Working from home

What I Learned from Working from Home      

 

Working from home

This is a difficult moment in the world; but now with vaccines on the way, hopefully things are looking up. Previously I shared my experiences cooking and innovation during the pandemic.  Six months later, we are still working from home. This time I thought I’d explore what I’ve learned while working from home during the global pandemic.

For one, digital fluency has increased. We have all learned how to host online virtual “lunch & learns.”  I have hosted many virtual L & Ls on solid-liquid filtration, process drying, and critical applications. Contact me if you are interested in an online program. I also recorded myself giving a presentation I had hoped to give live at AICHE in Fall 2020.

All this virtual meeting helped me learn how to focus the conversation. My skills have improved in asking critical questions leading to optimized decision-making. These conversations force everyone to focus on the task at hand, be clear about objectives, and dig deep to get the answers.

Finally, I have learned to read eyes. In the past, when speaking with clients you could see everyone’s body language. This could help determine the direction of the meeting. Now, with video calls you have to pay more attention to eyes: How are they gazing, where are they looking, are they blinking, etc. All this provides clues about the interaction’s success.   

Working from Home & The Day Ahead

Time management is also something that I’ve been improving on daily. Even though I’m not going into the office, I try to look at the week and block out meetings, real work, and daily exercising/yoga. I’ve started using the Pomodoro Technique. This time management method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a timer (real or virtual) to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Knowing that I am only working on that item for a particular amount of time has improved my focus and increased my productivity.

I’ve also taken to finishing the day by wrapping up certain tasks, writing down the unfinished tasks, and filling in my work plan which keeps tracks of my hours and habits. This helps me create a boundary between work and my personal life since I’m no longer driving home and unwinding. Of course, my five minutes of yoga breathing/meditation at the work day’s end also helps.  

I’m sharing all of this in the hopes it might help you too as we continue to work remotely. Stay safe. I look forward to traveling and meeting with you again. Contact me if I can help with your individual objectives and unique challenges.


Winterization Process Options for Cannabinoids

winterization process options cannabinoids
https://hms.harvard.edu/news/unraveling-cannabinoids

As a member of the Board of Directors of Nectar Health Sciences, I have the opportunity to work with a team of experienced scientists and industry experts dedicated to commercializing a unique and patent-pending cannabinoid isolation technology. Nectar, is a privately-owned cannabinoid isolation and extraction company, with a technology that isolates cannabinoids to >99% purity. This blog, though, will focus on winterization process options for cannabinoids.

According to Lo Friesen's recent article, Methods and Advancements in Wax Fractionation from Cannabis Extract, there are more than 400 chemical compounds in the cannabis. While some of these compounds are targeted during extraction, others, such as waxes, are extracted alongside the targeted compounds. Plant waxes are composed of a variety of compounds, such as fatty acids, hydrocarbons, esters, lactones, and alcohols. Most plants, including cannabis, produce waxes that exist on the plant’s surface. The cannabis wax layer is easily soluble in many solvents used for cannabis extraction. While waxes prove to be useful to plants, they are often an undesirable by-product of extraction methods. Waxes dramatically impact the viscosity as well as the complex chemical profile of cannabis extract.

What does this have to do with Winterization Process Options for Cannabinoids?

The winterization process involves freezing of the solvent-extract solution to facilitate crystallization of the waxes. Here is where it gets more interesting. The question is: how do you remove, through filtration, the wax crystals? This filtration is happening at very low temperatures. Down to -60 degrees C, from the liquid solvent! As you know, this is my area of expertise.  

There are actually several alternatives for this “wax-removal” step. Some producers use a simple manual vacuum “clam-shell” filter. These would be constructed in stainless steel with a vacuum connection. After the filtration, the “clam-shell” is opened and the cake is shoveled out.  

“High-speed” centrifugation is another approach. This is a fully automatic operation. But, depending upon the type of wax, viscosity and particle sizes and shapes, blinding of the filter cloth is a risk.  

