Industrial particulate processes are extremely varied and conventional methods of flowsheeting and process analysis tend to oversimplify and mask real processing problem areas.
The paper presents a method for analysing such systems entitled the Systematic Analysis of Particulate Processes. In this technique, a flowsheet is prepared based upon the experience of the actual particles. Heuristics commonly available to the particulate technology community may then be applied to identify problem areas. Mass and energy balances and economic analysis can then be used to find optimum processing strategies to meet process and product requirements.
The paper presents 2 examples of the application of this technique. A milling process is analysed to produce an ideal milling circuit for a specific situation. A mixing/extrusion process is studied and areas of processing difficulty are identified. Unusual situations are also identified and areas where external expertise must be sought. It is hoped to develop the system into an automated 'expert' system in the future.