The CPAC approach is to identify general areas of cross-industry needs and then establish strategic objectives to address them.

Spring 2012 Meeting Image

Spring 2012 Meeting Image

Research Image

Research Image

The Center for Process Analysis and Control (CPAC) was established at the University of Washington in 1984 as an industrial/university consortium with the vision of developing process analytical chemistry as a sub discipline of analytical chemistry. Process analytical chemistry involves sampling techniques, real-time analysis (often involving a variety of measurement science instruments and sensors), and the advanced mathematics (chemometrics) used to evaluate data from the analysis. The broad range of industry and government organizations that have been members of CPAC demonstrates the wide interest in real-time analysis and the resulting data analysis. CPAC is multi-disciplinary, involving faculty from a number of departments in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Forestry, Health Sciences, and the Applied Physics Laboratory. Additionally, in an effort to expand the available academic talent, CPAC has funded projects at 9 different universities over the past decade, with examples and joint presentations of these interactions at the CPAC semi-annual meetings.

The CPAC approach is to identify general areas of cross-industry needs and then establish strategic objectives to address them. Two of the historical industry problem-based objectives have been addressed are: 1) surface and interfacial characterization, and 2) multi-component mixture and multi-phase characterization. The CPAC strategic approach to industry problem areas involves developing versatile analytical systems that are tied to process control technology via effective interpretation of the analytical data.

On-going technology efforts are:

  1. Supplementing traditional laboratory analysis of process stream samples with alternative real-time, on-line instrumental methods with complementary data analysis;
  2. Developing non-traditional measurement techniques that more closely support the operational and control aspects of process monitoring for predicting final product properties relative to more traditional compositional analysis.

Among the recent initiatives are:

New Sampling/Sensor Initiative (NeSSI)

CPAC continues to serve as a focal point for development of the New Sampling and Sensor Initiative (NeSSI) that has become the ANSI/ISA standard 76.00.02 (A10) defining the footprint and flow geometry of components as well as the interconnect specifications that make up the platform. Using NeSSI as a sampling system for traditional process analyzers is now benefiting production operations and is becoming cost effective as more of the ‘NeSSI compatible’ components for sampling systems (e.g., valves, filters, and regulators) are made available.

In addition to improving traditional sampling systems, NeSSI is an ideal template for demonstrating new micro-analytical devices. A NeSSI platform with analytical instrumentation will be valuable for monitoring process streams and a number of laboratory based applications. As micro-analytical technologies are developed or adapted to be NeSSI compatible, the number of potential applications for a portable analytical laboratory on a NeSSI platform should increase markedly. The fact that NeSSI meshes with many MEMS developments allows it to link with High Throughput Experimentation (combinatorial chemistry approaches) and micro-reactor systems for additional process optimization studies.

NeSSI equipped with communication to control system and sensor-actuator managers will help the automation industry adapt to the smaller size and multi-variable capability necessary for emerging micro-sensors to a miniature/modular ‘smart’ manifold. This could fundamentally change the way industry does process development and optimization, as well as process analysis. With continued progress in the development of low power wireless communication it is expected that applications of NeSSI within processes and at remote on-site locations will grow.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The history of NeSSI developments and upcoming related events can be found at NeSSI (http://www.cpac.washington.edu/NeSSI/NeSSI.htm).

The CPAC Summer Institute

Since 1996 CPAC has conducted an annual Summer Institute that has focused on the value of miniaturization of analytical systems. It was predicted that this was the way of the future that would provide the needed flexibility to improve laboratory and process control operations. The CPAC Summer Institute has matured into a venue for gathering engineers, measurement scientists, micro-instrumentation vendors, and data handling specialists for brainstorming on how to merge micro-instrumentation developments with measurement and engineering needs. Recent themes of the Summer Institute have considered how micro-instrumentation can affect High Throughput Experimentation and Process Intensification. Process Intensification has gained importance as a means to reduce capital and operating expenditure. Micro-technology has been shown to be a way of achieving drastic reductions in resource use and waste generation while maintaining productivity as well as product quality.

Information on the upcoming Summer Institute and reports from past Summer Institute sessions can be found on the CPAC web site. A book, based on the topics discussed at the 2004 Summer Institute has been published at the request of John Wiley Publishing Company. (Micro-Instumentation for high Throughput Experimentation and Process Intensification - A Tool for PAT. edited by M. Koch, K. VandenBussche, and R. Chrisman)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please see Summer Institute (http://www.cpac.washington.edu/Activities/SI/si.html).

Micro-Reactor Initiative

High Throughput Experimentation and Process Intensification involve large numbers of small volume samples created for product development and process optimization studies. Combinatorial approaches have shown value in new product leads and now miniaturization of production unit operations is a cost effective way of gathering data for process engineering. The demand for miniaturized measurement devices, scanning sensor devices, and rapid data handling is growing. These analytical tools need to mesh with High Throughput Experimentation platforms as well as micro-reactors and other MEMS based developments. The Micro-Reactor platform is an effective approach because of enhanced mass and heat transfer capabilities.

Chemometrics for On-line Process Analysis (COPA)

This initiative was formed as a partnership between analyzer vendors, chemometrics software vendors, and the manufacturing end-users for assisting the end-users of chemometrics in the appropriate product selection. An industry lead steering team is working with CPAC and used the CPAC web site as a vehicle to document needs and resources for COPA. Periodic status report sessions are held at CPAC member and annual IFPAC meetings.

Bio-Processing Monitoring and Control Initiative

In response to the FDA Guidance on PAT (Process Analytical Technology) there is an increasing need for effective tools for developing and monitoring biological processes such as fermentation. Several CPAC industrial sponsors have assisted CPAC in the selection, operation, and maintenance of a fermentation test bed for the investigation of new measurement instrumentation and data analysis. A variety of measurements have been compared with the tradition instrumentation being applied to present fermentation processes. New sampling technology, including the NeSSI platform is being evaluated on the test bed.