Project Engineering of Process Plants

Project Engineering of Process Plants

(Parte 3 de 10)

14 Project Engineering of Process Plants can :it 1ca.t hc l~redirtrrl irom historical data. Indubtries niuring into relati\-el? nex areas oiten fail to consider the posribility of other plants fi~llo\ving suit. The quantity of ~viltcr s1111ply sliould 110t only be ade- quate for inture riecils of the prol111sed plant in question. hut alsu :idequate for supplying the nnticil~aterl needs i~i other industrie~ that uliglit n~ore into the area. It is also desirable to mnsider alternate sonrces of supply that may be required as the preicrred water sources become delctcd.

In addition to having tl~c proper quantity of mter arailablc. the quality of xvater must also be stu~licrl. Clletnical and h:~cteriological

~xalnination uf the hvater dl indicate the extent of treatntent required nnrl aid in the development of n-ater cost figurrs for comparison with other 1oc;ltions. Possi1)ility of the (,ontamination of thc water source

I)? otlicr industries in the area should be anticipate~i. This contan- illation may consist oi only raising the temperuture of the water to sue11 a lr?-el that its use as a cooling rnediutn rvill be itrq10sbi1)le.

l'lit~ cl~cmical engineer is usually xell equipped to tnakc cost con- parism;. of various water supl~lics, hut he rarely ha': tlic background ncccssary to m:lke intclligent conclusions concerning the extent and relial~ility ui a particular supply. Such studies ilcscrvc tlic attention of n competent water consultant trained in geology and meteorology.

Waste Disposal and Noise Abatement

Tlic iorivaril-loo* engineer ~vill consider vaste disposal and noise al)ntenicnt just, as imp~~rtant in thinly populate~l areas as in a heavily populattd rity having spevial ordinances related to these ~~rol~lctns.

Sothing is $1 in~principle~l or injudicious as duniping waste in tllc atmosphere or in nrarby streariie. In addition to the moral or ethical c,insider:~ti~)ns, it is not el-m good economics. Eventually the com- m~~nity ~vill rise in indignation and impose laws which may be so burilrnsi,me tht profitable operation ~oulrl bc impossible. It be-

Iioovt,~ tliv engineer. tlit!reiore, to study tlic miste dispoiial and noise lruhlcms and to i.onsirlcr the ruethods and costs of an effective control program for each region being studied.

Plant Location 15

A detailed kno~vledgc of tlie quantity of power and steam required for the operation of thv projrrted pliint must be (htuineil i~rfurc tlir study can proceed. Tlie cod 01 :dl fuels avail;~hie in the area slii,ulrl he carefully analyzcd S:rtural gar: l~ipelinr. are making ;I rlicap gas available in many parts of the country. Industrial rates for natural ga. appear attractive, ht they mnst 11e ex:~tninrd carefully. Imlltstrics located remotely fri~nl tlw natural g;is snpply will 11e tile first to suffer slrould an interruption in pipcline service occur (17 an unduly cd<l winter cause a taxing of the facilities. Further, cl~tq rates for indus- tries in cities served by pipelines often only apply to sunlmer coniiitii~nz ml~en the demand is lo. In such cases, alternate iuel supply tiinst be available for the winter months.

Evaluation of power costs is greatly aided by the r:tdy coopratim nf local utility companies. Most of these org:inizations maintain staffs that specialize in industrial pmver. Tlic cost of produring power at the process plant n-liicll will include rriting-off the construction of a powr plant, is prrhaps more diffirult to d~.termine. It rill he l~aseil on t,lie iuel :~vail:il)l~, in t11c arc:, tl~c rmnp~ny's rxpe~ic~~c ~vitli other poxver generating operations, and particu1:rrly tlic eqirrit,rrce of u~i!~.

plants in the area.

It is ndrantage~~us if a progressive utility cotrlpany servils tllc region being considered. Even process plants generating tlieir oxn porver iirlrl it necessary because oi rapid espan9ion to purclinw large anlriunts of power from time to time. Only a dependable and mpidly gr~~aing utility system can supply such demands.


