The commercialization process often reminds me of the movie Groundhog’s Day. You take the same product produced at the bench and expect the large-scale product to be exactly the same, but instead, the product comes out slightly different time and time and time again. Scaling up the product is the last but very crucial step of the commercialization process. It can be very complex and challenging to figure out how to make the formulation and the plant unit operations work together to obtain the same key product attributes obtained at the small scale. Heat transfer and mixing are two phenomena that greatly affect scale up because volume and surface area do not increase proportionately. As the scale increases in a cooking step, the amount of product that needs to be heated increases with the volume whereas heating surfaces increase by the square. Similarly, as the scale increases, rotating mixing equipment imparts more shear as tip speed increases. If your product is shear sensitive, the product attributes will change as the production size gets larger. These are just a few principles needing to be considered during the scale up production phase. Maybe some Merlin Magic expertise can help you lessen your “Groundhog Day” effect for a more successful start-up.
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Image Courtesty of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service