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A chemical plant is an industrial process plant that manufactures or otherwise processes chemicals , usually on a large scale. Other kinds of plants, such as polymer, pharmaceutical, food, and some beverage production facilities, power plants , oil refineries or other refineries , natural gas processing and biochemical plants, water and wastewater treatment, and pollution control equipment use many technologies that have similarities to chemical plant technology such as fluid systems and chemical reactor systems.
Some would consider an oil refinery or a pharmaceutical or polymer manufacturer to be effectively a chemical plant. Petrochemical plants plants using chemicals from petroleum as a raw material or feedstock are usually located adjacent to an oil refinery to minimize transportation costs for the feedstocks produced by the refinery. Speciality chemical  and fine chemical plants are usually much smaller and not as sensitive to location. Tools have been developed for converting a base project cost from one geographic location to another.
Chemical plants use chemical processes , which are detailed industrial-scale methods, to transform feedstock chemicals into products. The same chemical process can be used at more than one chemical plant, with possibly differently scaled capacities at each plant. Also, a chemical plant at a site may be constructed to utilize more than one chemical process, for instance to produce multiple products.
A chemical plant commonly has usually large vessels or sections called units or lines that are interconnected by piping or other material-moving equipment which can carry streams of material. Such material streams can include fluids gas or liquid carried in piping or sometimes solids or mixtures such as slurries.
An overall chemical process is commonly made up of steps called unit operations which occur in the individual units. A raw material going into a chemical process or plant as input to be converted into a product is commonly called a feedstock , or simply feed. In addition to feedstocks for the plant as a whole, an input stream of material to be processed in a particular unit can similarly be considered feed for that unit.
Output streams from the plant as a whole are final products and sometimes output streams from individual units may be considered intermediate products for their units. However, final products from one plant may be intermediate chemicals used as feedstock in another plant for further processing.
For example, some products from an oil refinery may used as feedstock in petrochemical plants, which may in turn produce feedstocks for pharmaceutical plants.
Either the feedstock s , the product s , or both may be individual compounds or mixtures. It is often not worthwhile separating the components in these mixtures completely; specific levels of purity depend on product requirements and process economics.
Chemical processes may be run in continuous or batch operation. In batch operation, production occurs in time-sequential steps in discrete batches. A batch of feedstock s is fed or charged into a process or unit, then the chemical process takes place, then the product s and any other outputs are removed.
Such batch production may be repeated over again and again with new batches of feedstock. Batch operation is commonly used in smaller scale plants such as pharmaceutical or specialty chemicals production, for purposes of improved traceability as well as flexibility.
Continuous plants are usually used to manufacture commodity or petrochemicals while batch plants are more common in speciality and fine chemical production as well as pharmaceutical active ingredient API manufacture. In continuous operation, all steps are ongoing continuously in time. During usual continuous operation, the feeding and product removal are ongoing streams of moving material, which together with the process itself, all take place simultaneously and continuously.
Chemical plants or units in continuous operation are usually in a steady state or approximate steady state. Steady state means that quantities related to the process do not change as time passes during operation. Such constant quantities include stream flow rates , heating or cooling rates, temperatures , pressures , and chemical compositions at any given point location.
Continuous operation is more efficient in many large scale operations like petroleum refineries. It is possible for some units to operate continuously and others be in batch operation in a chemical plant; for example, see Continuous distillation and Batch distillation. The amount of primary feedstock or product per unit of time which a plant or unit can process is referred to as the capacity of that plant or unit.
For examples: the capacity of an oil refinery may be given in terms of barrels of crude oil refined per day; alternatively chemical plant capacity may be given in tons of product produced per day.
In actual daily operation, a plant or unit will operate at a percentage of its full capacity. Specific unit operations are conducted in specific kinds of units. Although some units may operate at ambient temperature or pressure, many units operate at higher or lower temperatures or pressures.
Vessels in chemical plants are often cylindrical with rounded ends, a shape which can be suited to hold either high pressure or vacuum. Chemical reactions can convert certain kinds of compounds into other compounds in chemical reactors. Chemical reactors may be packed beds and may have solid heterogeneous catalysts which stay in the reactors as fluids move through, or may simply be stirred vessels in which reactions occur.
Since the surface of solid heterogeneous catalysts may sometimes become "poisoned" from deposits such as coke , regeneration of catalysts may be necessary.
Fluidized beds may also be used in some cases to ensure good mixing. There can also be units or subunits for mixing including dissolving , separation , heating, cooling, or some combination of these. For example, chemical reactors often have stirring for mixing and heating or cooling to maintain temperature. When designing plants on a large scale, heat produced or absorbed by chemical reactions must be considered.