A large portion of the costs of any manufactured item is repreaentr~l

11y lal~or costs. Althuitgl~ 1:tbllr rates nrc inore nl more 11rro11iinp similar in n~ost parts oi the country, iactors su(,li as skill. labor t.rl:l- tims, and [lie gmcral wcliaw of tlir Inhoring forre affect Id~or pr~~h,. tivity and efficiency m:~tcri:tlly. Earli region being consid~red ior plant 111eatiun nlust 11e surveyed to rlcterriiinc the nvaili~l~ility and the skills oi tlie lallor market. Thc skills need not exactly coni~);~re wit11 those required by the process plant. This fact was tnost effectively rletnonstrated during the speculator influx of industry on the Guli Coast, rlf the United States. Chemical plant operating labor ans recruited from iormer refinery operating men and oil field workers, both groups of ~vliicl~ had experience which required the same degree of responsibility as that in the chetniral plant.

Maintenance tncn make up a large portion of any process plmt lnlmr force, and it is necessary that the crimmunity have availabl,, at least

16 Project Engineering of Process Plants

1 nucieui uf sue1 forces a> ell a; training facilities for proviilil~g nrn men.

The wage rates existing in a given conununity are i~nportaiit, but it,

~vould he a tlcfinitc mistake to plan on the continuation of lorcr rates indefinitely. The t,rend in tlie United States has been toward a gradual elimination of differences in wage rates betwrcn ~arious parts of tile country. Perhaps, a Inore important factor is tile stability of such rates in a com~nut~ity. Some communitier; have beeu notorious for xide fluctuations, a condition ~vhicb n~;tkc; c<nnpany planning ex- tremely difficult.

A further cotisideration is the history of labor unrest in the region.

Some cities in tlie United States, particularly the older industrial areas, have a history of lal~or unrest vhich began back in tlic days of earl? union organization and apparently has continued periodically to the present tinic. C'onfcrenccs ~ith other plant nianagers in the area and local onion officials n-ill aid in evaluating the general labor picture. A roufcrcnce >\-it11 local union representatires will also serve to begin the cstahlishn~ent of amiable relations. Talks with the managcmcnt of existing plants \,-ill yield data on the imllortant problem of lahor turn- over. A stable labor force is valuable in successful plant operation. A look at the liotnes of the laboring force in a counnu~~ity and knowledge of the percentage of home ownerships slrould give some clue to the contentment of the laboring group.

In addition to federal labor laws ~vhirh apply throughout the United States, various state? and. rmnmunities hare enacted law affecting labor relations and ivorkmen'.- cmnpen?ation. minimum age, and otllcr la~v-: related to lahor pmrtices. Tlrrsc l:~\v.i vary from rrgiou to region nncl competent legal advice is necessary for the porposc of interpreta- tion.


V'eatlier data for a numhcr of years sl~ould be assembled for each con~munity heing studied Particular attrntim ,sI~ould be given to severe eouditioni of ~vcathcr snch as hurricanes, eartl~quakcs, and floo~ls. These catastrophic events. 1vliic11 must be assumed as prob- able, increase construction cost. Extremely cold \yeather often Iiam- per;; lirocess plant operation and requires special construction features to protect iquiliment frotn freezing. Predominantly warm weather permits che;lpcr con?truction, but clas~ically it is said to reduce the dlicieney of a labor force. Suclr a conclusion must bc viewd wit11 rcq~ticisn~ ~vheu the production rceords of process plants on the hot and h~nnid Texas nnd Louisiana Gulf Coast are con~pnreil with those in otiw part? of the country.

C0.t. i~i Irrnti~y or air conditioning may be estimated using mather

Plant Location 17 data frotn former years and experiences of existing plants. Air con- ditioning in hot sections of tl~c country can no longer be ciinsidered a usu. Indeed, companies endeavoring to opcratc their office: nnil i control rooms vithout air conditioning \\-ill find it difficult to obtain or I keep employees.

