Pilot Plants: Principles of Design, Operation and Maintenance

Online /
May 13 - 15, 2025 /
Course Code: 16-0502-ONL25

The confirmation of this course depends on early registration; Register early to avoid the postponement or cancellation of a course.
  • Overview
  • Syllabus
  • Instructor


Please note, This instructor-led course has specific dates and times:
This course is held online over 3 days on the following schedule (All times in Eastern Time Zone):

10:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern

After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • improve your knowledge of common types of pilot plants in various branches of industry
  • familiarize yourself with the main design principles of pilot plants, their construction and efficient operation
  • apply updated information on how to follow the startup procedures and data acquisition
  • recognize the need for systematic analysis of capital and operation costs of pilot plants operating in
     batch or continuous operation mode
  • acquire an awareness of safety associated with the operation of pilot plants and the protection of personnel and the environment
  • make your company products more profitable by increasing the reliability of design procedures and data validation

The design of a commercial plant can be rather risky and prohibitively expensive if the available experience is not extensive enough to scale up the information from bench-scale laboratory tests. Unless one has extensive experience with similar materials and products, it is advisable to verify the laboratory results in a pilot plant.

An old saying: "Make your mistakes on a small scale and make your profit on a large scale," can be applied to situations where the pilot plant represents an intermediate stage between the laboratory studies and the industrial plant.

The pilot plant is understood as a small-scale simulation of future industrial operations. Based on the experience with a pilot plant, the decision to proceed with the full-scale plant project will be based on a proven process and a more reliable economic estimate.

This course will cover all aspects of the consideration of pilot plants, including design, construction and operation. It will explain the main design principles of pilot plants, the selection of appropriate materials for fabrication and the selection and installation of the vital components of equipment. 

Discussed will be the elements of financial aspects of pilot plants: systematic analysis of capital and operation costs of pilot plants will be provided.
Substantial attention in the course will be devoted to instrumentation and control systems as well as to all important aspects related to the safety of personnel and the environment.

Course Outline

  • Importance of Pilot Plants
  • Pilot Plant Concept and Objectives
  • Relationship with Laboratory Investigations
  • Classification of Pilot Plants
  • Technical Factors and Equipment 
  • Cost-Effective Economical Factors 
  • Pilot Plant Project Administration: Management and Planning
  • Design of Pilot Plants
  • Overview of Design Approaches: Site and Plant Layouts
  • Selection and Installation of Process Equipment and Piping Systems
  • Selection of Instrumentation and Control System
  • Connection to Utilities
  • Effluent Treatment and Waste Disposal
  • Operation of Pilot Plants 
  • Pilot Plant Control Systems
  • Startup Procedures
  • Operating Data Acquisition and Recording
  • Safety Issues in Operation
  • Maintenance Organization

Who Should Attend 
The course will benefit engineers, technicians, supervisors and plant managers who need to be familiar with the design, construction and operation of pilot plants in various industries: chemical, petrochemical, metallurgical, biochemical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical and others.

It will also be valuable for engineers, consultants and contractors who are in charge of making decisions about the overall costs of construction of pilot plants and supervising the costs of their continuous operation, as well as for technical managers responsible for interdisciplinary engineering projects interested in analyzing cost-effectiveness.

More Information

Time: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Please note: You can check other time zones here.


Day 1

Importance of Pilot Plants

  • Demonstration of technical feasibility
  • Process and product development
  • Development of marketing values

Pilot Plant Concept and Objectives

  • Pilot plant prerequisites and size selection
  • Preliminary mass and energy balances
  • Planning of testing and laboratory experiments

Relationship with Laboratory Investigations

  • Method of scaling up
  • Analysis of prototype
  • Prototype implications

Classification of Pilot Plants

  • Classification by size
  • Classification by purpose
  • Classification by number of units

Technical Factors and Equipment 

  • Selection of equipment based on the nature of fluids 
  • Material selection and protection
  • Equipment layout and dimensions

Cost-Effective Economical Factors 

  • Estimate of costs of design, construction and operation
  • Economic issues and cost minimization
  • Budget constraints consideration

Pilot Plant Project Administration: Management and Planning

  • Role  of pilot plant management 
  • Action planning and support services
  • Operating manuals and data recording

Day II

Design of Pilot Plants

  • Size selection 
  • Preparation of block diagrams
  • Initial mass and flow balances

Overview of Design Approaches: Site and Plant Layouts

  • Types of space for housing pilot plants
  • Estimate of space requirements
  • Site selection and environmental issues

Selection and Installation of Process Equipment and Piping Systems

  • Selection of equipment size and performance
  • Piping systems and accessories
  • Equipment installation and protection

Selection of Instrumentation and Control System

  • Velocity, pressure, flow rate and other measurements 
  • Calibration of instruments and results validation
  • Control system requirement

Connection to Utilities

  • Requirements for: Electricity, Water, Steam, Compressed Air
  • Best options for supply
  • Technical and economic issues

Effluent Treatment and Waste Disposal

  • Treatment of liquid effluent
  • Disposal of solid waste
  • Environmental Protection Aspects


Operation of Pilot Plants 

  • Batch or continuous operation 
  • Advantages and disadvantages: limitations
  • Monitoring system requirements

Pilot Plant Control Systems

  • Typical control system requirements
  • Automation and control
  • Types of computer control systems

Startup Procedures

  • Optimizing startup procedures and resources
  • Verification of equipment and calibration 
  • Inspection and leak detection

Operating Data Acquisition and Recording

  • Instruments and devices required
  • Backup systems
  • Distributed control systems

Safety Issues in Operation

  • Hazard evaluation and analysis
  • Safety inspections and safety standards
  • Specific safety problems

Maintenance Organization

  • Predictive vs. reactive maintenance
  • Aspects of good planning
  • Guidelines to reduce downtime and costs

Questions and Answers and Feedback to Participants on Achievement of Learning Outcomes

Concluding Remarks and Final Adjournment


Mike Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Mike Ivanovic is the President of UBAMIP Consulting and a former Adjunct Associate Professor with over 30 years of experience in thermal engineering. After working in the consulting group of ANSYS Canada Ltd., he now runs the private consulting company UBAMIP Consulting, dealing with analysis and problem-solving in the operation of vital stationary and rotating equipment in the process and petrochemical industry. Mike has also been active in providing training technical courses of various levels of complexity for professionals in the industry in Canada, the USA and overseas.

His expertise, among others, includes the design, operation and maintenance of various types of storage tanks, pressure vessels, piping systems, and pumps and compressors. The focus of the consulting projects has been on risk assessment during operation and maintenance activities, as well as equipment failure analysis and accident prevention technologies based on inspection results and fitness for service studies.

The Engineering Institute of Canada

We always want to improve the quality of our courses. Please select any reasons why you feel this course is inadequate (check all that apply).

Please check this box:
Course Rating
3.6 out of 5

Overall rating of this course by its previous attendees!

Fee & Credits

$1995 + taxes

  • 2.1 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 21 Continuing Professional Development Hours (PDHs/CPDs)
  • ECAA Annual Professional Development Points

Group Training
This course can be customized and delivered to your group of staff at your facility, saving time and money.
Sign-up for our newsletter
Canada Job Grant
The cost of this course could be covered by Canada Job Grant.

Your company may be eligible for funding! LEARN MORE