Process design refers to the organization and configuration of food and chemical processes and manufacturing methods needed to transform/convert raw materials into finished products.

Process Design

Also known as process development


What is Process Design?

Process design refers to the organization and configuration of food and chemical processes and manufacturing methods needed to transform/convert raw materials into finished products. Such processes are a sequence of events and steps directed to a specific result.1,2

Processes and manufacturing methods vary according to the composition and nature of ingredients and finished products. Process design takes into account:1,2

  • Unit operations
  • Transport phenomena
  • Process engineering and control
  • Process economics
  • Food safety laws and regulations

How does it work?

Process design focuses on developing a means to manufacture a food product such as baked goods in a given quantity or volume. It involves the selection and sequencing of process steps known by process engineers as unit operations. The purpose of process design is to meet the needs of an industrial plant for economic, smart and sustainable production of goods.

Process design begins with a well-defined product, often available in prototype quantities from research labs. It is intimately related to product and plant design and demand the application of engineering principles and techniques in addition to practical experience.

The following diagram is an illustration of typical process design:3,4,5

The following diagram is an illustration of typical process design

Several tasks are involved in process design which require skilled multidisciplinary teams known as design teams. These teams may be include electrical, civil, chemical, food, mechanical and control engineers.

Tasks/steps of process design:1,5

  • Process flowsheeting for required production, examples include process control diagrams (PCD), process flow diagrams (PFD), process instrumentation and piping diagrams (PID)
  • Identification of unit operations (specific to the plant process requirements)
  • Material and energy (heat) balance (engineering data)
  • Sizing and rating of the required industrial process equipment
  • Capacity analysis
  • Cost of equipment (capital and operational) and utilities
  • Techno-economic, financial and profitability analysis
  • Parametric optimization
  • Environmental analysis

Application

Unit operations are classified according to the type of transport phenomena and belong namely to:

  • Mass transfer
  • Energy (heat) transfer
  • Momentum transfer operations

A unit operation may imply a physical or chemical modification:

  1. Physical modification: size reduction, sieving, mixing, pumping, pneumatic conveying, mechanical conveying, sedimentation, filtration, heating (e.g. baking, frying, extrusion, pasteurization, evaporation, distillation, hot drying), cooling (e.g. refrigeration, blast...

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