The 2019 Chem Show welcomed attendees from across the CPI in search of new products and applications to improve the quality, safety and processes of manufacturing.  The event, held at the Javits Center in New York City October 22-24, brought together plant managers, executives, engineers, equipment manufacturers and other industry personnel across a broad range of chemical process industries (CPI) for three days of exhibition. The Show floor, seminar program, new equipment technology theaters and trend discussions gave attendees and exhibitors a glimpse into the future of processing technology via the Show floor booth displays, as well as shared learning of new ways to optimize plant operations.
“The CPI is in a state of change. There are new emissions regulations, new markets as well as new processing needs within existing markets, and improvements to methods that help us understand and analyze collected data through the IIoT and more,” said Mark Stevens, Manager of the Chem Show. “The Show floor this year was a great testament to the importance of continued dedication in the areas of safety, optimization, new market tracking, globalization and trends.  Conversation between attendees and exhibitors reflected growing consideration of these changes and their potential to affect the way we do business in North America and across the globe.”
Exhibitors and visitors alike were eager to discuss collaborations to solve new and old process issues. Hundreds of exhibitors brought new equipment and application processes to the Show floor, giving visitors an inside look at solutions that span across multiple markets.
“Attending events like the Chem Show gives the opportunity to see what’s new in the industry, to discover things that I wouldn’t otherwise know exist,” said Iryna Zender, Engineer at SIKA USA. “It is a great place to interact with others in the industry and to see what they are doing in their respective industries that might also be relatable and adaptable to initiatives in our facility.”

A Look Ahead in the CPI

The 2019 Chem Show Seminar Program presented industry decision makers with opportunities to stay updated on the latest information across the multiple markets that make up the CPI. Presenters from various processing disciplines spoke on best practices and topics that informed on regulation changes, equipment optimization and new or improved product and process applications.
Over the course of the three day Show, exhibitors hosted 41 Product & Technology Presentations to discuss practical challenges that occur in daily practice, as well as new process and best practice information made available through new product launches.
In a densely attended session put on by Robatel, Inc. attendees learned about cannabinoid extraction purification, a newer market to the CPI that is quickly progressing due to changing laws and regulations relating to cannabis production. In the session, Roger Morin, Engineered Product Application Manager, discussed Robatel’s modern approach to obtaining pure fractions of cannabinoids using their Fast Centrifugal Partition Chromatography (FCPC) process, including optimized extracts containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabigerol (CBG), and respective isomers, and how these pure fractions can be obtained in semi-prep, preparative, and production quantities.
Two industry trend discussions were added to the 2019 Seminar Program, including a discussion on job force recruitment and training tools, plus another on the CPI in a circular economy. In a Tuesday session hosted by Robert Bozic of Columbia University, visitors learned about a competitive process safety chemical engineering exercise using simulators as a means to educate students. The dynamic competition model is meant to provide educational experience via computer simulation.
On Wednesday, Anthanasios Bourtsalas, Vice President of Research, Development and Deployment at Global Waste to Energy Research Technology (WTERT), spoke to the current trend of transitioning industrial processes from the traditional linear model to a circular economy approach where recovery of material waste, such as energy and fuel, provide benefits to sustainability and other considerations within a circular economy.
In addition to the seminar sessions, attendees took advantage of the chance to meet 1:1 with exhibiting companies from around the globe. Attendees had the opportunity to speak directly to product experts, many who designed and/or built the equipment on display, ask specific questions to address issues they are facing and find ways to customize products to meet their production needs. Attendees noted the unique opportunity presented by the Chem Show to find solutions through cross-market exploration.
“The Chem Show draws a very targeted audience, most of whom come here in search of a vendor to support a specific need,” said Fran Job, Technical Sales Manager at Bronkhorst USA. “The quality of conversation at the Show is fantastic — one day on the floor is akin to making a dozen sales calls. It would take me a week on the road to accomplish what I can at the Show because the leads are already qualified. Exhibiting pays for itself, as I always leave with deeper connections and customers ready to do business.”

The CPI Looks to Innovation

Chemical Engineering Magazine acknowledged finalists for the 45th Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award. In special presentations held at the Chem Show on Wednesday, October 23rd, finalists were invited to discuss their noteworthy innovations and successful commercializations. Companies representing finalist innovations aim to improve the future of chemical processing and show the future of the CPI firsthand.
This year, six finalists and one Award Winner were recognized. LanzaTech took home the 2019 award for its Gas Fermentation Technology. The process converts carbon-rich gas streams to products using proprietary microbes that feed on gases rather than sugars found in traditional fermentation. Initial assessments conducted by third-party representatives indicate more than a 70% reduction in greenhouse-gas-emissions compared to similar products from fossil carbon. Five Honor Awards were also presented to innovative technologies,  including  Braskem,  Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, Johnson Matthey, Reliance Industries and TechnipFMC.
Additionally, shifts toward a more digital CPI were evident on the Show floor. Exhibitors included equipment manufacturers displaying equipment fully-enabled with online capabilities and data collection. The IIoT continues to shape the future of the industry with smarter and more refined information from production cycles.
“I have seen a large increase in the request for data collection in process controls. My thought is that this is a result of the NFPA 99 health care facilities code and the FDA CFR Title 21, as well as advancements in technology,”  said Daron Boyd, Marketing and Business Development at Genesys Controls Corporation. “A year and a half ago there were few requests for data collection, whereas today we are seeing an increase of at least 20% for these requests. It seems to span many industries — Pharma to Oil and Gas and even in to mining and aggregate production. Most of these industries are looking for reporting on efficiency, safety and quality in relation to manufacturing, stoppage, shutdown, temperature change etc. The capture of this type of information and deeper understanding of the data will continue to be important and will ultimately help us improve overall processes across many industries.”
“Many professionals in the CPI already have data collected in some form, but not all know where to start when looking to optimize and use it to improve their processes,” said John Cox, Principal Analytics Engineer at Seeq Corporation. “Essentially, they have all the numbers and data already captured but find themselves lost on first steps on how to plug into what it all means. They already see the value proposition in being able to analyze it at deeper levels and to take those findings to improve what they’re already doing. And most discover pretty quickly that it is worth the investment because it will pay you back in process improvements.”
Exhibitors and attendees can stay tuned to industry news and updates leading up to the next Show, which will take place in the Fall of 2021. For more information, visit www.chemshow.com.