Historically, nanomaterials have been fraught with technical and cost challenges when scaled-up for industrial manufacturing. This results in created barriers to entry for companies considering their use.
For over a decade Cerion has been cost-effectively transitioning nanomaterials, often scaling between 1,000 to over 10,000 times what has been created in the lab. Core to our success is a deep bench of scientific, engineering and manufacturing talent – combined with years of investment developing proprietary scale-up and commercialization processes that work seamlessly within our manufacturing environment.
The result is that the critical technical attributes of the nanomaterial you need are preserved during the scale-up process, and due to our highly flexible manufacturing approach, you can actually afford to use them!
Design for Manufacturing
We know our customer’s goal is to commercialize their new product or system – and that reliable, cost-effective source of supply is critical to that process.
Our preparations for scale-up start while we are designing your nanomaterial in the lab, by leveraging “Design for Manufacturing” (DFM) principles. Our proprietary approach leverages DFM best practices including a set of strategies, methodologies and tools to ensure that nanomaterials made in the lab today will seamlessly and cost-effectively transition to our manufacturing environment tomorrow.
Cerion’s DFM program uses a phase / gate process to simplify, optimize and refine the nanomaterial – while avoiding excursions that may complicate scale-up or increase cost during manufacturing. The methodology includes a holistic approach to address all critical business, technical, engineering, regulatory, supply chain and logistics that ultimately inform the final cost of the nanomaterial.
Using this approach, manufactured price simulations can be performed early on, and the pathway for scale-up is well-defined prior to the nanomaterial leaving the lab on its way towards manufacturing.
Preparing for Scale-Up
The process of transitioning a nanomaterial from the lab to the manufacturing environment follows a carefully choreographed process created at Cerion to ensure cost-effective materials can be manufactured at whatever scale the customer requires.
When a nanomaterial made in the lab has been qualified by a customer for use in their product, the material transitions to Cerion’s development labs. During this stage the synthetic approach and customer’s specific formula are replicated, stress tested and optimized.
- Stress testing involves a deliberate and thorough testing of the chemical and process sensitivities of the synthetic method and formula used to make a customer’s material. During this phase we determine breaking points and safe usage limits of the future manufacturing process – with the goal of improving manufacturing reliability and repeatability in the plant.
- Optimization focuses on improving the nanomaterial’s economics. Here we evaluate different methods to improve upon factors that impact cost – including chemical yield, volumetric yield, takt time and energy inputs.
Along the way quality assurance requirements are set for all raw materials, as well as defining all necessary in-line and post-manufacturing quality control parameters. The final step during the development process is to increase from lab-scale to small-scale production, typically on the order 10 to 20X what has been made in the laboratory.
Transition to the Manufacturing Plant
As a nanomaterial transitions out of Cerion’s development labs, it moves to our manufacturing environment. During this stage, the production of the material is scaled to one of our pilot manufacturing systems, 10X or greater than what was produced during the development process. Once the material formula has been manufactured, passed all quality control parameters and accredited – it can then be progressively moved to one of our larger scale manufacturing systems. For more information on our manufacturing capability, click here.