Finally, pressure candle filters, with or without the use of filter aids, provide a  solution that is both simple to operate and  forgiving if the waxes become amorphous leading to blinding. For more information, review the BHS website for hemp and cannabis production.  

Conclusion

Currently, hemp and cannabis producers are working towards optimizing operations for cost-effective manufacturing. There are many approaches to winterization of cannabinoids to consider. The strategy selected can impact yield and/or flavor. Ultimately, it will come down to the individual extraction needs and equipment of the company involved. And, of course, testing the alternatives to determine the most effective route for those unique winterization process needs.

Please visit my website at P&ID for further information for various options and process development. I've enjoyed becoming well versed in the cannabinoid and terpenes marketplace technologies from hemp processing to final product. I’m confident that I can help in this industry. But I'm also open to learning about new processing areas too!


Learn Online about Automatic Filtration Technologies

The days away at a conference and travel for work remain curtailed in 2021. Yet, you can still learn online. I’ve partnered with the American Filtration and Separations (AFS) Society to offer a short course March 16. Automatic Filtration Technologies for the Chemical Process Industries draws on my decades experience. I hope you’ll join me!

The AFS course presented live online on Tuesday, March 16, from 9am to 11am CST (UTC -6), will cover automatic technologies designed to help alleviate potential process problems and operator safety concerns.

Relaying my first-hand experience with manual filtration solutions, such as plate filters, bag filters, and filter presses, and making the case for automatic filtration solutions, the course will cover:

  • Process problems related to conventional manual filtration equipment
  • Basics of filtration testing
  • Automatic filtration technologies:  candle filters and plate filters
  • Filter media
  • Filter aids
  • Three case histories from manual filtration equipment to improved automatic filtration systems 

I’ll be targeting my discussion to an audience of process, production, plant and project engineers, safety and reliability engineers, and operations and maintenance staff. If that’s you, please sign up for the course!

Automatic Filtration Technology Explained

With over 38 years of technical engineering and business marketing experience in the field of solid-liquid separation including filtration, centrifugation, and process drying, I’ve published and presented extensively worldwide on applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy/environmental industries. You can also gain some insights into automatic filtration technology in my Solid Liquid Filtration Handbook. And keep an eye out for a second book I’m editing for Elsevier, Integration & Optimization of Unit Operations, to be published in 2022.

During the course, I’ll also share case studies illustrating existing problems and the improvements experienced with automation filtration. Ultimately, I want you to leave my course understanding process problems. Especially related to conventional filtration equipment and the value of testing for and installing the best candle or plate filter. The actual case histories exploring real life process problems help drive the lessons home.

Go ahead and register! I look forward to an interesting online discussion of filter tech in CPI. If you can’t make the course, please know I’m available to work on your chemical process industry and automation filtration technology concerns here at P&ID too.


Project Planning Success Factors & Yoga

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Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Researchers often examine project planning success factors. Everyone wants to know how to run a successful project. Decision-making, budgets, schedules, startup and troubleshooting all matter of course. To me though the most important factor is planning. Now, the question is, how does that relate to yoga?
As most of my readers know, I practice yoga routinely, at least 3 times per week or more, depending on where I am in the world. This article intertwines my yoga practice with essential project planning success factors. I hope the discussion will help you.
Sun Tzu dedicated the first chapter of “The Art of War” to assessing the situation, planning, and decision-making.  A plan does not guarantee success, but having a plan will help. Yet there are other key factors to consider.

Project Planning Success Factors

Preplanning objectives.

One important factor of project planning success is preplanning the objectives. Project goals are defined in this step. For filtration process engineers sample objectives might be increased production, improved quality, or debottlenecking. This establishes the high level vision for the project.
Similarly, in yoga, you have to take a moment to set an objective. In yoga, every practice starts with an intention. Your intention can be patience, breathing, calmness, etc.  

