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Integrating for Efficiency Integrated Planning Can Shorten Plant Design Times and Cut Costs

| Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Designing and building a process plant involves a large number of interdependent steps. The use of many different design and planning tools, each with its own proprietary data format, makes it very difficult to get an overview of the work. Integrated planning based on uniform data management promises to remedy this: it increases the flexibility of the design and planning process, parallelizes planning steps, and reduces costs.

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An industrial planning and control system based on a single database allows the exchange of data without transformations. (Pictures: Siemens)
An industrial planning and control system based on a single database allows the exchange of data without transformations. (Pictures: Siemens)

Various international organizations are currently looking into potential improvements in plant engineering. Current initiatives include:

  • GMA 6.12: Integrated engineering of control systems;
  • VDI/VDE 3695 Plant engineering — Evaluation and optimization of engineering;
  • DIN EN 62424: Illustration of process control tasks – Flowcharts and data exchange between EDP tools for creating flow charts and CAE systems;
  • NAMUR recommendation NE 100: The use of feature bars in the process control engineering workflow.

These pioneering projects promise to provide some concrete recommendations for software vendors and users. Their results will form the basis for methodologies that in due course will tap the full potential of integrated planning.

The path to greater efficiency

The general planning stage is a very important part of the life cycle of a plant, since this is the point at which the technical, organizational, and economic foundations of the project are laid. Subsequent phases, even down to the systems used to operate and maintain the finished plant, rely on data established during this first planning stage.

The workflow during the planning process represents a challenge. Handling planning data is time-consuming and a cost driver, because this stage involves many specialist departments — the most important are industrial planning, plant planning, and process control planning — using different tools and data formats.

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