Introduction to Process Plant Projects
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Introduction to Process Plant Projects

H. Selcuk Agca, Giancarlo Cotone

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eBook - ePub

Introduction to Process Plant Projects

H. Selcuk Agca, Giancarlo Cotone

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The book covers all stages of process plant projects from initiation to completion and handover by describing the roles and actions of all functions involved. It discusses engineering, procurement, construction, project management, contract administration, project control and HSE, with reference to international contracting and business practices.

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CRC Press

Part I

Basic Definitions

1 Preamble

Implementation of industrial plant projects requires making use of a number of different types of specific expertise in a variety of specialty fields, each calling for lifelong accumulation of knowledge and on-the-job experience. Industrial plants (and more specifically the process plants) are one of the most sophisticated systems created and continuously upgraded along the booming technological advances, started virtually with the industrial revolution, for conversion of raw materials into other materials
The following parts and chapters of the book are prepared to deliver essential information regarding entire project life, including major project phases, specialty fields of project functions and project team positions taking part in the execution.
So, let us start with defining briefly some of the important basic concepts that require having a common understanding before getting inside the professional life of project execution.

What Is a “Project”?

Definitions for the word “project” in dictionaries are sometimes quite superficial, such as “a course of actions intended or considered possible,” “a systematic planned undertaking,” and “a piece of work, often involving many people, that is planned and organized systematically.”
Such descriptions are not incorrect; however, a far more profound description is still needed in order to professionally reflect what a “project” really means.
Giving some examples from various different types of projects can help notably before trying to make up a clearer definition for this term. Here are some below:
  • Preparing new computer software
  • Writing a movie script, shooting a new motion picture
  • Composing songs, recording a new music album
  • Designing and manufacturing prototype of a new product
  • Exploring new oil or mining fields
  • Constructing a new or revamping an existing production facility (this book will focus on this type of projects)
Many other examples can of course be added to the above list. However, let us now go back to our main intention of describing what a project really is. For this purpose, let us start listing specific features of projects. A project
  • Has a particular purpose and certain requirements.
  • Has some cost that is to be estimated and budgeted.
  • Requires to be planned and organized in sufficient detail including setting up a time schedule.
  • Needs certain resources including manpower.
  • Is expected to give a benefit in return, at the end.
  • Requires different trades and expertise to be integrated and coordinated.
  • Has to be monitored and controlled with respect to time/progress, cost, resources, and quality.
  • Has to take care for human health, safety, and environment if the implementation and/or the final product poses risks for these (i.e., often when the project involves manufacturing, construction, and plant operation).
  • Does not yield any standard product (mass production/assembly line products) or regular/routine services.
  • Has activities, inputs, and outputs, almost all of which are specifically tailored to fit the purpose.
  • Has no other output (product or service) that is exactly identical to any previous one.
  • Has a life, i.e., starts, develops, and ends.
The foregoing outline now looks more comprehensive with regard to explaining the term. Please note that especially the last four characteristics above differentiate a project from other type of business activities.

What Does the Word “Industry” Refer To?

Industry is an economic sector dealing with production of goods and/or services. There are a number of different types of classifications for industry depending on the objective of the classification. Several different classification systems are used in market research, finance, and statistics, such as ICB (Industry Classification Benchmark), GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard), NAICS (North American Industry Classification System), and ISIC (International Standard Industrial Classification). Anyway, key industrial economic sectors can broadly be identified as follows:
  • Primary sector: Raw material extraction including mining, petroleum extraction, and agriculture
  • Secondary sector: Manufacturing, refining, construction
  • Tertiary sector: Services, distribution of manufactured goods
  • Quaternary sector: Technological activities and services including research and development (R&D) and computer programming
For the material covered in the following sections of this book, the focus will obviously be on the secondary sector in which the industries involved are further identified by the nature of the products, as chemical industry, power industry, etc.

What Has Been the Impact of “Industrial Revolution” on Human Life?

