The big challenge when designing pilot plants is to establish a full plant with all equipment characteristics of a normal production plant, were only a small space is available. It must be easy to handle and clean and easily accessible by moveable upper and lower parts.
This is can be achieved preferably with a hydraulic unit or even manually. The unit should be controlled by a PLS system to record and process all data of the test series, which is of paramount importance for a good upscaling.
The plants can be fully automated or partially automated which is often more appropriate. All necessary data measured, such as temperatures, flow, pressures should be recorded by sensors.