Time, money and safety. These are what matter most during process equipment engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects. Traditional stick-build construction is fraught with safety risks, prolonged project timelines, and capital costs that don’t outweigh lost production time. So, what’s the solution? In this blog, we’ll discuss how off-site fabrication of a modular process skid can greatly improve capital efficiency, fabrication conditions and delivery time for EPCs serving clients across a wide array of industries.
Conventional vs. Modular Construction
Offsite fabrication of a modular process skid offers a faster timeline for getting your system operational in the plant. This is made possible by conducting the process skid fabrication in parallel with site civil construction. Going this route can reduce your project timeline by as much as four months. Additionally, fabricating a modular process skid offsite allows the client to avoid unnecessary delays and shutdowns of existing plant operations. With every modular process skid being prefabricated off-site and shipped fully assembled, the startup time on a process system is also minimized.
Going with a modular process skid also means fabrication is no longer delayed because of adverse site conditions. Traditional stick-build construction requires welders to conduct overhead welds under harsh conditions, making them difficult to do well. Being in the proper environment of a modular fabrication shop, the need for overhead welds is eliminated. All systems are built in controlled production-style conditions, improving the quality of a system and jump-starting project completion. With the shortened project timeline and lower resources required to complete a job, this method is proven to require a lower capital cost, bottom line.
Conventional vs. Modular Construction Project Example
In this case study, EPIC provided an industrial distillation system for a power plant. Installation at the power plant location meant the distillation system could not be fabricated on site due to heavy restrictions on welding, metal shearing, and other fabrication tasks. Also, scheduling onsite fabrication around the plant operations would have proven to be difficult and costly. By going modular the system was fabricated in a safe and timely manner, and the turnkey system was installed with minimal downtime of the plant’s operations. Read the full case study explaining how EPIC provided a modular process skid that was safely delivered on-time and on-budget due to modular design and offsite fabrication.
Repeatability of Modular Process Skid Fabrication
During multiple-unit projects, maximum savings can be achieved by designing the modular process skid once and then building exact duplicates. By using a modular design/build firm with highly trained and experienced assembly and fabrication technicians already employed within the company, projects can be completed with consistency and high quality. Also, product transportation costs are lower when using modular design because modular process skids can be placed strategically closer to the end-users.
Modular Process Skid Fabrication Repeatability Example
EPIC Systems partnered with Mead O’Brien to design and build a set of automated safety shutdown industrial skids to be used at refineries. EPIC took process designs from Mead O’Brien and used them to develop P&IDs and the physical design of the systems. Because of strict restrictions on refineries, these systems had to be fabricated offsite in a turnkey, modular fashion. EPIC used this design to fabricate 40+ systems over the course of 5 years, with more systems still to come. Read the full case study showcasing the partnership between EPIC and Mead O’Brien that brought safety and success to refineries all across the country.
Offsite fabrication of a modular process skid can provide cost savings in the following ways:
- Modular design/build is faster, leading to less labor and material costs
- Lower capital and labor costs are achieved by efficient use of materials and smaller field crews
- For multi-unit projects, maximum capital efficiency is achieved by designing skids once and building multiple duplicates based on the original design
- Less steel is required in modular design as opposed to stick built systems
- Product transportation costs are lower because modules can be placed in locations that are closer to end-users
- Off-site construction of modular process skids does not interrupt or shut-down pre-existing operations
- Safety risks are reduced for plant personnel with fewer onsite OSHA exposure hours and smaller crew sizes
- Safety risks are reduced because process skid construction happens in ideal plant conditions
- Highly trained and experienced assembly and fabrication technicians are already employed by the modular system provider, ensuring consistent work and worker availability
With the shortened project timeline and lower resources required to complete a job, offsite modular process skid fabrication is proven to require a lower capital cost. If you have any questions regarding modular fabrication or EPIC Systems contact EPIC today or call 314-845-0077.