Home / Blog / Engineering : Why Plant Expansions Call for Engineering Services

Any business expansion requires forethought and careful consideration before the investment of capital. When it comes to expanding an industrial plant, there may be even more issues to study, but there are a number of important reasons to consider plant expansions. The addition of new equipment and upgrades in technology, as well as changes in the layout of the facility, can improve workplace efficiency and safety. This, in turn, boosts productivity and should increase the stability of the bottom line. In some cases, existing facilities are simply unable to keep pace with the amount of work required. Some plants become too old to remain operational without an expansion or renovation. In all of these situations, the best approach to overcoming problems and improving business is to implement the upgrades that are a natural part of expansion.

Why Engineers Should Be Part of the Construction Team

In the construction field, there are some projects that are more complex and involved than others. The expansion of operational plants is one of these. A great deal of preparatory work goes into this type of project in order to avoid the disruption of daily operations. For example, the creation of detailed plans and the development of a carefully coordinated schedule are two aspects of the project that can be completed while the plant is still operational. Adding to the complication of this task is the need for enhanced safety measures. Engineering professionals are called in to create the plans and timelines that will keep the plant shutdown to a limited amount of time. The complexity involved in plant expansions calls for the expertise and detailed focus made possible through engineering services.

The Correct Application of Engineering Principles in Plant Expansions

As engineering professionals become involved in this type of construction project, the facility has the potential to reach new heights in productivity and profit-earning. A good example of how the specialized skills of engineers are used to direct an expansion to its full potential involves the use of equipment. Much of the equipment used requires specialized skill and the construction of temporary support structures. As much of this construction goes on while the plant is in operation, the need for new safety protocols emerges. From the design of scaffolding to the creation of safety plans, engineering principles are required. Engineers focus on confirming appropriate safety margins and studying out the most effective methods of operation within those margins.

Meeting Full Plant Expansion Potential

What are some of the specifics that engineering services oversee?

The expansion of plants often involves extending the reach of areas such as control rooms and motor control centers. Plant growth might also include paving new roads and work areas, increasing warehouse space, and strengthening the durability of concrete foundations. These projects involve much more than the extension of space. Temperature control, access to technology, the depth of foundations, and many other factors are involved.

The detailed work involved in applying protective coatings is a crucial part of the renovation. This involves removing existing coatings, making repairs as necessary, and prepping metal surfaces to accept new coatings. Engineers select the correct substances for use throughout various areas of the plant. Some construction may require heat resistant coatings while other areas involve the use of color coding.

The design of electrical equipment is also crucial. Engineers oversee the use of electrical distribution equipment through hazardous areas of the plant, such as those that exist in the petrochemical industry. A careful balance must be made in determining when and where electricity is accessible and where workers are protected from electrical hazards. Engineering services are helpful in the development and implantation of plans that promote expansion efficiency and worker safety.

Many expansions involve the removal of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, formaldehyde, nitric oxide, and any of the other toxic industrial chemicals. The careful removal of these substances is vital as they can often persist in the environment if not appropriate contained and used. Human exposure to those hazardous materials can result long-term and devastating effects. The safety of individuals is protected best when engineers oversee the safe containment and removal of the substances.

Ensure Future Success

An industrial plant or utility company that faces an expansion should carefully consider the value of engineering services and professionals. Before expansion and renovation work begins, engineers offer crucial planning and design services related to mechanical fabrication, support structures, the installation of electrical systems, and more. Productivity, profitability, and ongoing safety can be improved when engineering services such as those offered by Polaris are a major part of the plant expansion.

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