Engineer Checklists and Learning from Apollo

Recently, I discussed the five management lessons that we can learn from the Apollo lunar landing in 1969. Continuing on this theme, an article in The Chemical Engineer, “Houston-We have a checklist” a UK magazine that I write for, had an interesting take on the lunar landing and engineer checklists.  I was intrigued, of course, as I periodically invoke Sherlock Holmes and the benefits of checklists for testing, analysis, etc.    The magazine article, written by Mark Yates, looks at the…


API filtration technologies

Weighing Alternative API Filtration Technologies

Image source: Google images Being a process engineer is all about making choices. When it comes API filtration technologies, many different types of equipment can be used for removing catalyst residues. While conventional filtration equipment is operated manually, I recently worked with PharmTech on an article outlining how both candle filters and pressure plate filters are operated as automated systems. This article reviews what we discussed. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are increasingly…


Clear thinking about automated clarification technologies

Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com This is an edited version of an article I wrote for The Chemical Engineer. I hope you enjoy this take on automated clarification technologies. Throughout my career in the solid-liquid separation market space, I have seen some interesting solid-liquid separation solutions. At one melamine resin facility, the slurry was in a formaldehyde process. The operators were wearing masks, opening up a manual plate filter in a room with residential floor fans, to dig out…


P&IDs and Process

P&IDs and Process Evolution

P&IDs are par for the course in process engineering. Recently, I was poring over P&IDs and process planning for several projects. Each project was multinational, multicultural, and extremely complex. For one specialty chemical filtration application, part of a plant expansion in the southern United States, the engineering company is in the Southeast while the existing processes were from the Netherlands and Austria. In another project, with a similar scope, the plant expansion and the…


filter aids

Troubleshooting Filter Aids and Filtration Systems

  Cellulose filter: Imerys Filtration Minerals Inc. Filter aid pretreatment can improve filtration properties and efficient removal of fine solids. Whether the filter aids are used in Plate-and-frame filter presses, horizontal and vertical pressure leaf filters, candle or tubular filters, Nutsche filters, or rotary vacuum drum filters, these practical tips can help this part of the process run smoothly. We typically see diatomite, perlite and cellulose filter aids today. They meet the…