List of questions
What is the best way to develop a formulation and manufacturing process to use hypochlorous acid as a disinfectant gel for hand sanitation?
Hypochlorous acid is a very effective, fast acting disinfectant. However because it is so reactive we are having difficulty formulating it into a gel that stays active for hand disinfection. We have a process that works but it is not practical for volume production and requires the active to be diluted reducing the efficacy. Some formulation assistance with scale up for volume manufacturing would be appreciated.
How do we automate our existing manual manufacturing process to pH balance our hypochlorous acid based disinfectant?
We have a proven manufacturing process to pH balance our hypochlorous acid based disinfectant, however the current process requires manual input and adjustments. We are about to set up our first manufacturing facility outside the UK in the UAE, using local labour so want to find an automated method for the oH control. We produce hypochlorous acid through an electrodialysis process and then remix the Anolyte and cotholyte produced to create a pH 7.1 solution. We need a reliable process whereby this mixing can be done automatically.
We are seeking an alternative material to metal that is cheaper, lighter, stronger, safer (and food safe) and easier to manufacture. What materials are available and what are the processes involved in working with them?
At Crover Ltd we have developed the world's first robotic device able to 'swim' through bulks of solid granular media, such as grains, sand, powders. We aim to use this to help grain-storekeepers reduce losses and maintain optimum storage conditions by building a full map of conditions within grain bulks (e.g. wheat and barley in sheds/silos). https://www.crover.tech/
What real time techniques are available that can be used to selectively control surface friction of thermoplastics?
What are the most important hidden costs that often are not accounted in small scale manufacturing and best practices to make rapid prototyping more efficient?
We are thinking about how to manufacture a small number of high quality prototypes and looking at different ways and materials that can be used to help reduce time and cost of the process. At the moment we are using 3d printing, because the changes can be made and tested very quickly, so we wonder if there are some better rapid prototyping alternatives to use with better materials.
How and what can we replace single use polystyrene fish boxes with, initially in Scotland but also further afield as a large percentage of our salmon is sourced from Norway?
The Scottish salmon and wider aquaculture industries are currently being challenged to remove polystyrene boxes from their supply chains as they are seen as single use and non-recyclable, the latter point is not strictly true. What alternative products or systems are there to achieve this goal taking into account the cost of the product and the complexity of the manufacturing process and supply chains?
How can we use quantum computing to characterise our fermentation broth to identify molecules present in them?
Our process optimises the use of hydrolytic enzymes to convert food waste into biodegradable materials containing acetic acid, lactic acid, polysacharides, fatty acids and amino acids. We are seeking the best approach to enhance the output characterisation.
Can we recycle waste paint solid into something useful?
We sell decorative and industrial paint throughout the UK and Europe. The most energy intensive element of our production process is the mining and refining of TiO2. When paint is "recycled" the solvent is removed and the solid sludge is then burnt. Essentially the valuable energy intensive finite component is wasted. We feel that the true issue is not being addressed, there must be some use for the waste solid.
Are there any alternative materials for subsea housings, after such as aluminium, titanium, stainless steel, or plastics such as acetal?
There is a limited choice of materials which can be used for housings for subsea instrumentation, due to the extremes of the environment, which places a number of requirements on the material: • Corrosion resistance. Instruments in subsea housings can be deployed for periods of days to years, and salt water corrosion can seriously degrade the housing. Warm, shallow water is especially challenging. Aluminium is often used, protected by an anodised surface, but has limited corrosion resistance. Some grades of stainless steel perform better, as does titanium to a greater degree. Plastic can be used e.g. acetal, but is limited in strength. Sacrificial anodes can be used to protect metal housings, with some success. • High Strength: Subsea instruments can be required to operate at water depths of 4000m or more, placing huge pressure on a housing. Housings contain electronics, and it is usually preferred to have a dry 1atm environment, rather than an oil-filled one. • Machineablilty (or manufacturability): housings require tightly-toleranced sealing surfaces, and can have more or less complex forms. • Thermal conductivity: electronics within housings generate heat, which must be removed via the housing. • Density (hence weight): a light material is preferred, although displacement is a significant factor on weight in water. • Electrical conductivity: preferred, to assist electrical screening, but not essential.
How could we better manage our returnable keg fleet to guarantee return of each one as soon as it is emptied by the customer, to allow for refill at our brewery?
Scotland Food & Drink’s recent publication on growing the brewing industry in Scotland (‘Brewing Up A Storm’) stated: “Draught beer has a special place in the UK. It’s a unique way of delivering fresh product, using reusable containers with no packaging waste. Pubs bring social and community benefits. So, our tradition of draught beer links well to consumer trends – a real growth opportunity for brewers.” Selling beer in draught form involves use of 50 and 30 litre steel or aluminium containers, which are filled at the brewery, transported to customers – usually via a third party distributor – dispensed in bars, restaurants and events, and the empties returned to the brewery where they are cleaned, sterilized and refilled. Empty kegs and casks go missing, get stolen for other uses, get damaged in transit, can sit for weeks in pub cellars or distributor’s warehouses waiting to be picked up and cost about £100 each to have manufactured. A brewery with a significant portion of its trade in the draught market has to invest quite a bit of capital in a keg/cask fleet which can result in it forming a significant chunk of its asset base. Typical depreciation for a keg is 15 years. Brewers large and small have wrestled with this complex supply chain for decades. Even with recent technology such as RFID and barcodes to help track where containers are at any point in time, no-one has perfected it and brewers still largely have to rely on human processes to repatriate empties – it can be a daily job for Supply Chain teams – to make sure that enough good quality containers are back at the brewery to meet packaging schedules. Ideally they would arrive back at the brewery ‘just in time’ to avoid the need for stockpiling more than a day’s filling requirement, but running out of kegs and being unable to fulfil customer orders is a worse scenario than having to keep buying new containers just in case. A rule of thumb in recent years is that even brewers with a well-managed supply chain need to own 3-4 containers for every one that is filled. Scotland Food & Drink recognises that draught beer should be the product of choice for tomorrow’s consumers, for reasons of avoiding packaging materials waste, the community aspect of socialising over a pint rather than drinking at home and the relatively high carbon footprint of beers sold in bottles and cans. Managing all movements of kegs and casks needs a complete rethink if brewers are going to capitalize on this as a consumer trend and grow their businesses in a responsible way.
How can a small brewery in Scotland develop its small pack consumer product offering (e.g. retail ‘take home’ units/non draught beers) with a view to minimising its carbon footprint, in relation to the sale of these product types?
Various studies have been carried out over the last decade or so, in various different countries across the world, into Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE), also known as carbon footprint, of beer. One such study by University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems concluded that packaging generally represented 40% of a beer’s carbon footprint, depending on which packaging formats and materials were used. In order of high to low, different package formats are as follows : 1. Single use glass bottle 2. Aluminium can 3. Steel can 4. Reused glass bottle 5. Reused keg In addition to the consumer units themselves, small pack formats invariably also involve paper labels, cardboard cartons and boxes, steel bottle closures, adhesives, plastic wrap and wood or plastic pallets. We would like to work with academics who can ‘think outside the box’. If the notion of selling beer in small take-home units was brand new, what would you invent and how would you operate your filling process in 2020 to reduce the packaging aspect of your carbon footprint to that currently calculated for kegged beers – or lower?
Register for the questions you wish to discuss: Registration for academics