Industrial revolution is the age that started within the second half of the 18th century. Before this era, Western Europe had already been inventing some sort of complicated machinery and tools since long ago, leading to developments in transportation and communication by introducing faster ships, printing facilities, etc.; however, the economy had still been based on agriculture depending very highly on manpower and manual handcrafting, traditionally carried out either at home or in small workshops. By the second half of the 18th century, a number of innovations in textiles, steam power, and iron founding kicked off the first industrial revolution, basically in Britain, and then spread throughout the Western Europe and North America. Fast expansion of trading due to substantial improvements in transportation and communication enhanced this great change to trigger industrialization. Such changes were also bringing in new ways in organizing business and labor. Scientific knowledge was started to be applied to production methodologies and business practices on an increasing scale. Start of the mass production has led to increased production capacities, higher efficiencies, and lower prices.
Almost a century after the first one, the second industrial revolution arose as an American contribution to what had been achieved that far. The main invention was the development of “continuous” manufacturing processes, started mainly with flour milling, cigarette production, and canned food manufacturing. Development of American manufacturing technologies gradually spread out to other industries including iron-steel making, distilling, refining, etc., leading to the second industrial revolution that is regarded to commence by 1850s. Hence, while Britain had been the epicenter of the first revolution, the second one took place most powerfully in the United States of America.
The era is called the industrial revolution because it notably and quite rapidly changed the economy, human life, and hence, the society by way of introducing the following:
  • New forms of basic materials (iron and steel, chemicals, etc.)
  • New power sources (steam engines, internal combustion engines, petroleum, electricity, etc.)
  • Invention of new machinery (like various types of spinning machines used in textiles)
  • New organization of work (known as factory system)
  • Advances in transportation (steamships, automobiles, airplanes, etc.)
  • Developments in communication systems (telegraph, radio, etc.)
  • Application of scientific knowledge to production methodologies
The industrial revolution is a major change in human history in having transformed the agricultural societies into the modern industrial societies.

What Does “Process” Mean?

“Process” simply means a series of operations that take place in a pre-established order. In our case, it is to treat something in order to produce something else with regard to physical and/or chemical properties. In other words, the word “process” refers to treating raw materials through a series of operations and sometimes, reactions for obtaining products.

Who Are “Process Engineers”?

Process engineers are the persons who deal with engineering, design, checking, and controlling industrial processes. They are mostly chemical engineers (or food engineers for food plants) that make use of the principles of mainly the momentum transfer/fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer/separation processes, reaction kinetics, process control, and thermodynamics in addition to the advances in process technology. For few of the processes, like fuel-fired power generation, some other engineers, like mechanical engineers, may take this position since operation of such plants does not require any notable background on mass transfer and reaction kinetics. The necessary main principles to follow become the ones that are commonly studied in both chemical and mechanical engineering, such as fluid flow, heat transfer, and thermodynamics.
As some reference has just been made to chemical engineering, it may be a good idea to clarify at this point the difference between chemistry and chemical engineering. A chemical engineer is basically an engineer who has some more knowledge on the science of chemistry than other engineers, but never as much as chemists and so, he or she rather deals with the industrial applications of chemical processes having a broader background on abovementioned engineering topics as well as economics and management.
Before getting into details of interrelated and integrated group of activities for industrial plant projects, different types of process plants and the sections that commonly exist in such plants will be briefly mentioned in the following paragraphs.

What Are “Process Plants”?

Manufacturing industries are often identified with the type of main products (or processes), which require often quite complicated plants composed of many items of equipment, extensive and complicated configuration of piping and cables, sophisticated instrumentation and automation, huge amounts of structures, big network of underground facilities, etc. In certain types of plants like petroleum refineries and chemical/petrochemical complexes, the sophistication, complexity, and huge quantities involved are usually much above the others.
A listing of process plants according to the type of main process or main product can be made as follows:
  • Oil and gas
  • Chemical
  • Petrochemical
  • Power (fuel fired)
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Food
  • Miscellaneous other
The classification of production industries is often further detailed, still to address a group of plant types. As an example, the chemical industries cover the following subgroups, even if the production sc...