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One of the main factors in efficient production in an industrial setting is fine-tuning the process. Company leaders may believe a certain product progression is required, but a closer examination reveals that it ultimately creates a bottleneck and decreases efficiency. Process engineering seeks to alleviate this problem and get production back on track. This article explains the concept and how it can benefit any business.

What is Process Engineering?

Process engineering is a wide-ranging discipline that encompasses engineering factors in a large variety of industries. It is the examination of the different elements that go into production with the goal of finding the most efficient way to establish the process. Process engineering considers the product design process, the production plan, the process control and its optimization.

How Long Have Companies Been Using Process Engineering?

Businesses in all sectors have been using process engineering for centuries. Humans have always sought to get more output while investing less time and labor. As a specific engineering discipline, process engineering dates to the 1960s, when the term was first used at a 1961 symposium hosted by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Today, process engineering is employed by companies across the globe to increase efficiencies. Research and application experimentation is ongoing in diverse countries, including China, Japan, Germany, the United States and throughout the United Kingdom.

What Factors Are Considered in Process Engineering?

Process engineering goes deeper than just analyzing workflow. It delves into physical, biological and chemical processes as well. When computer-regulated systems are a major part of the production equation, the discipline is called process systems engineering.

What Are the Key Areas That Will Be Examined?

There are four main focuses that fall under the process engineering umbrella, and which of the four that are used in any given analysis will vary depending on the industry.

  • Process Design – This part of the analysis focuses on the process and how it was set up. If there are inefficient parts of the process or poor structural elements in place, these will be replaced with improved components that work better in the overall process.
  • Process Operations – Engineers here are focusing on the actual production and how it executed. The key is increasing efficiency while reducing waste, sticking to schedules and maximizing the current beneficial parts of the process.
  • Process Control – The concentration in control is on analyzing the reliability of the process. The goal is to achieve dependable, consistent operations using a variety of tools.
  • Supporting Tools – Process engineers may use ancillary tools to support the production process. These may be things such as global optimization, sequential modular simulation or large-scale nonlinear programming.

Which Industries Have Been Affected by Process Engineering?

Here are some of the sectors that have benefited most from investing in process engineering:

  • Biomedical, biotech and pharmaceutical
  • Textiles
  • Petrochemical and refining
  • Food production and processing
  • Transportation

What Are the Benefits of Process Engineering?

Process engineering can eliminate inefficient steps, increase production safety and improve speed, among other benefits. This increased efficiency can lead to better products and reduced costs.

Process engineering was among the first services Polaris offered, and it continues to be an integral part of the company’s offerings. Polaris looks forward to bringing the most cutting-edge process engineering tenets to its clients as the field continues to evolve.

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