Automating multistep flow synthesis: approach and challenges in integrating chemistry, machines and logic

    Chinmay A. Shukla1,2, Amol A. Kulkarni1,2

    • 1 Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Campus, Pune 411008, India
    • 2 Chem. Eng. & Proc. Dev. Div., CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Dr. Homi Bhaba Road, Pashan, Pune 411008, India

    The implementation of automation in the multistep flow synthesis is essential for transforming laboratory-scale chemistry into a reliable industrial process. In this review, we briefly introduce the role of automation based on its application in synthesis viz. Auto sampling and inline monitoring, optimization and process control. Subsequently, we have critically reviewed a few multistep flow synthesis and suggested a possible control strategy to be implemented so that it helps to reliably transfer the laboratory-scale synthesis strategy to a pilot scale at its optimum conditions. Due to the vast literature in multistep synthesis, we have classified the literature and have identified the case studies based on few criteria viz. Type of reaction, heating methods, processes involving in-line separation units, telescopic synthesis, processes involving in-line quenching and process with the smallest time scale of operation. This classification will cover the broader range in the multistep synthesis literature.

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