Gathering technical input.

After preplanning, the project team will identify the key people needed for project success. This could include engineers, technicians, and operators. Gathering technical input will include soliciting necessary expertise in electrical, mechanical, and construction areas of the project. 
A yoga practice has a similar information gathering phase. There are many types of practices (vinyasa, Baptiste Power, ashtanga, etc.) temperatures, yogis, and studios.  Finding the right one for you is key to the success of the practice.

Optimizing information.

Having gathered information and expertise, it’s time to optimize information through data collection and goal alignment. In this phase, the work begins in earnest to identify vendors, conduct test work, obtain quotes, drawings, P & IDs and more.  With this optimized information the goals and milestones can be defined such as energy savings, improved quality, debottlenecking or a new process development.  
In yoga, I would call this the discipline and focus phase of your practice.  Others may say that this is the process of yoga.  

Scrutinizing Scope.

In the beginning of the project, the scope may not be well defined. There may not be a set budget.  Now, though, the project enters value-engineering. The scope and financials must be scrutinized to develop more cost-effective alternatives.  
We might relate this need for financial adaptability to the flexibility you’re achieving with yoga. Yoga helps your body to become more flexible. 

Finalizing Good Decisions.

The project eventually must freeze the design. This can be one of the more difficult phases. Finalizing decisions may lead to disappointments. However, for an on-time and within budget project, this is the sine qua non of the work.
This is comparable to the discipline both required by and gained during yoga. Yoga isn’t something you do one time to reach your physical goals. Nor is business something you do for an hour a day or just once a week to be successful. Both take practice and discipline.

Better Business & Yoga

Summarizing, business and yoga are more intertwined than one might think. It doesn’t hurt that yoga can also help you relieve the stress or project planning. With yoga you can calm the mind of your life and business worries. Yoga seeks Upeksanam, which means equanimity, a ”mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situations.”
Do you practice yoga? How does it impact your business and project planning success? I’m a big believer that the two together can provide a framework for productivity, efficiency and personal and business growth. 


business consulting

Business Consulting Takes Me into New Year

business consulting
Pixabay image

It’s 2021. A new year! Many of us look at the arrival of January on the calendar as a time to make changes. I look at it as a time to reflect. This year, it’s also an opportunity to anticipate a new chapter in my career.

After 20 years at BHS, I am transitioning in December 2020 to start my own business consulting company, P&ID, PERLMUTTER IDEA DEVELOPMENT LLC. Tom Adams, after 19 years with De Dietrich Process Systems, joined BHS as its new President & Managing Director. 

Of course, I couldn’t quite cut all ties. In addition to P&ID, I will continue to consult for BHS over the next year. So, you can continue to contact me via BHS.

Reflecting on Time at BHS

Looking back  on my time with BHS, and the many worldwide customers I had the pleasure of assisting over the years, I am truly grateful to every one of you who allowed me to assist you year after year. Through hard work and long hours, I met a personal goal to make every contact with you an informative and productive experience.

We built relationships, and more importantly friendships, over all these years. These relationships kept me striving to make sure you receive the best possible service from BHS, whether it was your first PLF test, first purchase or repeat purchase.

Business Consulting for New Ideas & Innovation

Regular readers of my blog know how enthusiastic I am about innovation and creativity. Well, my new business venture will embody that spirit. My consulting company,  Perlmutter Idea Development (P&ID), will work with both business clients for sales and marketing strategies and operating companies with solid-liquid separation needs as well as process development needs with industry partners.

Drawing on my breadth of experience at BHS and beforehand, as well as relying on the network of experts I have cultivated over my nearly four decades in business, I will focus on providing the business and process development, leadership, technical or sales and marketing support you deserve. 

And don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my thoughts via my blogging. Plus, you can continue to follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Don’t think of this as goodbye; it’s more a change of address. I look forward to staying in touch and doing all I can to support you with my new venture.