Safety Process in a Chemical Process Simulation

One of the main activities assigned to a chemical engineering company is ensuring that the process we’re running in the company is safe enough. This is because of the connection between the chemical affinity, the chemical interaction, and the mixing and connecting between them. We want to ensure that when we are running the process, the process will progress with no risk from a safety point of view. You can read more about it here –

VisiMix is a software that is based on physical models supported by empirical data. The software solves the momentum equation to know the velocity of the flow, using this knowledge to calculate main mixing parameters that are controlling processes. VisiMix allows us to identify when we enter a risky zone of process or encounter a subpar mixing practice.

It is known in the literature that sterile reactors or sterile tanks (the tanks in which we run chemical reactions or any process) are the types of equipment used in all branches of the chemical process industry. Operation of these kinds of equipment with regard to the axes that are in the chemical process industry is about 14%. Seventy-one percent of this 14% comes from batch or semi-batch drag through operation—that is the field that we are running. We know the process, we apply some mixing, and according to the mixing, we’re able to understand if our process is in good mixing practice and range of work or not. So, we are really talking about a foundational understanding of the safety process. This understanding is one of the main activities in every company; in every successful company, safety is the high priority.

With VisiMix, we’re able to calculate mixing parameters connected to the capability of generating good mixing practices. We’re also able to avoid general problems and safety problems related to heat transfer, process contamination, and bad operation. If we can simulate the processes before we start operating and monitoring them, we will be able to avoid a lot of problems that are really the high priority of the company. Of course, this action is more important than any high priority or high productivity, because if one of the processes is not safe, we will generate accidents, and accidents are dangerous for every company—not only for the operator, which is the main point, but secondly, for the company’s reputation. If the company has several accidents at a time, other businesses will feel that the company does not take seriously their work and, accordingly, the product they are providing to the market.

So, we have parameters ensuring that when we calculate processes into the software, the software will generate a message notification that results from the simulation. But this message is going exactly to this point to try to generate safety. For instance, if you run a process as a simulation in the VisiMix file you may get the notification that the “mixing power is too high to drive.” This means that the equipment may not be designed for the density viscosity you want to run. Before you run the process with this different density viscosity, you will need to check the motor drive and the motor shaft to ensure that you will avoid vibration and avoid crashing or breaking the shaft.

Another instance is the following: if the software tells you that complete suspension is questionable, this means that the solids might form at the top or bottom, and that the solid and liquid media interaction you want to generate to formulate the process is not running in the way you wanted it to. An issue of this kind can generate a variety of problems, such as plugging in the bottom of the tank, or hot spots formation. Once you dissolve the particles a little, they become smaller and will enter in the complete media, generating a fast reaction and heat release that was not in your intensity or capability to extract from the reactor.

These are only two examples, but we have about 12 to 15 different notifications that explain to you how important it is to control the limit of process operation in your equipment, and how to avoid problems by adopting good operation practices and avoiding the use of equipment that will not be adequate for your process.

So, in summary, safety processes in this kind of equipment are directly connected to the mixing you are applying. If you know the limits of your equipment (because you’re able to calculate with the software), you will be able to operate and design your process in a way that will be safe for the industry, the operators, and, of course, for the reputation of the company.

VisiMix Video

The Influence of Mixing in the Process
New methodology using VisiMix software for the purpose of checking the influence of mixing in the processes.

VisiMix Demo Operation
Learning how to input data into the VisiMix software and get results the will help us understand the influence of mixing in our processes.

Lab Experiments
Learning how to set up the relevant experiments at the lab scale, to develop the processes from an engineering point of view.