Process reactors are used for commercial production applications in the range of 1,000 to 1,000,000 liters. They are sometimes called industrial-scale reactors. 

Batch vs. Continuous Operation

Process reactors are categorized as batch, continuous, or fed-batch, depending upon the way in which they process samples, products, and waste. Continuous process reactors can be many more times productive than batch reactors, and can be operated for long periods of time without being shut-down. Fed-batch reactors are more common, however, and can achieve high productivities.

  • Batch process reactors are the simplest type. The process reactor is filled with medium and the reaction is allowed to proceed. When the reaction has finished, the contents are emptied for downstream processing. The reactor is then cleaned, re-filled, and re-inoculated so that the reaction process can start again.
  • Continuous process reactors are the most complex type. Fresh media is continuously added and reactor fluid is continuously removed. Cellular growth rate can be optimized by controlling the flow rate of the feed entering the reactor.
  • Fed-batch process reactors are the most common type.  Fresh media is continuously, or sometimes periodically, added to the bioreactor. Unlike a continuous process reactor, however, product and waste are not removed continuously.

The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database contains information about each of these types of process reactors.

Product Specifications and Features

Process reactors can control control parameters such as dissolved oxygen, foam, pH, speed, and temperature. Vessel volume, temperature range, and pressure range are also important specifications to consider. In addition to processing capabilities, process reactors may have specialized features to maintain or eliminate specific conditions that could tamper with the resultant product.  For example, some devices are designed for cleanroom environments. Others are jacketed, lined or coated, or equipped with an inspection or access port.

Applications for Process Reactors

Process reactors are used in adhesives processing, agriculture, chemical processing, cosmetics, food and beverage production, paints and coating production, paper and pulp processing, pharmaceutical and medical production, and plastics and thermoplastics processing.

Engineering Calculators Related to Process Reactors