Design and Engineering
Expertise, cross-training, and methodology are part of what makes our team unique.
For over 20 years we have been designing and supplying pilot plants and demonstration plants for a wide range of industries. Our goal continues to be one of excelling at what we do. We are always reviewing and improving our methodology and training of our staff.
We are part of a vertical integrated family of companies which together bring all the ingredients to move clients’ technology development needs from bench-scale R&D through to commercialization. These companies provide homes for the cross-training of our group. One of
these companies is NORAM Engineering and Constructors Ltd. NORAM has been designing and commissioning full industrial commercial plants for over two decades. It is here where our group is regularly exposed to the design and commissioning of full commercial plants.
However, cross-training is only part of our success. A rigorous approach to the design and assembly of our pilot and demonstration plants is another important ingredient to our success. Our approach follows four phases which are customized to the client’s needs:
At an early stage of a project, our team can help clients determine the level and complexity of pilot plant design required for a specific project. It is important to appreciate that not all parts of an upcoming novel process needs to be demonstrated or tested at a pilot plant scale, and that choosing the right pilot plant production capacity is key to make sure that the data collected allows, for example, the eventual scale-up of the process to a commercial size. These are factors that not only have a significant impact on the technical success of a project but also on its cost. Our team can support clients through these challenges by providing technology validation studies and basic engineering packages. Through a basic engineering study our team works with the client to set the right parameters for the project, and through the process provides the client with a typical package that would include key engineering documents such as mass and energy balances, P&IDs, basic equipment layouts, and equipment and instruments lists.
The detailed engineering of our pilot plants and demonstration plants follows a rigorous design approach with key gate reviews for client’s input and participation. As examples, the process typically includes checks at different levels. Key process parameters are typically reviewed and checked with in-house software, or the use of Aspen or Hysys. The operability and safety of every pilot and demonstration plant are carefully reviewed through HAZOP studies and “3D- process walks” before construction and assembly begins. Potential mechanical issues, such as equipment and piping stresses, are typically checked by our experts using tools such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software; Constructability issues are typically resolved before they become a problem through the use of software packages such as Solidworks or AutoPlant.
Construction and Assembly
Our design of pilot plants and demonstration plants follow a modular approach, allowing the local construction and assembly of project systems before they are shipped to clients. As part of our commitment to quality, the whole construction phase of a pilot plant or demonstration plant is overseen by experienced members of our design team. Most of our modular designs are built at our close-by sister company Axton which is also part of our family of companies. Axton is a large fabrication, machining, and assembly shop with a strong reputation, long history and a wide-range of accreditations (see http://www.axton.ca/accreditations.html). Smaller skid systems are typically assembled at our facility.
Our team is well experienced on construction site supervision, typically on an advisory role. Once the pilot plant or demonstration plant modules arrive on site, our team would typically provide on-site installation oversight to ensure the proper installation of modules to ground, module interconnections, and overall connections to the client’s site. Our on-site services extend to operator training, commissioning services, and if required by the client, on-going technical support.