Challenge/Solution Case Study:
Streamlining Equipment Configuration for Advanced Adhesives Manufacturer
Unique designs for novel material loading equipment and fiber optic light fixtures for an advanced adhesives manufacturer were developed below budget, and EFI Group provides ongoing continuous improvement engineering to optimize equipment performance with specific materials.
After an explosion during mixer loading, a corporate mandate to prevent future explosions required the client to find and install equipment that would load their 20 mixers without adding oxygen. The mixers ranged from 40 to 850 gallons in size, some under full vacuum.
The solution could not increase batch cycle time and needed to handle over 120 different powders with a wide variety of material properties, as well as solvents and pastes.
To further complicate the matter, raw materials quantities varied from ounces to drums per batch. Plus, installation needed to be ergonomically friendly for technicians and maintenance staff.
The project scope focused on design and project engineering, and included:
- Research and development of equipment options for client consideration and selection.
- Engineering support to implement an inerting system and O2-free, powder-charging equipment to each mixer including all utilities and controls interface.
- Mechanical, structural, architectural and electrical design, plus permitting of a vacuum pump mechanical penthouse.
- Design of a plant-wide vacuum header system.
- Preparation of detailed specifications and bid packages.
- Support for engineering design review and process hazard analysis meetings.
- Completion of as-built Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs).
EFI Group approached the project in three phases, with a separate cost estimate and project schedule for each phase:
EFI Group performed the research and development of product charging equipment options. EFI Group obtained material properties data, discussed batch-loading issues with process engineers, identified and tested commercially available equipment, and even invented equipment solutions of our own incorporating a commercial system with road-tested success at similar plants.
EFI Group developed design standards by focusing on two select mixers. Based on experience applying the equipment to the target mixers, EFI Group then developed the approach and design standards for the remaining mixers. Standards included: mixer head nozzle addition details and welding procedures; additional vents and sight glass ports; isolation valves, hangers, guards, control panel supports, utility tie-in details and line sizing; rupture disc relief line calculations and relocations; access platforms; and fabricated part details. EFI Group led a cross-functional design team to address the concerns of process engineers and operation technicians, and to reduce the impact on product requalification.
EFI Group completed system implementation by applying design standards to the remaining mixers. The implementation included plant engineering of facility requirements for: a pump room penthouse and expedited building permit, evaluating plant compressed air, nitrogen, and cooling water capacity for equipment additions and designing a plant-wide vacuum header system. Project documentation included P&ID drawings; bid specs and meetings; sequences of operation; meeting minutes; and progress reports.
- General arrangement configuration drawings for each mixer, as well as part fabrication drawings.
- Completed current P&ID and sub-assembly drawings, as well as sequence of operation narratives.
- Detailed construction drawings of the vacuum pumps penthouse and header distribution system.
- Electronic and hard copies of all project documentation: reports, schedules, summaries, etc.