Process development technicians seek and develop new processes, in addition to improving existing ones. They work to reduce costs, increase efficiency and safety, improve product quality and find green processes.
Once scientists have developed a research prototype of a new product in the laboratory, process development technicians look for a way to standardize the product and produce it on a large scale, known as scaling up.
Process development technicians study the prototype technical reports. Then they write their own reports to specify how the process that needs to be developed should work.
They are a very important part of a team, and they work with scientific researchers, engineers and technicians. For example, they discuss computer-aided design (CAD) models and research papers. They receive advice from engineers to make sure that the right materials exist to make the product.
Process development technicians may also have contact with suppliers, contract managers, and customers.
They can lead teams, including other scientists and technicians, and have overall responsibility for the cost, safety, and timing of the project.
Increasingly, technicians must also take environmental issues into account. They look for ways to reduce the amount of energy used in the process, or the possibility of using materials that can be recycled.
They plan and pilot the most promising process, and carefully record and analyze the results. This test can reveal technical problems that the development process scientist must solve before manufacturing can begin.
When a decision has been made about which process is best to use, they set up and test the process in the laboratory, studying it carefully.
Process development technicians often use advanced technology, including computers, to control process and production tests, and to find and identify faults.
They use technology to measure and control conditions such as pressure and temperature, for example in the metallurgical sector in aerospace.
These professionals also conduct risk assessments to ensure that the process is safe, and to identify the training needs of all personnel who will be using the new equipment and technology. They review and respect safety laws and regulations.
They evaluate the evidence of the process, identify any problems that may exist and try to solve them. Depending on the results of these trials, then large-scale production will begin.
Process development technicians regularly evaluate production, demonstrating that the process represents an improvement over the previous one, and identify the measures, methods, or technologies necessary to ensure that the process continues to improve.
If it seems necessary, they will say that you have to change a piece of machinery or a raw material, to make the process more efficient or to reduce costs.
Process development technicians sometimes need to wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks. They may have to travel to production sites, to evaluate a trial or large-scale production.