Techno-economic feasibility study is essential for commercialization of any industrial process. Before 1982 BCSIR had no facility to conduct techno-economic feasibility study of the processes developed in its laboratories. The Pilot Plant and Process Development Centre (PP & PDC) has been established in BCSIR to fulfill this important task. The centre has been functioning as a separate unit headed by a Director with two main divisions; the Design and Development Division and the Production and Fabrication Division, which consists of several workshops and sections. The name of the existing workshops and sections are:- (1) Design and drafting section, (2) Machine shop, (3) Feasibility studies section, (4) Pilot plant section, (5) Foundry and pattern shop, (6) Welding and tinsmith shop, (7) Heat treatment shop, (8) Fitting shop, (9) Process optimization section, (10) Electrical and maintenance shop. Besides these workshops and sections there is an engineering store and tools room to store all the necessary accessories required for fabrication of the pilot plant. There also exists an administration wing and account section to assist Director in research, administration and related matters. PP & PDC mainly undertake process development studies as pilot plant to commercialize and optimize the processes developed in different laboratories of BCSIR. It also design and fabricate equipment and machinery for industrial operation or pilot plant study. Activities of PP & PDC is not just confined to pilot plant study as PP & PDC regularly conducts R&D and process development works. Analytical services are also being offered to various private organizations, Government organizations, Bangladesh Army, different industries, entrepreneurs and stakeholders.A good number of MS, PhD students and university faculties conduct their research activities in different labs of PP & PDC. A brief description of the divisions of Pilot Plant & Process Development Centre is given below:
1. DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
1.1 Feasibility Studies Section
Feasibility study is one of the systematic statistical procedures to study the feasibility of different process/project. The main factors for feasibility studies to evaluate technical, marketing and economical viability required for research.
1.2 Process Optimization Section
Process parameters different chemicals are analyzed and PID is developed in this unit through various equipments and process. Oil Extraction process, freeze dryer, Spray dryer, pulverizer, glass line reactor, boiler, mixer, vacuum rotary dryer are present in this unit for different chemical and biological processes. Moreover there are different sizes of reaction vat, size reduction unit (jaw crusher, ball mills, hammer mill etc), filter press, centrifuge etc for providing respective service.
1.3 Pilot Plant Erection and Operation Section
Different type of plant fabrication, fitting, fixing etc can be carried out. All types of welding are carried out in this section.
1.4 Drawing, Drafting and Blue Printing Section
Design and drafting section is one of the important sections of PP & PDC. In this section the fabrication, working and detail drawings with measurements are drawn according to the requirement of erection of the pilot plant.
2. PRODUCTION AND FABRICATION DIVISION
2.1 Machine Shop
Machine shop is one of the largest sections under production and fabrication division of PP & PDC. The main function of the machine shop is to fabricate machines required for the pilot plant study of the commercially feasible developed process and R&D works. All types of machineries, spare parts, and different types of dice are fabricated here. Different types of lathe machines, milling machines, shaper machines, drilling machines, pantograph and CNC vertical machine is available in this lab to conduct different sort of parts and machine fabrication.
2.2 Foundry and Pattern Making Shop
For the preparation of mold both ferrous and non ferrous casting can be carried out in the foundry shop. In the pattern shop pattern of different machine parts can be made skilled person.
2.3 Welding and Tinsmith Shop
All the welding (Arc welding and spot welding up to 3 mm) and gas cutting (Mild steel up to 1") of PP & PDC can be done in this section. Moreover mild steel sheet up to 1" and stainless steel sheet up to 1" can be cut by plasma cutter.
2.4 Heat Treatment Shop
In this section research work on metal treatment, alloy development, refractoriness, composite bio-metallic material and auto spare are carried out. Different types of furnaces, Rockwell hardness tester, Metallographic specimen preparation set up (Cutting, Mounting, Polishing), Wear testing machine, OES, Polarizing microscope, rotational viscometer, DT-TGA (15000C), ABBE refractometer, UV-Visible Spectrophotometer (Thin film attachment), XRD are available in this lab with a huge facility for research work.
2.5 Fitting and Assembling Shop
Assembling of different types of pilot plant units or machine fittings are done in this shop.
2.6 Electrical Maintenance Shop
The functions of maintenance and electrical section are to repair the equipment used for the research work in the laboratories and development equipment of pilot plant and respective services.
FUTURE RESEARCH PLAN....
Development of a small wind generator using local raw materials and technology.
Development of materials for tools.
Development of materials for bio metallic implants.
Development of a process for latex based products using vacuum method.
Development of digital control incubator for poultry hatchery.
Development of micro controller based small scientific instruments.
Development of PLC controlled based industrial automation technology.
Development of PID controller burner for industrial furnace.
Development of alternative source of energy from renewable energy.
Production of pulp from non wood material using bio refinery technology.
THREATS AND CHALLENGES
Currently PP & PDC is facing some challenges which restrains its productivity and research activities. The main challenges are as follows:
Shortage of manpower.
Low financing for research projects.
Low funding for pilot plant study projects.
Linkage between different industries and PP & PDC is not up to the mark due to lack of proper policy.
PROPOSED NEW UNITS
To establish Institute of Material and Metallurgical Engineering.
To establish Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
To establish Institute of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.
To establish Institute of Chemical and Environmental Technology.
To establish Institute of Naval Architecture and Aerospace Technology.