I I Community Factors One of the most important aspects of plant location is oitr.1 orer- looked or only regarded ligl~tly. l'l~is aslicct is the effect of tl~c cl~i~r- acter and facilitiw of tlic conmninity Ilcing sturlieil. It is most diffi- cult to obtain objective infornmtinn on a community bec:iure the u~ud sources of information, such as Chambers of Commrrce or Inilustrial Co~nmissio~~s tend to prcscnt eou~owllat biauerl i~l~inion hcr:lusc of tl~rir natural entl~usiaim for th~ir OTT-~ home to\\-1. h study of the cu~nnlunity should hcgin \\-it11 a IOI~ into its hibtoricxl i dcvclo]nncnt. Froni such a study! tlrc charnctcr of a city ill emerge including its general :rttitude toward industrial cievelo~iments.

Asswning that the historical study yield- a sati>factory report, tlir gencral facilitirr offered by the coniuiuniry should bc rrriexr-ed. .i mn- tented group of p~ople rtyrriro a ccrtain mini~num uunlbcr of facilities for satisfactory living. If these do not exist, it often becomes a burden for tlie plant tc~ rubsidize such facilities.

Bank8 must bc reliable and staffed wit11 competent r~&cials and of surb a size that. thy \\-ill be r:ilial~le of l~anilling plant :IS n-ell :IS en- pluycc accounts. Tlre valw of ;dcquate sl~opping facilities, cqicciai~y for the fetnale melnl~ers oi fa~nily units, cnrmot, I)? ovcrempliasizwl. Larger cities iifTcr thc advantage of factory \\-arcl~ouse facilities that replacement parts for plant equipu~cnt can be tcnilily olilainrcl.

.irlequatc and gracious lrotcl facilities a1.e alvays \wlcome, esl~wially TV~CII it beromcs the job of plant iifiicials to entertain ri.siting dignitar- ies. At least one or nlorc hospitals fully accrcditctl by tire hmeric;m

Hospital Association sl~ould he located in tlic area. 1 larger cities, transjlortntir~~~ brcrnll?~ a pr~~il~cm. ~Inny ~~-olkerr jlrefcr to use public transportation becnux (if tl~e difficulty oi parking in certain areas.

Such pu11lic tranq1ort3tion must 11c cfficicnt and c:e~~nomical. Thc cultural facilities of the community are in~port:int to sound growtlr. Churclres, lil~r:~riw, scl~ools, civic t111~1ters. uincc~!t awlcia- tin :I I niilr grip, if nctivc imd Iynmic, I 1(:1 to make a comniunity prwgessivc. Fornmcl-looking plant n1:magern will realize tlmt tlte yuung people in a community will 1w the crnployees oi tomorron.. and a good school ~~P~PIII i1nd advqunlc cultural opportuni- ties dl in the fin:tl analysis makr ilettcr rmploycrs. 1lecau.c thv j)r,~cess i~xlu.~tri(y ~k]icn~I 011 ~,T~I~I,:I~ I:~I]I~IK~!I!, il 1.2 $lt+ir:~L,lv 1;it :i unirersity of the first rl:ws lie 111carril iu thc st:ite umlrr con~i,l~:ratiun.

18 Proiect Engineering of Process Plants

Its engineering and science departments should be accredited by the appropriate agencies (Engineering Council for Professional Derelop- uient. hmcrican Chemical Society. etc. !.

