Dr Rubinah Chowdhary Presents at the Chemicals Northwest ‘Boosting Productivity’ Conference

October 5th 2016

Dr Rubinah Chowdhary Presents at the Chemicals Northwest ‘Boosting Productivity’ Conference

The Chemicals Northwest (CNW) Fourth Annual Conference was held at Daresbury Laboratories, on the 29th September. The focus of the day was ‘Boosting Productivity’, aimed at addressing factors impacting on productivity in the chemical industry.

chemicals-northwest-chemical-industry-ukDr Rubinah Chowdhary, Quat-Chem’s Scientific Director was approached by CNW to present at the conference. Quat-Chem was founded in 1996, drawing its name from the manufacture of the Quaternary Ammonium Compound, Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC). BKC has an exceptionally wide range of industrial applications, the highest volume of users being in the manufacture of disinfectants and in the oilfield sector.

Quat-Chem operated a batch process for the manufacture of BKC. The reaction is exothermic, but requires activation energy to initiate the reaction. The subsequent release of energy needs to be managed and tightly controlled using effective cooling systems. The early BKC manufacturing process was highly energy and labour intensive, which prompted Quat-Chem to begin an improvement project. Dr Chowdhary presented this project as a case study at the conference last Thursday. 

A number of studies began in the laboratories before being scaled up to production levels. Continuous improvement over the years has led to significant process optimisation, which helped the Company achieve a number of its objectives. The environment is a priority for Rubinah, who described how optimisation of operational temperatures can achieve significant reductions in emissions and energy consumed for the heating and cooling processes. Addressing process safety, worker safety and environmental aspects of manufacture are all critical in designing an inherently sustainable process. This can then provide the basis for further productivity related improvements. Dr Chowdhary also discussed the benefits of temperature feedback controls and automation to reduce manual input and reduced batch times to enable batches to be manufactured, quality controlled and dispatched within a working day.

“Significant improvements achieved in overall productivity have allowed the Company to secure a substantial customer-base, as well as supply customers requiring larger volumes of BKC.

“This enables the Company to dedicate more resources to its ongoing research and development activities. Innovation is important to us if we are to distinguish ourselves in the market and stay ahead in the field, particularly with our formulated hygiene products” concluded Dr. Chowdhary.

The CNW conference provided a useful overview of productivity in UK manufacturing industries, how this is assessed and reported, and how the chemical industry, in particular, fares in the current environment. “CNW put together a good event, exploring concepts to address practical issues facing the chemical industry’s performance” said Dr Chowdhary.

 

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