Intensified production concepts for specialty chemicals in emerging markets
In order to meet requirements from globalized emerging markets in specialty chemicals – like reduced “time-to-market” – new intensified and flexible production concepts are needed. Within the European Community´s 7th framework program several projects addressed this topic and were accompanied by the major European chemical companies. The paper illustrates the future challenges in fine chemical industry and the role of process intensification and modularization to meet these. The Evonik case study within the F3-Factory project as well as key learnings from other EU funded projects in the context of modularized production like PolyCat and Copiride are introduced.
Market fluctuations, increasing competitive pressure from Asian countries, as well as shorter product life cycles are the new challenges for the European Chemical Industry. In addition, an increasing product diversity can be identified, leading to a shift from classical large-volume chemical bulk products to small- to medium-volume specialty chemicals (see Figure 1).
Currently, chemical production is mainly carried out in two different types of production plants:
- Batch-wise operated multi-product plants
- Continuously operated world-scale plants.
Batch-wise operated multi-product plants are mainly used in the pharmaceutical and specialty chemical industry. This plant type is characterized by its high flexibility in terms both of volume and of product diversity. However, due to their discontinuous operation and the consequent regular cleaning cycles which they therefore require, these plants are inefficient in terms of raw material consumption, utilities and overall equipment efficiency. Batch-wise operated plants also result in higher personnel expenditure.
In contrast, continuously op ...