h study of the population trends in a community is often revealing sincc it indicates the gron-th and trnor oi a conn~innity. .i hrcakdorm of population statistics into age groups is liell~ful in l~rcdicting the poesiblc vitality of a region. , . llic problem uf recreation deserres special consideration. Recrea- tion nil1 inclurlc, of course, the cultural entertainment already men- tioned: and. in ailrlition, outdoor activities and otlrer events ranging from country club dances to sulall gatherings in homes. The disaiiran- tage of the extremely small communities or company tinms is that the couipnny n~ust *ul~si~lize the constructicln of parks, golf courses, and cluhs. Furtherl the so-called company torvn is predominantly occupied I)? e~ilployres and their fanlilies. Many people find such a situation ni~rron-ing sincc most of their friends arp other t,ml~loyees and their fn~nilir.s an11 all too often after-l~~iurs convcrsatione ric~elop into "shop t:k Tliis geiicraliaatiou, l~~~nercr, i* dangerous since it depmds so uiuclr ion the individuals in~olred. It ~uigl~t be said. nrvt,rtheless, t,l~at it requirc,s people ~vith Ixtter than average imagination tn avuid thcsc pitfilll~.

Extremely small couiniunit~ics may fail to offer the opportunities for rrcreatiorr required by yonng prople and discontent often develops.

Plants located near large rities i~aw avoided ew11 situations, rvhile some remotely icicatcd plant;? have overcome thcsc difficultica by the est,ab lialnuenf oi active recreation ~iepartnie~~ts and clubs. These hunian factors :ire all rather netn~luue, tn~t none tile less important. They dionld not be overlooked in any analysis of plant sites.

The efficiency, clmracter. an11 history of both state and local govern- tuent shonld he evaluated Ilocalitiee 1vhic11 liare snffcred long yrary nf corrupt 1. inefficient porern~ucnt are pour risks. State and local

Iarw and repulatii~ns nliicli will affect plant operation and living con- ditions require the interprrtat,ion of a co~npetent attorney. These include dl tax ordinancesl especially those applying directly t~r the industrial ~,oniniunit,y. The existcncc of lorv taxes in not in itself a favorahlc situation unless the commnnity iy already well devrl~~peil ar~d is not in great deht. It is certain that a e~rnmunity having un- <I?\-eloped srwer systc~ns, roads and other similar facilities iliust soon increase taxes.

Alter an area or regio~i ha.; hem s~,lccted for plant location, the next iol~ is the selectiut~ of a sl~ecific site. A c~~,nrirlcrable mlonnt of

Plant Location 19 the data necesbary for tl~c inforliintion disrwrst~d almvt. can he ol~tilineil u-itliont actually visiting tlir are:1.. The final site wlecriim. Iro\\.cver. require- careful xrutiny hy a co~ps of mperts. It is preferable to avoid pul~licizing snch risits since real estate vnlnes invnriat~ly rise upon rnuior of nexr- pI:rnt construction. This necc~;;nry secretiveness is often hest accomplislied hy dealing 17-ith only one rcliahle real estate firm. Topngraphy and soil condition of each site must he evaluated Foundation co~ts are greatly increased on site* liaring soil of Iorv hear- it iait Good natural dr:iin:~gc is another ~leeir;iblr feature; and if tlie iitc is lorated near a streani or other 11ody of \r-ater, fl~~od history should t~e carefully cl~eckcd. Oftrn seemingly excellent sites have soffercd from pcriodic flouding that nonld never he predicted on in- spection of tlrc nrca during noruial conditions. In :1dditio11 to tlie advice 11i competent soil experts and constructim engineers regarding the feasibility of the site. officials of the neighboring plants can give helpful hints concerning the nature of rariow locations in the area.

Tile forcgoirig brief sulunxrry of factor;: that ninst lie ~I~tcrmincd in a. plant lucation study indicates the need for a vast amount of inforn~a- tim both quantitative (statistiral) and qualitative. Rerause of thc large nmul~er of agencies, puhlic and private, rvllicli ulli useful inforn~ation of this type little actual original gathering of data must bc done. All sources of printed information rliould be cxliauded t~eforc tniiking a private survey on a given phase of the study. To ;lid in the search for printed information, a euggeytcll list of sources tugc,ther ~vith types of iniorm:ltion offered is giren in outlinc form belun.. The n.i~rks oi ltigglenian and Frisbeelo and Cornan" aided greatly in prcpuiiig this wtlinc.

(Parte 3 de 10)