Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering services to finalize the process design and provide engineering documents for a food additive plant expansion in China.

Project Summary


The client is a privately-owned firm that manufactures a wide variety of food and pharmaceutical-grade products.  Recently the client decided to investigate increasing their manufacturing capabilities in China with the addition of a new production line for the batch-wise manufacture of multiple food-grade nutritional supplements. Using in-house engineering resources, the client generated a preliminary documentation package that included a building layout, Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs), raw material and finished product mass balances, batch cycle times, utility requirements, and an equipment list.  In order to facilitate the hiring of a Chinese engineering firm to conduct detailed facility design and construction, Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was asked to update all of these documents, as well as provide detailed Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), datasheets for major equipment, a line list, an instrument list, a specialty items list, and a Process Hazards Analysis (PHA).

The project was particularly challenging due to the aggressive timeline required to meet the client’s overall project schedule which included detailed facility design, construction, and startup.  A process design basis was the first deliverable generated in order to establish in written form the critical performance and design requirements for the building, production processes, and utilities.  A key client objective for this facility specified by the process design basis was acceptance under Food Safety System Certification 22000, which will result in facility compliance with the Global Food Safety Initiative.  Once facility requirements were established, plan and elevation sketches were generated for the building layout.  As client input was incorporated, the layout sketches were optimized with respect to segregation of raw materials and finished goods, amount of area available for storage, handling, and processing of raw materials and finished goods, and the “flow” of materials and personnel within the facility.

Client-supplied PFDs were updated to reflect metric units wherever possible and also to include mass and energy balances and batch cycle times.  Initial cycle time information provided by the client was verified using the results of heating and cooling calculations executed by PROCESS, which resulted in heating and cooling time requirements and utility usages for each of the products to be manufactured based on batch size, batch physical properties, and agitation parameters.  The heating and cooling calculations were based in part on raw material heat transfer properties estimated by PROCESS using its licensed commercial computer process simulation software and were used in the generation of a report that summarized utility requirements for all products and batch sizes. The heating and cooling calculations were also used to calculate cycle times for the various products, with the calculations being summarized in a Cycle Time Report.

Detailed P&IDs were generated based on client input and information available from the PFDs, as well as good engineering practices for processing food grade materials.  The P&IDs conformed to client standards for P&IDs wherever possible, except that units of measurement were given in metric instead of English units to help simplify the transition to the Chinese staff.  The P&IDs generated included schematics for product mixing vessels, bulk storage for key raw materials, and equipment for supply of steam, purified compressed air, potable water, and deionized water.  Once detailed P&IDs had been generated, a PHA was conducted for the proposed facility.  The results of the Process Hazards Review were summarized in a report issued to the client.

Equipment datasheets were generated for mixing vessels, agitators, pumps, filters, and floor scales and included mechanical information necessary for procurement of equipment that would meet Good Engineering Practices (GEP) for processing food grade materials, as well as typical mechanical details for equipment providing heating and cooling of materials while under pressure.


Industry Type

  • Food & Beverage

Utilized Skills

  • Process plant layout
  • Detail process design

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