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Modular Process Case Studies

Blending System Design/Build Project Allows Client to Be First to Market with New Product


batch mixing systemA condensed project timeline was achieved through Front-End Engineering, modular process design/build and project collaboration.

Batch mixing systems
Packaging line integration
Raw materials system

CLIENT: Fortune 500 Company
INDUSTRY: Consumer products: Laundry detergents

KEY FEATURES

    • New laundry detergent product line with formula change and packaging upgrade
    • Raw materials pre-mix skid, full blending system, and process/packaging integration
    • Condensed two-month timeline from first purchase order to completed commissioning
    • Wonderware HMI and Controllogix PLC integration

 

Batch tanks for mixing system shipsCORE CHALLENGES

    • Compressed (client-specified) timeline essential to beat competitors to market with new product
    • Budgetary constraints
    • Small space available for skid and limited doorway clearance for installation
    • Management of direct hire mechanical, thermal and electrical craftsmen

 

FRONT-END ENGINEERING

EPIC started with a simple Process Flow Diagram (PFD) provided by the client. A turnkey quote included:

    • New batch blending system on a modular process skid
    • Raw materials pre-mix process skid
    • Packaging integration
    • Design, fabrication, assembly, integration and installation of the entire project

 

EPIC was awarded the job due to our condensed time frame and efficient engineering and fabrication techniques. Once the purchase order was cut, EPIC began work on the following project elements:

    • Process engineering
    • Equipment specifications
    • Physical design
    • 3D modular process design models
    • Fabrication and assembly schedules
    • Coordination of on-site preparations with on-site renovations contractor
    • Hiring and managing mechanical, structural and thermal field crews

 

EPIC’s Proven Solution

mixing system assemblyEPIC built and assembled all the modular skids in our State-of-the-art fabrication shop, allowing for secrecy of the new product and higher quality methods of construction.

Our experienced project engineers and manufacturing crew met the challenge of finishing the project on schedule. They worked overtime to provide the client with their project in the compressed timeframe. The client collaborated with EPIC personnel at our shop during fabrication to make adjustments and check progress.

Both skids were designed to fit into very small factory footprints within the manufacturing facility. This was a major concern during skid design, along with the narrow doorway through which the systems had to be delivered. Piping organization was simplified on the blending skid so that raw material connection points attached to the skid at the same point for easy maintenance and change-out. Both skids were delivered pre-wired and ready for utilities hook-up.

The main batch manufacturing process skid pipes in raw materials from approximately fourteen different sources and was installed upstream of the mix tank. EPIC programmed a series of valves, pumps and mixers to follow a batch sequence and mix the product.

The raw materials pre-mix skid provides two powdered fragrances and one dye to the blending skid. Two totes are permanently mounted to the top of the modular skid. Totes containing raw perfume materials are delivered to the facility and then stacked on top of the permanent totes. The perfumes are gravity feed into the bottom tote and directly fed through piping to the mixing skid. The bottom half of the skid contains a system for acquiring dye from a 55-gallon drum, diluting it with glycol, and piping it to the mixing skid.

raw materials skid for mixing systemA piping system connects the raw materials from the pre-existing areas to a new production area. Heat tracing, loading calculations and electrical calculations for the entire system were completed by EPIC. The blending system is linked to the packaging area. EPIC integrated the packaging equipment to ensure a high-level of communication and data acquisition for the in-plant OEE system. The line also features a truck unloading and ingredient delivery system.

A batching control system was programmed by EPIC to carefully control the blending system. This integrated system meters ingredients based on a recipe designed by the client. As ingredients are added into the mix tank, flow meters measure the exact amount of ingredients. The weight of the tank is monitored with a weigh scale to confirm the change in tank weight matches the amount of ingredient measured by the flow meter. These fail safe methods ensure the system achieves accurate mixing.

The client required a second flow meter of a different measuring technology also be installed in the system. The two flow meters had to measure the same amount of flow, within a client-specified percentage, to ensure accuracy of the measurement.

A weigh scale and pump on the raw materials skid meters the dye and powdered raw materials for the blending skid. The main control panel is located on the blending skid and communicates with a junction box on the raw materials skid. A Wonderware HMI is located in control room that connects with a Controllogix PLC controller.

A third modular skid was added at the end of the project to bring a process in-house to the customer’s manufacturing facility. This skid allows a powdered ingredient raw material to be added to the blending system and clearly separate the new detergent process from the liquids mixing operations within the manufacturing plant. A new 10,000 gallon tank was added to the existing raw materials tank farm to further clarify this split. A hoist lifts supersacks to the second floor, where they gravity drain into a tank. Another product is added to liquidate the raw powder, which is constantly agitated during liquidation. The fluid is pumped through piping to the mixing skid. Filters refine the product quality and reduce clumping.

From the first purchase order to commission, the entire system was completed in two months. The completed skids could be immediately used upon installation, providing an instant change in the manufacturing plant. The quick completion schedule allowed the company to be first to market with a new competitive product.

mixing system installIMPACT

    • The client was first to marketing with a new, competitive product, due to EPIC making the condensed deadline
    • The existing liquid process was clearly separated from the detergent production creating the independent manufacturing environment for the new product desired by the client
    • The client was able to fit the new systems into existing space without having to suffer additional costs for expansion
    • The automated blending skid ensured product accuracy and consistency

 

WHY EPIC MODULAR PROCESS?

A process design firm helps you design, fabricate and integrate an appropriate process solution that improves your manufacturing process. EPIC believes we can help you “Do It Better” by:

    • Utilizing Front-End Engineering to ensure that the proper steps are taken during project scope development
    • Designing most process systems as modular skids, which often save time and money, creating a more efficient solution.
    • Applying our plant engineering experience to assist clients in identifying needs, pinpointing objectives and providing the most appropriate manufacturing equipment
    • Maintaining an open door client policy to promote innovation. We invite clients to visit EPIC to experiment with new processes, technologies and techniques that push the limits of traditional engineering.
    • Imparting a transfer of knowledge (not just a basic training) for the systems and equipment we provide
    • Appointing a single point of direct contact during the entirety of the project

 

To learn more about batch manufacturing systems or line integration servicescontact an engineer today.

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