Best Practices in Front-End Design
A Bentley White Paper
Arvind Patel Business Development Manager Conceptual Design and FEED Applications
Every year, owner-operators in the hydrocarbon and related process industries invest several billion dollars constructing new plants, revamping existing ones, improving safety and environmental compliance, and increasingsystem reliability. They invest even more in asset management and maintenance programs. All of these projects must be cost-effectively delivered on ever-tighter schedules by firms and their project teams dealing with an increasing shortfall in the number of highly skilled engineers available to tackle these challenges. It’s clear that the shortage affects each project phase from concept, throughfront-end and detailed design, to construction, operations, and maintenance. This shortage in engineering talent also impacts every supply chain link, including plant equipment suppliers, which report increasing lead-times even for such once commonly available items as valves and pumps. The ability to secure, in a timely fashion, materials and labor to deliver projects or carry out maintenance iscritical to business success, and requires effective information sharing among the muti-disciplinary firms typically involved in these efforts. Unfortunately, today, this often isn’t the case. Because information generated by one discipline at a particular phase of a project’s lifecycle is not always shared or reused at another phase, businesses suffer from inefficient use of capital, poor returnson investment (ROI), and increased project risks due to inconsistencies in project deliverables that take time and cost money to resolve.
Engineers are increasingly pressured to make sound investment decisions earlier in a project, even as the pool of available engineering resources to tackle those decisions continues to shrink.
Fig. 1. Typical workflow in front-end design projectsEngineers are increasingly pressured to make sound investment decisions earlier in a project, even as the pool of available engineering resources to tackle those decisions continues to shrink. However, process industries can improve project performance by
Best Practices in Front-End Design
adopting a multi-disciplinary, concurrent workflow that ensures all engineering decisions made duringthe conceptual design and front-end engineering phases of a project are based on sound asset lifecycle knowledge and best design practices. Ever more design decisions, such as material selections and plant layout that are typically made at the detailed design phase, are now made at the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase (Fig. 1). In fact, detailed P&IDs and 3D plant models at the FEEDstage are developed much earlier so that informed decisions based on cost implications can be made. This also ensures that major maintenance or constructability issues don’t arise during the engineering/procurement/construction (EPC) phase. In the following, we will discuss some of the major challenges project teams face while working on front-end engineering and design projects.We will alsodescribe the approach Bentley Systems has taken to address some workflow challenges during conceptual design and FEED. For example, Bentley offers AXSYS®.Process and PlantWise® for fast and effective solutions to screen alternative process designs and plant layouts, and to help project teams arrive at an optimum concept for the project. Bentley also offers a comprehensive range of FEED applications thatcan be initiated from data in AXSYS.Process and PlantWise. These applications include piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), instrumentation and wiring schematics, electrical schematics, datasheets for initial vendor inquiry, tools for collaborative design reviews, methods for assessing failure resulting from corrosion, and initiating 3D plant design. Moreover, because Bentley uses the...
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