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Batch or continuous? This methodology can help making the decision

By Paul Grad |

So far, there is no high-level evaluation that gives a simple guideline on the benefits and feasibility of converting a batch to a continuous process. Now a group from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR; Singapore; www.ices.a-star.edu.sg) has developed a practical methodology that enables a process-development team to evaluate its existing batch process holistically. This can be especially valuable for fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries that might want to look into the possibility of achieving step-change improvements in an existing process to address cost and regulatory concerns. The group’s proposed methodology consists of three stages: initial screening, extended evaluation and process execution. The initial screening aims to uncover key business requirements and potential pitfalls, such as sticky reagents, with simple yes/no/maybe evaluations. Successful candidates are then broken down into flowchart analysis that identifies issues such as possible equipment and control schemes. If the analysis makes economic sense, a final stage of process execution is put in place. The A*STAR group has applied its methodology to three reactions with fairly complex molecules that have been operated in the group’s…
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