Some plants may have units with organism cultures for biochemical processes such as fermentation or enzyme production. Separation processes include filtration , settling sedimentation , extraction or leaching, distillation , recrystallization or precipitation followed by filtration or settling , reverse osmosis , drying , and adsorption. Heat exchangers are often used for heating or cooling, including boiling or condensation , often in conjunction with other units such as distillation towers.
There may also be storage tanks for storing feedstock, intermediate or final products, or waste. Storage tanks commonly have level indicators to show how full they are. There may be structures holding or supporting sometimes massive units and their associated equipment. There are often stairs, ladders, or other steps for personnel to reach points in the units for sampling, inspection, or maintenance. An area of a plant or facility with numerous storage tanks is sometimes called a tank farm , especially at an oil depot.
Fluid systems for carrying liquids and gases include piping and tubing of various diameter sizes, various types of valves for controlling or stopping flow, pumps for moving or pressurizing liquid, and compressors for pressurizing or moving gases.
Vessels, piping, tubing, and sometimes other equipment at high or very low temperature are commonly covered with insulation for personnel safety and to maintain temperature inside. Fluid systems and units commonly have instrumentation such as temperature and pressure sensors and flow measuring devices at select locations in a plant.
Online analyzers for chemical or physical property analysis have become more common. Solvents can sometimes be used to dissolve reactants or materials such as solids for extraction or leaching, to provide a suitable medium for certain chemical reactions to run, or so they can otherwise be treated as fluids. Today, the fundamental aspects of designing chemical plants are done by chemical engineers. Historically, this was not always the case and many chemical plants were constructed in a haphazard way before the discipline of chemical engineering became established.
Chemical engineering was first established as a profession in the United Kingdom when the first chemical engineering course was given at the University of Manchester in by George E.
Davis in the form of twelve lectures covering various aspects of industrial chemical practice. Davis is regarded as the World's first Chemical Engineer. Today Chemical Engineering is a profession and those Professional Chemical Engineers with experience can gain "Chartered" engineer status through the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
In plant design, typically less than 1 per cent of ideas for new designs ever become commercialized. During this solution process, typically, cost studies are used as an initial screening to eliminate unprofitable designs. If a process appears profitable, then other factors are considered, such as safety, environmental constraints, controllability, etc. Many times chemists research chemical reactions or other chemical principles in a laboratory , commonly on a small scale in a "batch-type" experiment.
Chemistry information obtained is then used by chemical engineers, along with expertise of their own, to convert to a chemical process and scale up the batch size or capacity. Commonly, a small chemical plant called a pilot plant is built to provide design and operating information before construction of a large plant. From data and operating experience obtained from the pilot plant, a scaled-up plant can be designed for higher or full capacity.
After the fundamental aspects of a plant design are determined, mechanical or electrical engineers may become involved with mechanical or electrical details, respectively. Structural engineers may become involved in the plant design to ensure the structures can support the weight of the units, piping, and other equipment.
The units, streams, and fluid systems of chemical plants or processes can be represented by block flow diagrams which are very simplified diagrams, or process flow diagrams which are somewhat more detailed. The streams and other piping are shown as lines with arrow heads showing usual direction of material flow. In block diagrams, units are often simply shown as blocks. Process flow diagrams may use more detailed symbols and show pumps, compressors, and major valves.
Likely values or ranges of material flow rates for the various streams are determined based on desired plant capacity using material balance calculations. Energy balances are also done based on heats of reaction , heat capacities , expected temperatures and pressures at various points to calculate amounts of heating and cooling needed in various places and to size heat exchangers. In the plant design, the units are sized for the maximum capacity each may have to handle.
Similarly, sizes for pipes, pumps, compressors, and associated equipment are chosen for the flow capacity they have to handle. Utility systems such as electric power and water supply should also be included in the plant design. Additional piping lines for non-routine or alternate operating procedures, such as plant or unit startups and shutdowns, may have to be included.
Fluid systems design commonly includes isolation valves around various units or parts of a plant so that a section of a plant could be isolated in case of a problem such as a leak in a unit. If pneumatically or hydraulically actuated valves are used, a system of pressurizing lines to the actuators is needed. Any points where process samples may have to be taken should have sampling lines, valves, and access to them included in the detailed design.
If necessary, provisions should be made for reducing high pressure or temperature of a sampling stream, such including a pressure reducing valve or sample cooler.
Units and fluid systems in the plant including all vessels, piping, tubing, valves, pumps, compressors, and other equipment must be rated or designed to be able to withstand the entire range of pressures, temperatures, and other conditions which they could possibly encounter, including any appropriate safety factors. All such units and equipment should also be checked for materials compatibility to ensure they can withstand long-term exposure to the chemicals they will come in contact with.
