Engineering Concepts Modular vs Megaplant
Modular vs. Megaplant: The Fight for the Future of Engineering
Keep it simple: Component manufacturers are already offering package units and process skids in all sizes. Should the market call for higher production volumes, additional units can be added easily, turning scale-up into a simple numbering up process. Engineering giant Fluor demonstrates the viability of this process by assembling a complete open-pit oil-sands processing in Alberta, Canada from 358 preassembled modules.
The plant with a nameplate capacity of 180,000 barrels per day is already engineered with the module in mind: Fluor’s 3rd-Gen Modular-Excecution process splits the design and engineering phase into several “process blocks” which are delivered to the construction site as premounted skids, saving time and money and moving the demanding steelwork process from the Canadian hinterland to a safe and secure workshop floor.
How Modular Engineering Breathes New Life Into Industry 4.0
Furthermore, modular plant construction is considered to be one of the key enablers of the Industry 4.0 concept: A recent study came to the conclusion that package units and process skids will become one of the driving forces of the chemical industry. Experts assume that end-product manufacturing could become completely decentralised and carried out in container modules at the customer’s site.
That is exactly the environment which gave birth to the 50 % idea: Reducing the time from concept to finished product by half. This process normally takes years or even decades — far too long for fast-paced special products.
The consistent use of mini-plants is expected to help accelerate this development conspicuously. Of course, the chemical factory site as container fortress is still like music of the future, but projects like the F3 Factory or Evoniks Evotainer define the direction.