The importance of industrial equipment design & layout

Dec. 31, 2016

Attention to detail ensures quality products, optimal operations and personnel’s well-being.

Installation of industrial equipment in process industries depends on the size and overall equipment design. If the equipment is too large, it will lead to a large footprint while smaller equipment will lead to early failure as it must produce more work. The productivity, efficiency and safety of process plants hinge on proper equipment functionality. The optimal placement of the equipment is important to maintain efficiency.

For example, in a food processing plant, placing the final packaging zone near the processing station is dangerous, because the chance of airborne contaminants or microorganisms entering the final products and contaminating the packaging is high. Therefore, ensuring an optimal layout is critical in all processing facilities along with proper equipment design that ensures maintenance is easy and reduces safety issues.

Physical properties & clearances

Plant operators must consider physical properties and clearances of stationary or fixed equipment, when planning for a design or redesign of the process facilities. Areas in the facility will be dedicated for fixed equipment for the facility’s entire lifespan.

Equipment such as shell and tube heat exchangers should be installed at appropriate locations to ensure its proper functionality and safety. Since this equipment is connected to a permanent heating system of the building, maintaining proper clearance is critical to ensure easy inspection, cleaning and replacement of heat exchanger components — such as tube bundles, gaskets.

Consider sanitation during equipment design

Sanitation must also be included in plans when designing equipment and arranging the layout of a facility, especially for food processing. Bacteria, which can thrive in warm, cold or wet locations, can enter the equipment and remain during production processes if cleaning and maintenance schedules are not regular.

Food processing plants — particularly for products such as meat, dairy products and other protein products — are more prone to creating ideal environments for bacteria growth. Therefore, shell and tube heat exchangers must be effectively maintained to help kill bacteria and ensure the safety of the product and facility personnel.

The heat exchangers’ design is critical and can make a huge difference in maintaining product quality and hygiene. They must withstand multiple cleanings so that downtime is minimal and overall efficiency is increased.

Design for proper airflow

Equipment is also required for proper airflow and ventilation in process plants to avoid the survival and growth of bacteria and other contaminants. With an open design, industrial equipment can remain less prone to bacterial growth and be easy to clean. Clean equipment leads to less recalls since few items contain bacteria to be replaced. Cleanliness is important not only for food processing but for chemical, pharmaceutical and gas industries as well because they are often prone to bacterial growth.

Final design & installation notes

Equipment design is thus critical to maintain the efficiency and safety of plants, produce quality products, and ensure personnel health and safety. Facility owners, managers, operators and design engineers must partner with a trusted design service provider who understands the critical factors involved. An experienced partner will ensure that equipment is:

  • Designed to required standards
  • Optimally installed in the facility
  • Easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning

Kashyap Vyas is a Sr. Engineer at Hi-Tech CADD Services and holds a Master’s Degree in thermal engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market. He may be reached at +91-79-6134-3920.

Hi-Tech CADD Services is an extension to industrial equipment manufacturers, delivering specialized CAD and CAE solutions as per specific regulatory design standards for food processing, pharmaceutical and chemical processing plants.

Hi-Tech CADD Services

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