Chemical Industry Experience
As an employee of a major international company, in effect as an internal consultant, I had long experience in the Chemical Industry working on problems ranging from molecular diffusion to corporate cash flow.
The range included process dynamics, instrumentation and control, reaction kinetics, metabolic pathways, heat transfer, distillation, resource allocation, capital planning, finance and sector economics.
The common theme was always to develop a quantified, causal model or explanation of behaviour that allowed rational choices in design and decision making.
Many other applications in different industries are also relevant to the chemical industry.
Polymer Making: Fix a polymer reaction's wierd behaviour: McCann uncovered the power of stirring.
Fermentation: Get a biological fermentation process under control. The model showed how to continue production when all might have been dumped.
Cooling Tower Investigate the dynamic behaviour of a system for automated application of corrective chemical treatment to control fouling and biological growth, maintain concentrations of salts in a cooling system
Special Heat exhanger Devise calibration methods and explain dynamic behaviour of a miniature heat exchanger as an (instrument) surrogate for a big one.
Toxic Chemicals Production: Control the flow of toxic gases. Our analysis for resource allocation resulted in a new and valuable method of running the plant.
Air Cooled Extrusion: Design a cooled feed tube for an extrusion process. The design worked well, and our analysis predicted thermal performance to within a few degrees.
Supercritical Fluid Some research work in process dynamics showed up some strange behaviour in heat transfer to a supercritical fluid. Family experience (Via Dr A. D. McCann) extends to supercritical (steam) boilers.
Other problem areas tackled include: distillation, reaction kinetics, control system design. McCann is expert in the behaviour of dynamic distributed parameter systems.
Related Industrial Problems.
Glass Making: Simulate a glass industry furnace forehearth
: McCann provided a working model and eliminated a lot of industrial folklore.
Heat Exchange: Model a heat transfer process taking place on an indexing table for control design.
Web Coating: Understand a new vacuum web coating process. The simulation became the live record of accumulated knowledge. Subsequent work in the vacuum web coating industry has included thermodynamics of evaporation, gas kinetics defining heat transfer, and wrinkling prediction. Some of this has been published
Crimp & Press: Explain why a crimp and press operation did not do what was expected.Our computation of the forces revealed inadequacies in the equipment.
Glass to Metal Seals: Explain unexpected differences between two glass to metal sealing oven (lehr) processes. McCann found explanations in the bubble mobility as the glass softened.
Induction Heating: Fix an RF soldering process. As well as the heat transfer analysis, McCann even had a way of measuring inside the heated part.
Production and Operations (OR).
Instrumentation: Set up on-line instrumentation for electrical testing of explosive devices: McCann designed and proved the methods, the calibration and then the IEEE488 instrumentation.
Helium leak testing McCann explained the performance limits then produced the scheme for set up and calibration of a Helium Leak Testing system at the limits of its capablities.
Optimal Investment: Optimize the use of pallets in an automated factory. Our simulation showed both the best number of pallets and the rules for using them.
Other problem areas tackled include: linear Programming (LP) resource allocation,
Business and Economics.
Finance: Put the long term, corporate Cash Flow into perspective. McCann did, including gearing and project ROI.
Human Resources: Elucidate career development in a major corporation: McCann showed how small changes in corporate growth can magnify or destroy an individual's prospects for promotion.
Other problem areas tackled include: acquisitions, capital planning, resource allocation, patent preparation and circumvention.