I give courses on process scale-up. In these courses always questions arise about the meaning of terms. Here are some definitions of terms and also alternative definitions. The general advice is always to ask further explanation if terms below are used.

Scale-up is generating knowledge to transfer ideas into successful commercial implementations [1]. An alternative definition. Scale-up is a larger production scale [2].

Scale-up factor is the capacity increase from one innovation stage to the next stage [3].

Micro-flow reactor (or process) is a continuously operated reactor (or process) at laboratory scale [1]. An alternative definition. “Microreactor technology is concerned with chemical reactions and unit operations in components and systems whose characteristic dimensions range from sub-milli-meter down to sub-micro-meter region” [3].

Mini-plant is a down-scaled version of the commercial scale design made in the feasibility stage [1]. An alternative definition. A mini-plant is a continuous complete laboratory plant containing reactors separators and recycle streams producing up to 100 gram/h. [3]

Pilot-plant is a down-scale version of the industrial scale process design to clarify all design and operating issues [1,3].

Demonstration plant (Demo-plant) is the first of its kind radically novel commercial scale plant with a 1-10 % capacity scale of the full commercial scale plant [4].


[1] Harmsen J, 2019, Industrial Process Scale-up – A Practical Innovation Guide from Idea to Commercial Implementation, DE GRUYTER, Berlin.

[2] Haan AB de 2015, Process Technology – An Introduction DE GRUYTER, Berlin

[3] Vogel GH 2005, Process Development – From the Initial Idea to the Chemical Production Plant, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim.

[4] Harmsen J. 2018, Product and Process Design – Driving Innovation, DE GRUYTER, Berlin.