Pilot plant price varies with every application. The main cost determinate involves how large and complicated the process design is. The more process steps involved, the more equipment, design work and fabrication time required. Some factors that may have major price effects are:
- The operating conditions required for your process. Extreme highs or lows in pressure, temperature or flow rates require specialized equipment and more complicated systems to keep under control. This inevitably increases costs.
- The chemicals and materials of construction involved. Unusual materials of construction are expensive and may be required to avoid equipment corrosion for highly hazardous chemicals.
- Data collection and process control. Pilot plants offer a great opportunity to collect process data and experiment with your process controls. However, the more you measure, and the more precisely you control the process, the more expensive the system becomes.
- Production levels. Your planned level of output affects system size, complexity and cost. Though not a linear equation, larger required output is often more expensive.
- Required Utilities. Are the required utilities (electricity, nitrogen, steam, etc.) available at levels that can accommodate the new system? If not, on-site modifications may be required or additional equipment may need to be integrated, which can add costs.
Factors That Raise the Cost of a Process System
Listed below are a few of the factors that have a major effect on the cost of a process system. When you seek out pricing from process design and build firms, these are the areas to examine and discuss.
The explanations below gloss over some of the finer details that complicate things, but they are a good jumping off point for understanding cost drivers and process design trade-offs. An experienced design build firm should be able to help you thoroughly understand where adjustments can be made to reach your budget and process design goals.
Process System Cost Factors:
- Application complexity – a more complex process has more equipment requirements, engineering design and modeling, and more complicated programming. Each of these drives up cost but may be required to make the process system work properly. However, some applications can be simplified or unit operations can possibly be removed depending on what you are trying to do. This is an area that can be discussed with your process designer.
- Process Conditions– High temperatures and high pressures also drive price up. The more difficult or unusual the process conditions, the higher cost will be. Examples of situations that will drive up temperature and pressure costs include high viscosity fluids, particulates/slurries, non-Newtonian fluids, and degree of difficulty of separation (if required). Operating under a vacuum, for example, can sometimes lower required temperature inputs, but is not always appropriate. Narrowing critical ranges, splitting up certain operations, or changing selected unit operations can also sometimes help in this area.
Download Cost Factors Guide
Our pilot plant cost factors guide covers:
- The 14 factors that drive up the cost of pilot plant projects, including:
- Application complexity
- Process conditions
- Instrumentation selection
- and more
- Plus, 7 ways to reduce costs during a pilot plant project
Pilot Plants Designed & Built By EPIC
A pilot-scale distillation system allowed the client to test various system parameters and prove a new CO2 removal technology. CO2 was removed from flue gas in a two-step distillation process. The design, fabrication and installation of the pilot process systems was handled turnkey by EPIC. More about this distillation system…
Key Features: Pilot plants weight – 39,000 lbs. Height – 51 feet tall, dual packed distillation columns, DeltaV DCS, Class 1, Div 1
An automotive chemicals client approached EPIC about upgrading an existing pilot plant to an increased level of automation and added formulation capabilities. EPIC performed automation upgrades, added new processing steps, and programmed a new batch management software. These upgrades resulted in a 60% production increase.
Key Features: Batch reaction process, automated batching controls, process module automation, chemical pilot plants.
“I value their exploration of new technology and find long term value in this company, not just for one-off projects. EPIC’s project managers keep open communication and have our trust. We know that they can do more than just get the job done; they can get it done right. We collaborate with inventive thinking based on efficiency and do not simply rely on what worked before for another client for pilot process systems.” – Senior Process Engineer, Fortune 100 Agri-Chem Company.
Pilot Plant Planning Sheet
This planning guide covers:
- The areas to request RFQ pricing for when specifying a new pilot plant project, including:
- Process objectives
- Key feed composition characteristics
- Instrumentation specifications
- Utilities scope
- and more
Download the full planner below. An experienced pilot plant engineer can help you fill out the planner and determine project scope. Please contact EPIC 314-714-1580 to talk to one of our pilot plant experts.
The custom pilot skids we build can incorporate virtually any set of unit operations or process applications. We work with you to optimize, scale-up and refine your process flow during pilot process systems design. The common process applications we see include:
- Batch or continuous
- Batch or continuous
- Solvent Recovery
- Steam stripping
- Particle Sizing
Common industries we build pilot plants for include:
- Industrial chemicals
- Agricultural chemicals
- Alternative fuels
- Emerging process technologies
- Consumer products
- Food and beverage
Next Steps: Getting Custom Pilot Process Systems
Getting your custom pilot plant design starts by reaching out to EPIC to discuss your specific application. We thoroughly discuss your technical, commercial and operational goals for the project. With both engineering and fabrication teams under one roof, we are a one-stop shop for pilot plant design and fabrication. Specializing in process scale-up, we follow our proven method to deliver successful pilot modules. Our process is:
- Discuss the technical, commercial and operational aspects of your project with us. Contact an Engineer 314-714-1580.
- Pricing and quote development – We provide a range of estimates from quick Rough Order Magnitudes (ROMs) to fixed bid full Front-End Engineering (FEL) packages.
- Design your custom pilot plant, simulation of process technologies to find optimized process system design. Material balances, process flow diagrams, operating conditions and limits, piping and instrumentation diagrams, etc. generated along with complete models.
- Automation and controls design begins and continues through assembly and fabrication. Varying levels of automation can be applied depending on your needs, from nearly manual to fully automated.
- Assembly and fabrication is completed in EPIC’s plant. Our professional craftsmen work under controlled conditions to produce the highest quality skids.
- Full testing is completed on all pilot skids at EPIC’s facility. This includes equipment and controls testing, as well as special safety tests as needed. Modules arrive at your facility fully tested and ready to go.
- Shipping and installation of pilot plants at your facility. Our team comes to you with a fully tested pilot plant ready to be installed and integrated into your facility. Complete integration of a new system takes an average of three days to complete, including punch-list and turnover.
- On-going support is provided as you run your pilot plant on an as-needed basis. Questions, concerns or future system adjustments, EPIC is there for you.