Any closed system in a plant which has a means of pressurizing possibly beyond the rating of its equipment, such as heating, exothermic reactions, or certain pumps or compressors, should have an appropriately sized pressure relief valve included to prevent overpressurization for safety.
Frequently all of these parameters temperatures, pressures, flow, etc. Within any constraints the plant is subject to, design parameters are optimized for good economic performance while ensuring safety and welfare of personnel and the surrounding community. For flexibility, a plant may be designed to operate in a range around some optimal design parameters in case feedstock or economic conditions change and re-optimization is desirable.
In more modern times, computer simulations or other computer calculations have been used to help in chemical plant design or optimization. In process control , information gathered automatically from various sensors or other devices in the plant is used to control various equipment for running the plant, thereby controlling operation of the plant. Instruments receiving such information signals and sending out control signals to perform this function automatically are process controllers.
Previously, pneumatic controls were sometimes used. Electrical controls are now common. A plant often has a control room with displays of parameters such as key temperatures, pressures, fluid flow rates and levels, operating positions of key valves, pumps and other equipment, etc.
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What is Engineering? | Types of Engineering
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HVAC systems in large plants: solving 5 common issues
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Process Design Costello designs mini refinery plants using both new and refurbished process units, many using a skid-mounted modular structure, installed on concrete slab foundations. Costello designs mini-refinery plants using both new and refurbished process units, many using a skid-mounted modular structure, installed on concrete-slab foundations. Smaller unit operations are made possible by modular mini-plant designs, translate into a more compact plant with; and have less structural steel, piping, conduit and wire. The of the equipment may even allow savings on concrete foundations. Overall, modular or mini-plants means less-expensive plants with smaller footprints. Designing mini-refineries from the simplest straight run diesel production plants to more sophisticated hydro-treating refineries are increasingly becoming a flexible and cost-effective option for fuel producers in smaller, less-accessible areas. In this niche market there is a need to adapt rapidly to satisfy local fuel needs. With new oil fields being discovered all the time, these plants can be easily moved from one location to the next or transformed into larger or redesigned plants.
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Among the characteristics of a company that shape corporate and therefore manufacturing strategy are its dominant orientation market or product , pattern of diversification product, market, or process , attitude toward growth acceptance of low growth rate , and choice between competitive strategies high profit margins versus high output volumes. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, […]. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, the manufacturing arm of a company must arrange its structure and management so as to reinforce these corporate aims. When they are operating smoothly, they are almost invisible. But manufacturing is getting increasing attention from business managers who, only a few years ago, were preoccupied with marketing or financial matters. The fact is that in most companies the great bulk of the assets used—the capital invested, the people employed, and management time—are in the operations side of the business. This is true of both manufacturing and service organizations, in both the private and public sectors of our economy. The problems and pressures facing manufacturing companies ultimately find their way to the factory floor, where managers have to deal with them through some sort of organizational structure.
Structural Engineers: Roles and Responsibilities
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Engineering and maintenance
RELCO's dedicated engineering design expertise and focus on sanitary liquid flow, evaporation, drying, cheese manufacturing and powder handling and packaging provides customers with efficient, innovative food processing systems and equipment. Timmerhaus, Ronald E. Chapters cover typical heat and mass transfer systems and equipment included in a. Examples of plant layout and design Principles of plant layout and design will apply to most industrial situations. Line Designation Tables 8. Engineers engaged, or who plan to be engaged, in surface water treatment plant design. People who searched for Plant Engineer: Salary, Duties, Requirements and Outlook found the articles, information, and resources on this page helpful. It shows the activities and deliverables of the Plant Layout discipline. Water and Wastewater Engineering KCI provides a variety of services for the development and upgrade of water and wastewater systems. Easy, reliable operations, and.
The role of the structural engineer is a key component in the construction process. Part of the wider discipline of civil engineering, structural engineering is concerned with the design and physical integrity of buildings and other large structures, like tunnels and bridges. Structural engineers have wide range of responsibilities - not least a duty to ensure the safety and durability of the project on which they are working.
Engineering is the application of science and math to solve problems. Engineers figure out how things work and find practical uses for scientific discoveries. Scientists and inventors often get the credit for innovations that advance the human condition, but it is engineers who are instrumental in making those innovations available to the world.
A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, usually consisting of buildings and machinery, or more commonly a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacture goods or operate machines processing one product into another. Factories arose with the introduction of machinery during the Industrial Revolution when the capital and space requirements became too great for cottage industry or workshops. Early factories that contained small amounts of machinery, such as one or two spinning mules , and fewer than a dozen workers have been called "glorified workshops".
Mechanical and plant engineering — premium materials for state-of-the-art processing technologies. For the engineering sector, accessing new markets is a challenge because the playing field is changing.