Batch Operation

Definition - What does Batch Operation mean?

A batch operation refers to a procedure or a method in which a quantity of material is processed or treated, usually with a single charge of reactant in a single vessel and often involving vigorous stirring. In the chemical industry it is the operational method of manufacturing products or treating materials in a single charge of raw materials.

Batch operation is preferable for producing small quantities of product. They are very common in pharmaceutical or specialty chemicals production because this operation provides better traceability and flexibility.

Corrosionpedia explains Batch Operation

In chemical batch operations all the reactants (i.e., raw materials) are singly charged (fed) into a reactor vessel or furnace. After charging in a batch, a chemical reaction occurs in the vessel and the final product(s) and byproducts are collected from the reactor. Here, production occurs in time-sequential steps in separate batches. Batch operations can be repetitive to produce large quantities of products.

In petroleum engineering a batch treatment refers to the process for separating an emulsion of crude oil and water into its components.

In chemical processes an operation is one of two types:

  • Batch operation - Used for small-scale productions, such as specialty and fine chemicals production.
  • Continuous operation - Used for large-scale productions, such as commodity chemicals and petrochemicals.

The batch process can be performed in one reactor or in a series of reactors. If more than one reactor is used then each is for a different step of the process. The quality of the final product is controlled by applying appropriate separation stages between the various steps. Unreacted materials that remain in the reactor vessels are extracted from the reaction mixture and returned for further reaction mixing with new charges.

Disadvantages:

  • Refilling the reaction vessel with more reactants requires cleaning time.
  • Product quality varies from batch to batch.
  • Labor intensive.
  • Less economical than continuous processes.

Advantages:

  • Lower cost.
  • Greater flexibility.
  • A simple reactor is usually sufficient.

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