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Innovative Process Engineering

Years of hands-on innovative process engineering experience with diverse, hazardous processes give CEI the skills needed for a successful chemical project.

CEI was founded in 1996 to provide chemical processing companies an alternative to typical consulting engineering firms that “repackage” their clients’ own ideas rather than provide fresh, critical thought to their clients’ needs. Since 1996, CEI has expanded the industries it serves to include many chemical, metal, plastics, and other process and manufacturing companies.

The engineers at CEI are familiar with all major unit operations and have all worked in a manufacturing environment for a significant portion of their careers. This gives them a unique customer perspective one can only get from actual plant-operations experience.

The following are common activities our process engineers are involved with:

process engineering

Process Project–Scope Development

Process engineering covers a wide range of areas:

  • Mass Balances

  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Heat Transfer

  • Thermodynamics

  • Solid Dynamics

  • Reactions

  • Process Control

  • Multiprocess System Design

  • Size Reduction

  • Materials of Construction

  • Physical and Chemical Data

  • Sustainability Consideration

  • Storage of Gases, Solids, Liquids

  • Process-Safety Management

  • Operation Performance

  • Process Performance

  • Process Economics

  • Environmental Considerations

Given this wide range of necessary consideration, it is often challenging to determine priorities of what to consider in your process design scope. Creative Engineers, Inc., can collaborate with you, think critically, and develop a process scope and identify the key factors on which to focus. From this, a tactical plan can be developed and executed to investigate the necessary issues.

Whether the optimal process solution is an operational change, a process improvement, a capital deployment for equipment, or an automation upgrade, we can assist. In this regard, we have worked with clients ranging from lab-process scale-up start-ups to large multinational corporations and everything in between.

Process Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting a manufacturing process, be it chemical or other, is a uniquely challenging activity. The ability to study a process and understand the interrelationships of the various steps is a skill that requires experience, creativity, and intuition. While it would seem many people possess this skill, the truth is that this skill is rare.

Creative Engineers only hires seasoned engineers with strong plant backgrounds and strong analytical skills. A number of our engineers have the right skill set to successfully troubleshoot processes.

  • Chemical Manufacturing

  • Minerals and Metals Processing

  • Other Manufacturing Processes

  • Utilities

  • Maintenance Problems 

  • Shutdown/Startup Planning

Three-Phase Approach

Creative Engineers, Inc., believes that a structured approach to engineering challenges provides the best solution for the customer at the lowest level of risk. The company has adopted and implemented a three-phase approach to the majority of the completed projects that have involved delivery of a skid-mounted system or pilot plant. Throughout these three phases, we actively interact with the client for input and feedback, believing that continual dialogue is necessary to achieve optimal results. Generally, while every situation is unique, the structure below has yielded quality results throughout CEI’s history.

CEI believes this phased approach works well because it allows for clear communication of project expectations and requirements prior to either party making a large commitment. The customer is encouraged to contract only Phase 1 initially to validate the companies’ work together in an effective manner.

Phase I

Process Engineering involves information exchange and performing sufficient engineering to develop a piping and instrument diagram (P&ID) and preliminary equipment specifications to define the process to be constructed. This phase defines the process and provides the following deliverables:

  • An initial scope meeting, if necessary

  • P&IDs (schematics including all equipment, valves, instruments, and basic process control)

  • Basic equipment specifications

  • A ±50% constructed-cost estimate

  • A process-review meeting

  • Updated P&IDs based on the review meeting

  • A cost estimate for Phase 2

Phase II

Detailed Engineering provides the details needed for procurement and construction - the detailed engineering with specifications required to secure or manufacture the critical pieces of equipment - and provides the following deliverables:

  • Engineering-review meetings as required

  • Finalized P&IDs

  • Final equipment specifications and/or selections

  • Final instrument specifications and/or selections

  • Preliminary operating procedure

  • Installation drawings (minimum required)

  • Detailed scope of work for the various contractors

  • A ±10% constructed-cost estimate

  • A proposal for CEI to provide a turn-key installation

Phase III

Project Implementation is the actual fabrication/construction of the process unit. This phase would provide the completed system and may include commissioning and startup, depending on customer’s needs. The system may beinstalled at the customer’s site or CEI’s New Freedom, PA facility.


