3D printing of metal micro flow reactors for DSM.
The collaboration between Melotte & Innosyn® Route Scouting Services, unit of Royal DSM, resulted in the commercialization of 3D printed metal flow reactors.
Beside the unlimited design freedom this technology brings a significant cost benefit.
Flow reactor what?
In flow chemistry, a chemical reaction is run in a continuously flowing stream rather than in batch production. In other words, pumps move fluid into a tube, and where tubes join one another, the fluids contact one another. If these fluids are reactive, a reaction takes place. Flow chemistry is a well-established technique for use at a large scale when manufacturing large quantities of a bulk material. However, the term has only been coined recently for its applications in fine chemical and pharma.
Additive manufacturing (3D metal Printing) allows the designer full freedom, any geometrical design can be given to the reactor. Given the complex form of the tubing in the micro flow reactor, 3D printing is the only way to manufacture such devices efficiently. Melotte prints the micro flow reactors in titanium or 316L that is resistant to temperatures from -100°C up to 300°C this at high pressures rates (100bar). The first test results of titanium seems to be even better.
The 3D printed flow reactor can be used for fluids, emulsions, gas mixture and even slurries. Process developers, from the largest pharma companies, are already convinced: these printed flow reactors will lead to a paradigm shift. Today batch reactors are the starting point. Developers have to figure out how the desired reaction can be initiated. Now this will change, based on the synthesis developers will have Melotte print the most suitable reactor.
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More information about this micro flow reactor can be found on the website of the exclusive distributor: Chemtrix.