Industrial facilities are always looking for ways to improve performance and productivity. One very effective way to do just that is by consulting with a process engineer. Process engineers can help companies debottleneck their operations, optimize performance, reduce labor costs, and make the most of maintenance and upgrades. Let’s take a closer look at how process engineering helps accomplish these goals.
What Is Process Engineering?
Process engineering is an engineering discipline that was first developed in the 1960s and that today helps companies, organizations, and individuals worldwide improve design processes, operations, process controls, and process optimization strategies. On its most basic level process engineering simply looks for ways to do things better through the use of engineering principles. Process engineering has a very wide range of application across many different industries and sectors and uses diverse methods and technologies. A sub-discipline of process engineering known as process systems engineering focuses on the use of systematic computer-based methods to attain results.
What Areas of a Facility’s Operations does Process Engineering Seek to Improve?
Process engineering uses different methods and technologies to improve performance in different industries and sectors. Thus, what is a relevant, useful area of improvement for one given facility may have no application in another. However, the four broad areas that process engineering typically analyzes for potential improvement include the following:
- Process Design
- Process Operations
- Process Control
- Supporting Tools
Process design refers to optimizing the design and structure of a given operation or process to ensure that is effective in theory. Meanwhile, process operations deals with the actual application and operation of that design, ensuring that the execution is optimized. Process control seeks to make the process more consistent and reliable. Finally, supporting tools aims to improve and optimize ancillary tools and systems that are in place to assist the process.
What Are the Benefits of Process Engineering?
Once again the exact way a given facility or industry will benefit from process engineering consulting will vary depending on that facility and the areas where it most needed improvement. However, some general types of improvements that are often seen thanks to process engineering may include any or all of the following:
- An increase in product output
- A reduction in labor costs
- The development and implementation of new systems
- An elimination of operation bottlenecks
- A reduction in product defects
- An improvement in overall product consistency
- An overall enhancement in product quality
- The ability of a facility to meet deadlines and stay within budget
- A better utilization of resources and materials
- The ability to achieve targeted improvements or benchmarks
- A conservation of energy and power
- An improvement in overall efficiency, speed, and profitability
First and foremost process engineering is about problem solving and addressing the particular issues that are of concern for the give facility. It is never a one-size-fits-all model because by its very nature it seeks to take a deep look at individual systems and analytically determine how best to make improvements. This means that each client benefits in different ways.
Polaris is an industry leader in process engineering and it was one of the core disciplines our firm was founded on. We are committed to helping clients across all industries and sectors find ways to optimize their facilities through the use process engineering.