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Scaling Batch Processes

How to Develop Flow Processes

| Author / Editor: Charlotte Wiles, Michael Seipel / Doris Popp

Designing the Reaction

Once a series of reaction conditions have been identified on Labtrix, they can be transferred to KiloFlow in order to produce the required volume of material. KiloFlow is a flow platform which contains glass meso-scale flow reactors enabling the user to perform synthetically demanding, and often forbidden, transformations at scale in a rapid and flexible manner. KiloFlow is unique as it offers rapid mixing (ms range), excellent heat transfer and a wide (metal free) thermal operating range. With production volumes flexibly determined by the number of reactors housed within a tubeless holder, KiloFlow affords access to materials at throughputs ranging from g·h-1 to tonne·annum-1 in a modular platform capable of growing at the speed your development requires.

Scalable Flow Systems

Mixing is an important part of synthetic processes and is known to affect both the rate and selectivity of chemical transformations; consequently, it is essential that the mixing type and time is maintained when translating processes from micro- to meso-scale reactors. By employing staggered oriented ridge mixers (SOR) in both the micro- and meso-channel reactors, it has been shown, using the ‘Fourth Bourne’ reaction [2, 3] that the reactor volume can be scaled from 1 µl to 6.5 ml with no loss of mixing efficiency. This observation confirms that researchers can use Labtrix in early stage development, where materials and time are both limited and then scale successful processes to KiloFlow with confidence; without the need for re-optimisation, once more material is required.

In addition to mixing, thermal management is important in maintaining product quality when performing reactions at an increased scale. Within KiloFlow, this is achieved in the production units by employing reagent pre-heating, via heat exchange modules, which ensure that reagents are at the reaction temperature ahead of mixing, with thermal regulation of the reactor contents achieved using integrated heat exchangers. Pre-heating and thermal control is provided by a process thermostat, Lauda Integral XT 150, which pumps regulated fluid through the glass heat exchangers over a reactor thermal range of -40 to 195 ºC.

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