo­sive At­mos­pheres) reg­u­la­tions.

Scal­ing up pro­duc­tion with Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors can be as easy as in­creas­ing the vol­ume of in­gre­di­ents fed into them. Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors of­fer a seam­less scale up that can re­duce, by as much as 50 per­cent, the time re­quired to bring a new prod­uct from the lab­o­ra­tory to pro­duc­tion and keep con­stant qual­ity at all the devel­op­ment stages.

Batch pro­cess­ing, by com­par­i­son, con­sists of pass­ing fixed quan­ti­ties of in­gre­di­ents along a pro­duc­tion ves­sel ac­cord­ing to a fixed for­mula to yield a spe­cific amount of fin­ished prod­uct. Mod­i­fy­ing for­mu­las or re­peat­ing a pro­duc­tion can cause qual­ity to vary from batch to batch.

Ad­di­tion­ally, batch pro­duc­tion re­quires a lot of space. Once a chem­istry passes a sec­tion of the pro­duc­tion line, that sec­tion is idle un­til the next batch comes through. Also, batch pro­duc­tion could pose higher safety risks than con­tin­u­ous flow pro­duc­tion be­cause of the large amounts of re­ac­tive chem­i­cals com­bined in a typ­i­cal batch pro­duc­tion process. Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors at any in­stance use smaller amounts of chem­i­cals so can re­duce the risk of ac­ci­dents.

In ad­di­tion to the re­ac­tor tech­nol­ogy, cus­tomers have ac­cess to Corn­ing en­gi­neers who con­sult with them re­gard­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of con­tin­u­ous pro­cess­ing in their man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion. They also demon­strate con­sis­tent qual­ity, re­li­able per­for­mance, and scaled-up pro­duc­tion to in­dus­trial-level vol­umes, which demon­strate ef­fec­tive and seam­less scale up. Corn­ing also pro­vides au­to­mated feed­ing sys­tems to sup­port the Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tors.

Backed by Corn­ing’s en­gi­neer­ing and pro­duc­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, con­tin­u­ous flow can pro­vide an eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally sound al­ter­na­tive to batch pro­duc­tion. With the po­ten­tial for more ef­fi­cient ma­te­rial use, lower waste pro­duc­tion and higher safety mar­gins, Corn­ing’s Ad­vanced-Flow re­ac­tor tech­nol­ogy of­fers fine and spe­cialty chem­i­cal, as well as phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers a cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to meet cur­rent de­mand for their prod­ucts.

Dr. Makarand Pim­pla­pure,

Ap­pli­ca­tion Devel­op­ment Man­ager for Corn­ing Re­ac­tor Tech­nolo­gies, Corn­ing Tech­nolo­gies In­dia Pvt Ltd.

Be­fore join­ing Corn­ing Makarand has worked in chem­i­cal & petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­tries (GE plas­tic, DOW chem­i­cals) as process/re­search en­gi­neers for process devel­op­ment and process in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion.

Man­ager Sales, Corn­ing Re­ac­tor Tech­nolo­gies, In­dia

Sethia has been work­ing with Corn­ing Ad­vanced-Flow Re­ac­tors for over four years now. C K Sethia,

Corn­ing Ad­vanced-FlowTM G4 Re­ac­tor Seam­less Scaleup from G1 to G4 (3500 TPA)

Corn­ing Ad­vanced-FlowTM G1 Re­ac­tor Ef­fec­tive Con­tin­u­ous-Flow Process Devel­op­ment and Pro­duc­tion (30 – 150 TPA)

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