288807 Teaching Product with Process Design

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 12:35 PM
330 (Convention Center )
Warren D. Seider, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

This presentation addresses the challenges in teaching product design with process design.  For the simplest chemical products, i.e., basic chemicals, which are often manufactured as commodities, the design focus is usually on manufacturing efficiency.  Other chemicals involve special properties to meet customer needs.  For these chemical products, the focus is on matching the latest technologies with the voice of the customer; i.e., on product design.

As the field of chemical engineering diversifies, college graduates increasingly become engaged in product design.  Classical process design, which meshes nicely with most core chemical engineering courses, normally provides students with few, if any, product design experiences and perspectives.  For product design, it's often important to find chemicals and chemical mixtures having desired properties and performance.  Often small quantities of specialty chemicals are involved; e.g., pharmaceuticals, requiring the design of multipurpose batch chemical processes.  Often to satisfy customer needs, product design focuses on the 3-dimensional product structure; e.g., LCDs, labs-on-a-chip, colloidal structure, ..., and their more complex process designs. 

In this presentation, approaches are suggested for introducing product design topics while teaching a classical process design course.  Subjects added include the product- and technology-development framework, the innovation map (linking new technologies with customer needs), the Stage-GateTM Product-Development process (Cooper, 2002, 2004), and molecular-structure design; i.e., the identification of molecules that satisfy property specifications for new chemical products.  These and related subjects are interspersed while our students solve process design homework exercises.  Included are an example of configured-consumer product design; e.g., a lab-on-a-chip for high-throughput screening of kinase inhibitors, and an industrial product; e.g., a thin-glass substrate for liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). 

While some groups of 3-4 students solve classical process design projects, others solve product design projects; e.g., to produce encapsulated drugs with controlled release profiles, and to model physical vapor deposition of thin films on integrated circuit substrates (using kinetic Monte-Carlo methods). While our entire senior class is not trained to be expert in each technology platform, each student group learns enough basics from its faculty advisor to work effectively on its product design.

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