NiTech’s technology enables companies to adopt continuous processing and overcome many of the problems associated with batch production, which is still widely used in general chemical manufacturing.
NiTech’s® reactors and crystallisers replace stirred tank reactors (STRs) with a much smaller reactor volume to enhance throughput performance. The capital cost is significantly less than for STRs as the reactor volume is usually 90% smaller. Quality is consistent and does not suffer from the variations that are intrinsic in batch production.
Process Intensification (PI) is about reducing the size of chemical and other plant equipment to enable manufacturers to achieve major increases in process efficiency while reducing waste. In many cases, therefore, it can literally enable companies to ‘use less to produce more’.
NiTech’s technology contributes to the adoption of Process Intensification by enabling companies to switch from batch to continuous processing. Its “plug and produce” model enables it to operate within existing manufacturing processes. It also allows companies to redesign their manufacturing operations to capture additional savings.
This opportunity is well described by Peter Hobin, the manufacturing technology leader at lubricants company Infineum (a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell) in a paper to the European Process Intensification Conference in June 2011, where he noted:
“One of the perceived benefits of PI is a smaller manufacturing footprint and capital cost. However, in order to take a PI process into an existing plant environment and capture the expected savings, several additional challenges need to be addressed and overcome. Simply inserting a PI plant into a traditional plant layout and using conventional screening cost tools is unlikely to yield an overall lower capital cost. Instead there is a need to adapt to a different form of plant layout, design equipment for the highest levels of reliability and establish a compact design whilst ensuring easy access for operation and maintenance.”