A company was operating a process that recovers a solvent by distillation and was encountering the build-up of solid material in the column and heat exchanger. This created a need for periodic maintenance and was reducing the capacity of the column. A multifunctional team was assembled to collaborate in addressing the problem, with expertise in organic chemistry, process engineering, and chemical analysis. The team examined the steps in the process prior to distillation to seek possible contributors to the problem. Analyses were performed on samples from the plant, including the column feed, the bottoms stream, and the accumulated solid. The team then worked to identify potential causes of the problem. Recommendations were provided that were successful in reducing the residue formation.
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