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Commercial & custom multi-user computer software for a variety of applications including performance metrics, statistical analysis, data extraction and merger from multiple large databases, computer simulation and management information systems. Founded in 1982.
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Kettle Soap Processing
Dr. Serdakowski's first position out of RPI was that of a technical sales representative for Procter and Gamble. His role there included selling fatty acids to a number of kettle soap producers. As part of his training, P&G taught Dr. Serdakowski the kettle soap process so he in turn could improve the processing of his customers. While a Ph.D. student at Brown University, Serd needed to make a few extra dollars consulting, and The Original Bradford Soap Works was located down the street. That began a 25 year part-time process optimization program. At the start, Bradford, like other kettle soap producers world-wide, took 3 to 5 days to produce a batch of kettle soap, with only 85% of the soap available for drying, the other 15% remained behind in the kettle for re-processing. After 25 years of process modeling and optimization, the process was streamlined to batch cycle times of 8 hours with a 99% yield. Dr. Serdakowski has since published how this is done and freely shares this knowledge producers in third world countries. He has since moved on to other areas of interests. His publications on the topic are:
E. George and J. Serdakowski, "Computer Modeling in the Full Boil Soap Making Process", HAPPI, 1/87
E. George and J. Serdakowski, "Correlation of Fat & Oil Quality with Soap Base Color", Cosmetics and Toiletries, Vol. 108, August, 1993
J. Serdakowski and E. George, "Kettle Saponification, Concurrent and Countercurrent Systems, Computer Modeling", AOCS Monologue, July, 1996
E. George and J. Serdakowski, "Formulation of Toilet, Combo, Synthetic, Translucent, Transparent and Laundry Soaps", AOCS Monologue, July, 1996
J. Serdakowski, "Kettle Saponification Computer Modeling Latest Trend and Innovations", Soap Manufacturing Technology, AOCS, 2009
The major innovations that lead to this staggering improvements are:
Soap as we know it is not just soap, but a mixture of 5 ingredients, soap, water & glycerin (solvent), salt and caustic (electrolyte). "Soap" has a complicated phase diagram consisting of many stable and unstable regions of varying density. Production of kettle soap requires successful navigation through this complicated phase diagram. Others before Serd were only able to represent this phase diagram on a piece of paper, making it a 3 component one (soap, solvent, electrolyte), leaving out key information. Serd was able to generate a full 5 component phase diagram, on a 4-dimensional piece of "graph paper" inside the computer. This provided much better visibility to the process and quicker and more precise navigation during processing.
Serd was able to build a very comprehensive Kettle Soap Process Simulator (KSPS) that rendered Bradford's pilot plant obsolete. Various formulations could be tested in the KSPS in a few minutes, and could be immediately scaled up to production size once the simulation was optimized.
The KSPS was then expanded to become the Kettle Soap Process Controller (KSPC), which is used by production personnel to manage every batch of soap produced. Key data from each batch is stored in a database, allowing the process engineer to continuously fine tune the process.
The KSPC accounts for both a mass and energy balance around every batch, accurately tracking water content of the batch, including condensation gains and evaporative losses. The KSPC also adjusts for seasonal variation in raw material temperatures.
Serd used the techniques of "isoparametric mapping" typically employed in Finite Element Analysis to calculate the composition of the various phases rendered when a processing step passed through an unstable part of the phase diagram.
Some versions of the KSPC include raw material cost and labor cost components, so that the actual cost of each batch can be quickly and accurately determined.
Some screen shots from a copy of the KSPC used by a Caribbean soap processor:
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This web page was last updated at 11/16/2014 07:36 PM and is written in EXCEL!
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