A tandem simulated moving bed (SMB) process for insulin purification has been proposed and validated experimentally. The mixture to be separated consists of insulin, high molecular weight proteins, and zinc chloride. A systematic approach based on the standing wave design, rate model simulations, and experiments was used to develop this multicomponent separation process. The standing wave design was applied to specify the SMB operating conditions of a lab-scale unit with 10 columns. The design was validated with rate model simulations prior to experiments. The experimental results show 99.9% purity and 99% yield, which closely agree with the model predictions and the standing wave design targets. The agreement proves that the standing wave design can ensure high purity and high yield for the tandem SMB process. Compared to a conventional batch SEC process, the tandem SMB has 10% higher yield, 400% higher throughput, and 72% lower eluant consumption. In contrast, a design that ignores the effects of mass transfer and nonideal flow cannot meet the purity requirement and gives less than 96% yield.