Chemical Processing Equipment a Complete Guide 2024

What is chemical equipment?

Chemical Processing Equipment refers to the machinery and devices used in industrial chemistry and large-scale chemical manufacturing. These pieces of equipment are integral to various stages of chemical processing, including the physical and chemical alteration of substances.

The equipment used in the chemical process industry includes, but is not limited to:
  • Pumps: These are used to move liquids through the system.
  • Compressors: These increase the pressure of a gas.
  • Agitators and Mixers: These are used to mix or blend materials.
  • Crushers and Grinders: These are used to break down solid materials into smaller pieces.
  • Conveyors: These transport materials from one place to another.

Other commonly used process equipment includes valves, vessels, filters, coolers, heat exchangers, and pulsation dampeners. These tools play a crucial role in altering the composition of chemicals or materials, usually using technology similar or related to that used in chemical plants or the chemical industry.

The specific equipment used can vary widely depending on the exact nature of the chemical process, the materials involved, and the desired end product. The design and selection of this equipment require a deep understanding of the chemical reactions involved, the properties of the materials being processed, and operational safety and environmental considerations.

What is a chemical processing system?

Process equipment plays a multifaceted role in industrial settings, particularly in the chemical, agricultural, petrochemical, mineral food, and pharmaceutical industries. It is used for a wide range of operations, from storage and flow control to facilitating chemical reactions.

Here are some of the key roles that process equipment plays:
  • Storage: Process equipment such as tanks and silos are used to store raw materials, intermediates, and finished products.
  • Flow Control: Devices like pumps and valves control the flow of materials through the system, ensuring they reach the right place at the right time.
  • Chemical Reactions: Equipment like reactors and mixers facilitate chemical reactions by providing the necessary conditions, such as temperature and pressure.
  • Separation: Some process equipment, like centrifuges and filters, is used to separate mixtures into their individual components.
  • Heat Transfer: Heat exchangers, condensers, and boilers are used to transfer heat, which is crucial in many industrial processes.
  • Material Processing: Equipment like crushers and grinders are used to change the physical form of materials, making them easier to handle and process.
  • Safety and Control: Some process equipment, like safety valves and control systems, is used to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the entire process.
  • Optimization: Process equipment is often used to optimize industrial processes, increasing output and maximizing profits.
The versatility of process equipment lies in its ability to perform a variety of tasks, each of which is crucial to the overall process. The design and selection of this equipment require a deep understanding of the processes involved, the properties of the materials being processed, and operational safety and environmental considerations. Chemical equipment contributes to efficient and controlled processes in several ways:
  • Design and Optimisation: The ultimate goal of chemical process design is to develop a cost-effective and safe process that can produce high-quality products at a high yield. Optimisation entails the evaluation and enhancement of an existing process with the aim of increasing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.
  • Process Control: Process control is the science of maintaining key process parameters in manufacturing processes at their desired set points. Process controls have the capability to fine-tune various controllable aspects within a process, encompassing elements such as heating, cooling, material flow rates, and pressure. These controls can autonomously implement adjustments to system conditions, rectifying any measured deviations and returning them to their anticipated values.
  • Automation: Process control systems are programmable and can operate autonomously or respond to operator input. Advanced control elements, including input/output modules and supervisory computers, automatically modify process parameters upon detecting deviations in a process variable from its set point.
  • Safety Measures: Process controls are an added layer of safety to mitigate or prevent incidents such as overpressure, fires and explosions, and runaway reactions.
  • Efficiency: Efficiency helps to reduce costs. Businesses can lower their overall manufacturing costs by minimising waste, optimising resource utilisation, and increasing productivity.
  • Evaluation of Equipment and Tools: The equipment and tools used in the production process can significantly impact the process steps. Assessing these tools can aid in pinpointing areas that could benefit from enhancements or replacements with more efficient alternatives.

What are the uses of process equipment?

Chemical processing systems find diverse applications across various industries. Here are some key examples:

  • Chemical Industry: Chemical engineers use chemistry and engineering to turn raw materials into usable products, such as medicine, petrochemicals, and plastics, on a large-scale industrial setting.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Chemical process models are useful in all phases of chemical engineering, from research and design to optimisation and control and even plant operations.
  • Agriculture: Advanced functional chemical products, such as controlled-release fertilizers, are developed using chemical processing systems.
  • Environmental Protection: Highly intense chemical processes and energy-saving, environmentally safe chemical processing systems ensure the rational use of natural resources, environmental protection from pollution, and the preservation of the biological diversity of natural systems.
  • Space Manufacturing: Chemical systems off-earth are being explored for potential applications in space manufacturing.
  • Food Industry: Chemical processing equipment is used in the food industry for various processes, including pasteurisation, sterilisation, and extraction.
  • Waste Management: Chemical engineers are also involved in waste management and research.
  • Energy Sector: In the energy sector, chemical processing systems are used in the production of biofuels and in the refinement of crude oil.
  • Textile Industry: In the textile industry, chemical processing systems are used in the dyeing and treatment of fabrics.
These examples illustrate the broad range of applications for chemical processing systems, highlighting their critical role in numerous industries.

Industrial & Chemical Processing Equipment from IDEX

As a prominent global manufacturer, IDEX specialises in delivering highly engineered industrial products and cutting-edge technologies across a diverse range, encompassing industrial pumps, valves, compressors, firefighting tools, rescue equipment, milling machinery, dispensers, flow metres, spare parts, services, and accessories. The extensive array of IDEX products finds application in a variety of daily activities, ranging from critical life-saving rescue operations to dispensing fresh juice and facilitating aircraft refueling. Within the chemical industry, IDEX plays a pivotal role by providing services to key sectors such as agrochemical production, polymer consumption, and specialty chemicals. Beyond the chemical sector, IDEX extends its offerings to diverse industries, including water treatment, pharmaceuticals, fire and safety, and oil & gas, showcasing its commitment to innovation and versatility in addressing varied industrial needs.


Industrial and chemical processing equipment is a dynamic and indispensable facet of various industries, shaping the production of essential goods and materials. Chemical equipment, ranging from pumps to reactors, plays a pivotal role in altering substances through physical and chemical processes. This equipment, often resembling the technology employed in chemical plants, requires careful selection and design, considering the intricacies of chemical reactions, material properties, and stringent safety and environmental standards. The versatility of process equipment extends across diverse applications, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, environmental protection, and even space manufacturing. As technology continues to advance, the ongoing optimisation, automation, and evaluation of these systems remain critical for enhancing efficiency, ensuring safety, and contributing to the sustainable and controlled evolution of industrial processes worldwide.