June 19, 2015
The constrictive design space seen within today's chemical plants has many advantages. Compact gear is precisely manufactured to offer tight geometrical outlines that maximize serviceable space. New vessel design technology allows petroleum facilities and pumping stations to occupy smaller areas without compromising tightly regulated safety factors. In fact, pipeline design and installation is slowly undergoing a massive paradigm shift away from assembling these compact assemblies on-site. Instead, the compact design philosophy taking shape at the moment has taken on a modular approach. Skid-mounted designs, factory-built assemblies that incorporate all necessary process equipment in one package, are becoming the de facto answer to installation issues, meaning the local environment is no longer a delimiting construction barrier.
A skid-mounted process system is a construction block within a larger system, a smaller though no less crucial processing segment within the whole. Imagine a day when the incremental growth of a chemical plant or petroleum processing facility is a thing of the past, where the growth of the processing gear doesn't happen with mind-numbing slowness. Gone would be the logistics of assigning work crews to assemble the infrastructure one week and bring in a separate team to weld pipes and heat exchangers in place the next work period. Instead, we turn to block-based or modular construction ethics with the skid-mounted design. Every vessel and fit out component is welded in place at the factory, tested and evaluated within this controlled setting, and then packed for transportation. It's a little like having access to a "system in a box," and the benefits of the approach are numerous.
Firstly, parallel fabrication is suddenly possible. The skid-mounted block begins life as a steel framework on the factory floor. Meanwhile, work proceeds apace at the installation point, with associated pipes and cables put in place at the construction site without workers getting in each other’s way. The vessels and operational components, spooling and instrumentation equipment is then layered on top of the skid framework, turning the skeleton of this rectangular outline into a functional processing block. All that's left now is to test the gear at the point of its fabrication. Then, out the door goes the skid, a frame that's designed for easy freight haulage and simple incorporation into the overall plant equipment.
The block-design or modular fabrication philosophy is currently redefining process system interoperability within all industries. Factory acceptance testing (FAT) is a primary advantage of the technique, naturally, but so is design sustainability, the knowledge that factory-approved materials are always on hand, meaning no hold ups as the construction site waits for materials, and no question regarding the quality of those materials. Instead, logistics and engineering design quandaries are resolved within one compact skid. And skid-mounted blocks aren't limited to process blocks. It's possible to create these three-dimensional frames with an entire plant in place or with electric generator units, gear that can be hooked up to the on-site construction point in a remarkably short period.
Customised to fit any customer's individual needs, the reduced footprint of skid mounted equipment maximizes productivity through parallelism and keeps the manufacturing factory tightly within the construction equation.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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