Pilot Plants: Faster, cheaper, better! Some tips.
Pilot plants are often a complex and expensive investment for most process development labs. Furthermore, the array of choices often makes pilot plant projects more challenging than just picking a standard lab equipment model off the shelf. Our team at Amar builds dozens of pilot plants every year.
Hence we thought our readers may find it useful to have some tips that will help in your next pilot plant project.
- Start with a sketch of what you want and contact your vendor as easily as possible. In many cases, people feel embarrassed to contact our technical team since they don't have all the details about what they want to order. This is normal. We are used to this all the time. Your project moves faster if we have an early conversation and we can help you develop your idea. Contact us
Below is an example of some early-stage sketches our team has received in the past. If you have something like this it is already the right time to reach out to us.
- Don't try to over-specify constraints unless you really know what you are doing. For example, do you really know what kind of pump you need? Eg diaphragm, peristaltic, centrifugal, piston, plunger, etc.
If you do not, leave the decision open. A typical vendor seems many more projects and hence can probably guide you toward the right choice. Of course, if you have done past projects and have developed a preference for a particular choice go right ahead and specify.
- As far as possible do not insist on a specific vendor unless you have a very good reason to. We work with several vendors for even items like a pump. If you tell us what you need, we can guide you to the right vendor for a particular application. Not every project needs a Ferrari! (Eeks! Expensive). On the other hand, special applications (e.g. slurries) will often work best with one model or vendor inspite of others claiming their models work as well. As a vendor, we have hundreds of past purchases to advise you beyond OEM vendor claims
- Resist the temptation of feature creep. Do not keep adding features you do not really need. It delays projects and adds costs. It is very tempting to enlarge ranges or turndown ratios or make demands for exotic conditions. But remember you ultimately are paying for such demands. In both time and money.
More tips will follow in part 2 of this post!
Meanwhile, don't wait! Contact us for your upcoming project. Don't wait, the perfect time will never come!