A new product launch depended on the execution of a fast plant upgrade. EPIC teamed with a consumer products company’s R&D department to engineer an efficient project management plan. An innovative modular design met the customer’s ambitious timeline and brought the product to market on schedule.
CLIENT: Fortune 500 Company
INDUSTRY: Consumer Products
KEY ENGINEERING FEATURES:
- Plant upgrade– existing equipment retrofitted for increased product demand
- Hastelloy components for process piping, pumps, valves and tanks
- Food grade sanitary requirements
- Thermal design, including heat jacketed tanks and electrically heat traced process piping
- Integration with existing plant utilities, feed water, process steam, and electricity
- Modular process design– allowed civil work to be completed while the process plant was being built at EPIC’s facility
- Civil design and construction management
- Expedited project timeline achieved through collaboration– The client’s R& D department received clearance to build the line just months before major brand re-launch. EPIC worked with R&D to scale-up the process quickly to meet the condensed timeline with expedited project execution.
- Tight physical footprint – The client would face sizable facility expansion costs if EPIC could not fit the process plant within the given available footprint.
- Metallurgy selection– During the making process, the chemicals involved can become corrosive when heat and pressure are
- Long lead times for specialized Hastelloy process equipment
Front-End Engineering Design
The client’s R&D group developed a new antiperspirant formula and making method to help redefine the product. They needed to scale-up quickly, so they partnered with EPIC on the process design, fabrication and installation.
During EPIC’s Front-End-Engineering (FEED) stage, the combined team of EPIC’s process engineers and the client’s R&D product experts completed basic process flow diagrams and selected the appropriate metallurgy for the project. The unique product expertise from the client was complimented by EPIC’s knowledge of process design for manufacturing environments. Collaboration over the course of the project was the key to successfully launching the product on time.
The client knew that selecting the metallurgy to be used in the process was a critical aspect and had to be determined during FEE. The process must be run at high temperatures and the chemistry of the process is corrosive in nature. Normal stainless steel can corrode, causing heavy metal contaminates in the product stream. Hastelloy, a highly corrosion-resistant super-alloy, was selected as the best solution to handle the acidic chemistry of the process.
The client required that the process plant be located within a tight physical footprint. During the FEE stage, EPIC visited the client’s facility to understand the size requirements for the process system and locate utilities. After the site visits were completed, the team determined the amount of civil work necessary, utility tie-ins and the path of the process piping (the path from the process plant to the filler).
A detailed process flow diagram was established, followed by equipment selection. P&ID’s were drafted and the client was given a defined set of parameters for project completion.
Traditional quoting methods require a quick turnaround and could miss important elements for highly technical process systems. Critical determinations are often missed that directly affect the remainder of the project. The more complex the processes technology, the more engineering is required in the front end to ensure project success.
With the launch of the new formula only months away, project completion required efficient project management. While working under a strict project timeline, the client had a direct line of communication to EPIC’s engineering team. EPIC’s lead project manager held responsibility for all project stages, from design through fabrication & installation. EPIC provided a turnkey process plant that consisted of a multi-tank batch manufacturing process.
The multi-tank process plant melted solids, then combined the liquid product with a propriety water-based solution. Each tank is heat jacketed to keep the mixture fluid throughout the process. Once the mixture has passed through several processing steps, it travels through heat jacketed piping to the filler. EPIC made alterations to the filler to accommodate the corrosive nature of the new formula.
The modular design/build approach was the only possible solution to ensure on-time project completion. The site and civil work were underway congruently with the fabrication of the process plant at EPIC’s facility. The traditional stick-built method requires civil site work to be completed before process plant construction begins. Not only does the modular design/build approach streamline project completion, but it allows the project to be manufactured in a controlled environment.
The limited plant real estate was another aspect of the project where the modular/design approach added value. To integrate the process plant into an existing facility, EPIC’s design team had to think creatively when designing the piping and equipment layout.
EPIC’s team was on-site throughout the installation process as a resource for plant staff. EPIC’s turnkey approach and modular process solution allowed the client to launch the new formula on time and to meet expected consumer demands.
- Product launch completed on time
- Project costs kept under control by upgrading existing plant and fitting the new system within a tight physical footprint through modular design
- Future costs reduced by including process flexibility to accommodate increased product demand. The client will not need a new system or expanded capacity as demand increases over the next several years