The Synthetic Chemicals Division at Building 304 in EBP had a 750 gallon glass-lined reactor, Vessel #301, that was in need of a major controls and piping upgrade to meet current division controls design by replacing obsolete mechanical and electrical components, as well as meet NYS MON/MACT regulations (NYS pollutant monitoring & capture control technology).  This vessel was operating with obsolete pneumatic controls from the 1970’s, had numerous maintenance issues where spare parts were very difficult to replace, and the overall system was in need of a complete electronic/controls upgrade.


Optimation designed and procured (along with client procurement) equipment, instruments, piping, and electrical/control components and installed them at the start of 2022. The upgrade consisted of standard design equipment, instruments, and controls for Reactor 301 for a Three (3) Service MOD 300 controlled reactor system.

Optimation provided detailed Process Mechanical and E&I engineering and design services and created the work packages for our skilled trades to perform the upgrade work.  This involved equipment, valves, instruments, piping, and electrical/controls components to be removed, and then installation of new equipment in its place.  We also removed a number of old control panels, unused legacy piping, and improved the work area by opening up much-needed space when the old unused items were removed.

After trades work was completed, we pressure tested and electrically checked out the entire system for the new equipment installed.  The various sub-processes were then started up and run successfully.  We moved into a support role at the end of the project, as we assisted the Client Rep commission the system prior to official turnover to the Operating Dept.


The new reactor control system has now been upgraded to the standard Syn Chem Design, and making chemicals in the new system is now safer, better monitored/controlled, and more efficient.  The new system also helps the Operating Department meet their NYS MON/MACT guidelines, and the removal of all the unused equipment, controls, and piping makes the surrounding area more open and organized.  The client was very pleased with the overall project, and his appreciation of our work is listed in his quote below.

Client Quote: 

I would like to take this opportunity to provide some feedback to Optimation regarding the recent project executed in Building 304 to upgrade the controls and redo the service piping on Vessel 301.

I will start by saying the execution of this project went extremely well. The installation looks great, it functions as intended and was installed in a way that makes it easily maintainable. The Optimation mechanics put a lot of forethought on where to locate and how to position things so maintenance personnel can easily access things as well as production operators being able to see  or easily manipulate what they need to. Production and Maintenance made several unsolicited compliments about the work done on this project which is not a normal thing.

Also, the project was used as a training opportunity for not only some Optimation apprentices but also a Kodak maintenance apprentice as well. This type of training is invaluable for future projects and for maintaining the existing equipment. Being someone who does not have the patience for training others, I know how much additional effort it takes to do this while trying to get things done. I think this is a huge bonus for both sides on this project.

There were several opportunities taken during this project to remove unneeded equipment with Optimation mechanics suggesting some of them. There were about 8 electrical/control panels removed from the bay. An abandoned 6” pipeline was removed, unused pump pads were removed, and some additional unused piping was removed during the shutdown of the bay. This work was done outside of the project but was either executed by or coordinated with Optimation. This was done without adversely affecting the project schedule. The bay is now much less crowded and much more maintainable.

The lead mechanics did a fantastic job of coordinating the work. They seemed to be able to mentor the apprentices very effectively while still progressing the project along. Paul St. Denis and Matt Meulendyk are excellent mechanics and great to work with. I wish I could have them on every project. Their knowledge of our area and its requirements is extremely beneficial to us. They both need little guidance but ask questions to make sure the customer gets what they want. Paul especially made some excellent suggestions on system labeling that will greatly reduce confusion down the road.  I was checking in regularly but being based in a different building, I was relying on the lead mechanics to keep things progressing and be fairly independent.

On top of all this the installation was completed ahead of schedule, it came in under budget and there were very few things that needed to be corrected. The engineering and planning work upfront played a big part in that as well. The lead mechanics also assisted with debug which really helped things move along well. I also would like to recognize Bill VanAllen for all his work during the debug. He did a very thorough and effective job and made himself available even though he had to juggle several jobs.

Please let your management know what a great job this whole project team did including yourself, Steve Maddox, Jim Guisbert and the mechanics. Thank you.