Advances in materials technology, information and management systems have led to improvements in the engineering design, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of process columns. The development of the front-end engineering design (FEED) process has led to the incorporation of best practices in the specification of equipment on projects during the design phase. The aim of the research is to investigate whether technical specifications have an impact on the life cycle costs of process columns. Adding to the initial capital cost of equipment, in the form of technical specification requirements, in an attempt to reduce life cycle costs, is always challenged during the project phase of a product life cycle. The principle of designing for the full product life cycle of process columns requires that consideration for both the project and operating life cycle be made at the stage of basic engineering. What is important to note is that the potential for life cycle cost savings at the beginning of a product life cycle is higher than during the operating life cycle. Figure S.1 illustrates this concept, and what is observed is that the potential for life cycle cost savings diminishes as the product life progresses over time. Process columns were chosen as the type of equipment to be investigated based on the nature, size and complexity of the equipment when compared to other equipment on a processing unit. Process columns are amongst the highest capital cost pieces of equipment in petrochemical units and usually have many auxiliary pieces of equipment associated with it in a system i.e. reboilers, condensers, pumps etc.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2009.