Design for Sustainability

As awareness of the need to preserve our environment and make best use of our limited natural resources has spread, design for sustainability has become the process used by many firms to go beyond their legal obligations by being socially responsible.

The engineers at CEI can assist in this effort by broadening the inputs into design efforts. A broad range of considerations are required to ensure that “design for sustainability” is a fundamental part of your project. As always, the customer creates the goals and objectives of a project; CEI’s role is to bring innovation and creativity to the project to support these goals.

Some of the common principles applied in this concept:

  • Reduce inputs.

  • Use less hazardous inputs.

  • Recycle.

  • Reuse.

  • Manage and optimize packaging.

  • Develop products with lesser environmental impact.

Project Management and Process Development

Project Management

CEI offers many project management services including:

  • Feasibility studies

  • Project scheduling

  • Project cost controls

  • Procurement

  • Automation integration

  • Contractor bid packages

  • Contractor bid evaluations

  • Equipment sourcing

  • Construction management

  • Cost estimates

Process Development

CEI is able to assist companies that need to further develop their processes before moving on to project implementation. Assistance might come in the form of application of early phase chemical-engineering tasks such as mass or energy balances, or it might come in the form of lab- or pilot-scale testing. CEI has a broad range of capabilities to help develop processes or special equipment.

Process Capabilities

Completion of engineering is only the preliminary work for CEI, with all its process capabilities. Our engineers are able to manage the complete construction process for the client.

  • High Temperature (processes to 1000°C and beyond)

  • Ultra High Vacuum (pressures to 10 millitorr, leak rates of less than 10-7)

  • Highly Exothermic Reaction

  • Endothermic Reactions

  • High Pressures

  • High Purity

  • Flammable, Toxic, and Other Hazardous Materials

  • Batch Processing

  • Continuous Processing

  • Water-Reactive Chemicals and Metals - experts in alkali-metal and other water-reactive chemistries

  • Helium-Leak Detection - Trained staffing of our own equipment insures quality control of systems we build.

  • Molten Salts

  • Rare Earth Elements

  • Battery Chemistries

  • Many Other Materials

Pilot Plants

Creative Engineers, Inc., uses a systematic, multi-phase approach to design pilot plants for research and skid-mounted systems for production or operations needs. With a focused effort on your project, we can balance design, cost, schedule, and quality to provide the best value solution.

Pilot Plants - Design, Build, and Operate

  • Design

  • Build

  • Operate

  • Consulting

  • Metal-Halide Reduction

  • Crude-Oil Processing

  • Sodium and Lithium Purification

  • Waste to Energy


Process Engineering

  • Chemical

  • Mechanical

  • Electrical

  • Automation

  • Pigments

  • Defoamers

  • Polymers

  • Metals

  • Minerals

  • Cement

  • Boron

  • Silicon

  • Many Hazardous Materials


Skid-Mounted Systems - Design, Build, and Ship

  • Design

  • Build

  • Ship

  • Metals(Refractory Group)

  • Metals Purification

  • Mineral-Sands Digestion

  • Hazardous Materials


Process Optimization

Incremental Improvements


Incremental improvements are typically smaller in scale and geared to improve efficiency, yield, waste reduction, or labor requirements of other aspects of production costs. These improvements are nomally being sought for minimal capital investment and short payback periods.

The typical approach here is to spend time in the plant gathering data and observing operations, including any off-shifts. With an understanding of the process, the CEI staff will propose options for meeting the stated goals. These options may include changes to the process flow, raw materials, equipment, staffing, operating parameters, in-process testing, or other factors that impede efficient operation.

The focus is usually on minimal capital investment, so cost-effective options are the most desirable and often come from maximizing equipment utilization, including automating key steps.

Revolutionary Advancements

Creative Engineers can also assist your efforts at making revolutionary improvements to your product or process. CEI can help develop idealized solutions or assist in the research necessary to implement a well-conceived development plan. While there is no methodology that is right for all programs, CEI believes a work program tailored to the unique needs of each customer’s program is best.

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