Five Process Engineering and Design Trends for 2020

by | EPIC Modular Process

Industry, Regulatory, and Technology Trends Impacting Process Engineering and Design in 2020

Year after year the world evolves. People change, new products and technologies are invented, and consumer trends shift. Because of this, manufacturers are always adapting. In this blog, EPIC’s team has identified five process engineering and design trends that will affect the market for 2020 and beyond. These trends are either industry migrations, new regulations, or innovative technologies that have been or will be impacting process engineering in 2020.

EPA Regulating and Monitoring Green House Gas and Carbon Emissions

Carbon Capture Skid

As global warming continues to be a concern of governments across the world, more and more regulatory departments are pushing for greener manufacturing practices. In the US the EPA continues to fight for less Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. This, combined with the lack of sustainable fossil fuels, is causing manufacturers in all markets, not just the energy market, to explore greener manufacturing methods. Companies such as P&G, BASF, and Henkel all have corporate initiatives to use more sustainable manufacturing practices and reduce their carbon footprint. The energy sector is also very committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The global Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) market is expected to grow by 7.9% through 2025, according to a study by Market Study Report, LLC. Additionally, the renewable energy market is expected to grow by 6.1% through 2025, reaching a value of $1.5 Trillion, according to this Allied Market Research study.

EPIC has already completed multiple projects in this space over the years; helping customers research new CCS methods and reduce their overall carbon footprint. This trend has shown no sign of slowing down and will continue to influence process system manufacturing markets for years to come.

Plastic Use Reduction and Recycling

Along with reducing carbon footprints, plastic use reduction is a big part of companies becoming more sustainable. P&G is leading the charge in the green packaging space, they plan to reduce virgin plastic use by 50% and have 100% recyclable plastics in their products by 2030. Other consumer packaged goods companies are following suit as well. In addition to this, the biodegradable market is expected to grow by 17% through 2024 according to a report by Industry Research. This is opening the market for plastic alternatives, plastic recycling, and smart packaging companies to grow. Process systems companies should look for opportunities to provide solutions in this space.

All-Natural Movement Providing Growth to Consumer Products Industry

Companies such as Henkel, Procter and Gamble, and Reckitt Benckiser are innovating new product lines that are advertised as all-natural. According to a study by Grand View Research, the US natural personal care market was valued at 1.53 Billion USD in 2017 and is expected to grow by 9.6% through 2025. Consumers and manufacturers alike are becoming more and more aware of the negative effects of chemical products on the human body, because of this, the market is groaning for more safe, healthy, and natural solutions. Another reason natural products are becoming more prevalent is due to the ease of development and launch. There are far more regulations for chemical products than there are for natural ones, because of this, manufacturers can get their product on the shelves easier. It can be expected for this boom of natural products to cause an increase of line expansion or conversion so that the new products can be accommodated for.

Aging Population Boosts Anti-Aging Personal Care Products

In the same Grand View Research study, it is noted that the typical consumer products customer is aging. As the customer ages the demand for anti-aging personal care and pharmaceutical products increases. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Revlon, Avon, and Unilever are all producing products in the anti-aging space. Middle-aged and older adults take up just under 50% of the cosmetic personal care market. This demographic is the driving force behind anti-aging products. Cosmetic producers have recognized this product boom and are continuing to roll out new SKU’s in this category.

Generic Drugs are Proving to be Preferred

Pharmaceutical Process System

In general, the global pharmaceutical market is expected to grow at 5.8% through at least 2021, according to a 2018 study by The Business Research Company. Despite a decrease in R&D spending, many pharmaceutical companies, especially smaller, new players, are booming. A big reason for this is generic drugs. Generics are exact formula copies of patent expired drugs. Generics are taking an increased share of the market and will continue to due to the reduced cost to the consumer and government pressure for affordable healthcare. This growth is especially realized in the Asia-Pacific market, where the value brands are much preferred. Asia-Pacific is the second-largest market area for pharmaceuticals, behind North America, and the progression towards generics is expected to take place in the North American market as well. With this, pharmaceutical companies, both large and small, will be launching new product lines to produce the generically branded products.


Manufacturers will continue to pump out products year after year, and they will adapt to whatever circumstances come their way to make sure that they are providing customers with products they want at a price that brings them revenue. Regulations, industry migrations, and new technologies all influence how manufacturers innovate new products and operate their plants. These five process engineering and design trends are just a few ways that the market is being shaped in 2020.

If you need assistance in developing a process for one of these five areas, or any other type of manufacturing plant operation, contact EPIC at 314-806-1678 or via contact form.

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