Optimizing plant performance begins with identifying ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. When planning a plant expansion, it is important to conduct a thorough assessment of the current plant, and assess projected energy requirements for the plant expansion. Follow-up assessments conducted after the plant expansion is complete will identify whether or not performance goals were achieved and if there are areas that require adjustment to avoid under performance.
Your plant expansion plan should include plans for accommodating the increased heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and power needs that accompany the expansion. A key step in setting goals for plant expansion is to conduct an evaluation of how well your plant is managing its current energy needs. Are plant conditions comfortable? Are processes running at peak efficiency? Do you often experience plant power outages and costly downtime? The answers to these questions will help you to determine whether upgrading the system is an option, or if complete replacement of the current plant boiler system makes more sense.
How do you know if a boiler system will accommodate your future needs? It is essential to have a clear understanding of your facility loads and utility usage. For steam boilers, consider steam pressure and load profile. It also makes sense to perform steam trap surveys, perform steam use studies and efficiency upgrades prior to sizing new equipment. This way you don’t wind up oversizing new equipment to handle plant inefficiencies that should have been corrected ahead of time. Steam flow metering should be calibrated or installed prior to determining steam loads.
In situations involving hot water boilers, you must know your minimum and maximum temperatures and hot water load profile. Depending on whether the load profile is steady or fluctuating, certain boiler types perform better for certain applications. An experienced supplier with engineering expertise can help you make this determination.
Consideration of safety and safety-related regulations is an important part of your plant expansion plan. Your boiler system must meet your plant needs and also assure you are in compliance with all regulatory requirements that affect your industry and location. Implementing a boiler system that meets the needs of your expanded facility and keeps you in compliance should also include making sure your employees are sufficiently trained in the maintenance and operation of the equipment.
By taking the time to accurately assess your current plant operation you will have a solid foundation for planning and decision making as you assess your plant expansion needs. It is also important to partner with a quality third-party service provider to create a long term, custom service plan.
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