As much as we've all heard about carbon footprints, few of us know about water footprints. In addition to the regular water we associate with food and beverages, there is something called "virtual water." That's the water it actually takes to manufacture or grow something to the point where we use it, eat it, wear it or do something else with it. Check out the blog to read more.
In today’s climate of global economics, whether you are a small family business or a multi-national corporation, businesses need to be efficient to be profitable. This concept applies equally to the operation of heavy industrial plants, such as for chemical processing, power generation, mineral/metals processing and pulp & paper mills. With today’s global markets and regulations, it only further challenges a company’s operations and profitability.
Piping leaks and failures lead to unplanned downtime and lost revenue. Depending on the size of the plant and the produced products, a plant may have the potential to lose from $50,000 to $1,000,000 in a single day if a piping failure occurs that causes a production unit or entire plant to come down. These events are all too frequent and totally unacceptable to plant management. This situation tends to put a lot of pressure on operations and the reliability team.
In many cases, piping failures could have been prevented. Many of these problems can be tracked back to as early as material specification or in the design phase of a capital project. Understanding the full range of potential operating conditions is critical. Selection of materials of construction is equally important. Materials should be selected to handle a reasonable range of operation and fluctuation of chemistry. While it is understood that material selection has a direct bearing on the project budget, similarly it should be understood that the selection of marginally performing materials, can have an impact on plant operations. Shortsighted material selections may be attractive initially, but can lead to early reliability issues if piping systems are operated on the boundary of a materials true capability. Plants are rarely operated as precisely as assumed in the process design phase.
The initial savings in construction can quickly be lost in a few years. Premature failures due to poor material selection or other early choices can be frustrating for the reliability team and impactful on operations. With plants demanding higher efficiencies to stay competitive in a global marketplace, it is important to thoroughly evaluate each choice to be sure that every decision is supporting the plant’s priorities.
When evaluating a project, materials of construction can be an easy target for trimming the budget. Unfortunately, not every engineering company or Plant Owner is able to maintain a qualified subject matter expert (SME) in the field of non-metallic materials of construction to assist in weighing out the pros and cons of material evaluations and decision making. Without an experienced and trusted support team, engineers and managers are left to do more with less….a common theme these days. It is important to see the entire picture clearly and with complete data as well. I would urge Project Engineers and Plant Owners to make the extra effort to reach out to find the best technical resources to make informed decisions to best meet the priorities of the plant. The extra effort will serve your priorities well.
If you’re looking for more information about the kind of work Maverick Applied Science does, check out our various projects.
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