Quality control in upscaling mesoporized zeolite production

Natalia Gonzalez Ogliastri is responsible for further extending and professionalizing the laboratories and processes of Zeopore Technologies. She holds a master in biochemistry and biotechnology from KU Leuven university, and is experienced in setting up and managing quality control systems in industrial laboratories.


Managing Zeopore production quality


Natalia manages the quality perspective in the ongoing shift from the laboratory towards zeolite production on an industrial scale. Qualitative processes in general touch upon various aspects: trained personnel, state-of-the-art equipment, controlled raw materials as well as proper documentation and data handling. "To maintain an integral quality-driven management approach, I focus on product specifications, standardization of procedures, traceability, and on the control of critical steps in our process," says Natalia.


Equipment maintenance and calibration


Our maintenance plan has been implemented using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), which enables us to easily track all the interventions, calibrations, events, and general documents associated with a device. This is done by scanning a QR code attached to each asset in our production hall and laboratories.


"As a team, we continuously aim to further improve quality and productivity. Recently, we acquired a state-of-the-art Bruker X-ray Fluorescence (WDXRF) S6 JAGUAR for elemental analysis of zeolites. This equipment increases our testing capacity and avoids lengthy external measurements, resulting in an overall improvement of our QA and R&D processes. In specific process steps, the ability to quickly acquire and process data enables Zeopore to adjust and resume the process faster. With the new device at Zeopore, this takes five minutes versus an entire week when done externally.


Stijn De Broyer, process operator of Zeopore, using the Bruker X-ray Fluorescence S6 JAGUAR system for elemental analysis of zeolites.


Controlled operational procedures


"When setting up larger-scale synthesis processes, I assist our technology developers in quality assessment items and defining critical control points. Once decided on the methodologies to be applied in every process step, it is my job to set standard operation procedures (SOP) and define how materials, equipment and people fit in. Every task in every process step needs to be precisely specified and documented.”


Data management's central role


Data plays an essential role across the entire production process. "All the acquired data enables Zeopore to gradually take tighter control of the process by continuously sharpening specifications and improving quality aspects. Any data can be traced back to a specific project, scale size, test type, operator name, result details, etc."


Reducing the ecological footprint


Similar to making catalytic processes more performant and ecological for our customers, Zeopore is also enhancing its own production processes from an ecological viewpoint. Liquid sample analysis, for example, is essential in monitoring the filtration process of zeolite production. By controlling and optimizing filtration, we have the analytics information available to handle waste streams more ecologically.


Teamwork in quality and productivity


As a team we continuously aim to leverage innovation to further improve quality and productivity. "While progressing further on the lab-pilot-manufacturing path, Zeopore is taking increased control of process quality. Strict quality standards and well-controlled processes are essential in becoming a reliable partner for delivering better performing zeolites."


As part of the process, we increasingly interact with catalyst producers, toll manufacturers, and engineering companies to exchange information and ensure qualitative production deliverables.


Natalia Gonzalez Ogliastri is responsible for further extending and professionalizing the laboratories and processes of Zeopore Technologies.