John Hecht

What we still need to eradicate powder segregation in industrial processes

Powder segregation is a chronic challenge for the consumer-products industry. A powder mixture containing ingredients with different particle sizes, densities, shapes, and chemistries, tends to spontaneously separate in the process before it is packaged. This results in unreliable quality for the consumer, over- and under-packing, and scrap.

Powder segregation physics have been studied for decades with great promise, especially recently with the creation of new discrete and continuum models. The collective knowledge of the academic and industrial communities is both impressive and incomplete for real processes. To eradicate powder segregation, we need to complete the picture scientifically and apply up-to-date mastery in real time to influence decisions in industry board rooms and manufacturing sites. This talk will focus on both opportunities. Specifically, several unsolved physics pieces needed to complete this picture will be presented as problem statements. The industrial application challenge will be discussed in more detail with ideas on how continued industrial and academic collaborations can lead us to success.

Bio Sketch:

John Hecht is a technical section head in Procter & Gamble’s Global Engineering Division. He specializes in drying and particle processes. He leads a team of engineers and scientists located in Cincinnati, Ohio and Newcastle upon Tyne, England; their work spans all of P&G’s current brands and R&D efforts on new product innovations.
John is celebrating his twentieth year at P&G. He enjoys combining mathematical models and experiments to understand a process and then improve it. Through the years, he has worked on a wide range of processes to make laundry and dish detergent, Pringles® potato crisps, tampons, coffee beans, powdered ingredients for fluid products like toothpaste, and more, including products that are yet-to-be-launched.
John especially values academic partnerships to build deeper understanding needed for genuine process improvement. He engages the community through presentation of technical work at conferences research projects. He recently served as the editor for the “Psychrometry, Evaporative Cooling, and Solids Drying” section in the 9th Edition of Perry’s Chemical Engineers Handbook. Before joining P&G, he completed a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley where he studied the drying of single droplets.