Many processes in the chemical industries – these include pharmaceuticals and cosmetics – implement a batch reactor. Still, even in the large facilities, chemical procedures are similar to those in a laboratory. Reagents flow together in a reactor, but do not immediately blend smoothly. The reactor then holds various concentrations of individual components (concentration hotspots) of varying temperatures (thermal hotspots). Experts speak of a reduced process control.
To ensure the most efficient use of raw materials and energy in chemistry, this process control must be improved. Chemists and engineers at Ehrfeld Mikrotechnik BTS GmbH in Rhine-Hessian Wendelsheim have developed their own system in which chemical reactions are controlled much more effectively. The Modular Micro Reactions System, MMRS, comprises several components, through which the reagents flow in tiny channels. The small stainless steel components take on differing roles, including mixer, heat exchanger or sensor. The centerpiece of the structure is a special reactor, known as the Lonza reactor. This reactor accurately carries out a process called lithiation, which is often used in manufacturing active agents for pharmaceutical products. The channels in all components are only a few millimeters in size. This results in a very rapid mass transfer, and the high surface-to-volume ratio allows chemicals to quickly absorb or release heat.
Modular Micro Reactions System not only saves energy; it also requires fewer raw materials. The improved mass transport reduces the occurrence of undesired by-products.