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Next Generation Plant Design
Simon Bennett, Product Business Manager, AVEVA As the process manufacturers face the heat of unprecedented challenges and ample opportunities available in the current business environment, the industry requires more powerful tools to increase productivity and capability. The author discusses AVEVA’s vision of the future plant design and highlights the requirements a plant design software should fulfil.

The process industries are facing intense changes, both from upheavals in the global economic climate, and new market opportunities in emerging regions. Together, these factors create volatility both in the input costs of energy and raw materials, and in the market prices for finished products.

Business and investment planning are made more difficult, placing a premium on agility and the rapid execution of projects to minimise risk and maximise Return On Investment (ROI). Meanwhile, global demand for energy, materials and commodities continues to increase, creating a need forever bigger and more complex new-build plants and pressures to upgrade existing plants to increase production.

To meet these unprecedented challenges and opportunities, the plant industry needs more powerful tools that increase both productivity and capability. Here is what any next-generation plant design software should provide to meet these demands.

Agile to Deploy

Plant design software allows an engineer to perform a complex task efficiently, but implementation and deployment of the software within the organisation - and especially across multiple partners or suppliers - can be an excessively difficult process. The next generation of plant design software must present minimal obstacles to its rapid deployment, without compromising its performance or usability.

Simple to Use and Rich in Capability
To maximise productivity, design software must be easy to use. Well-organised user interfaces are essential, not only to help users in their daily tasks but also to reduce the need for lengthy and costly training or for complex system administration.

User Mobility for Accelerated Design Assurance
Design review and approval has long been a critical-path bottleneck in project execution. Simple and pragmatic applications for mobile devices such as tablets can play a valuable role in overcoming this, giving decision-makers more immediate access to critical information for review and approval.

Increased Automation throughout the Design Chain
Quality assurance in design is essential, but often comes at the expense of laborious detailed checking. The next generation plant design software must reduce this drudgery while increasing the levels of built-in design quality. This can be achieved not only through increased data integration and usability but also through more extensive embedded checking and validation capabilities. Together, these will speed the creation of Âright-first-timeĘ design, ensuring compliance with corporate standards and placing safety at the heart of the design.

Increased Visibility for Increased Efficiency
Plant design software is not just a productivity tool for designers, it should maximise business efficiency through every stage of a project. The biggest costs and business risks are incurred in construction, so a next-generation solution must deliver measurable benefits in this critical phase of a project. It must enable the elimination of rework, scrap and materials wastage through the elimination of design errors and information inconsistencies at the earliest possible stages. It should also support the use of 3D (three-dimensional) laser survey data for improved accuracy of construction on site.

Rapid Project Startup

The more quickly a project can start the sooner it can be completed, so rapid startup offers valuable competitive advantage, provided speed does not compromise quality or safety. Combine rapid startup with increased design quality assurance, however, and the business benefits become considerable, both to EPCs in project delivery and to Owner Operators in more rapid ROI.

AVEVA is developing a plant design system that will enable project teams to be up and running in days and reduce the time to create high-quality deliverables. Design work can be coordinated by means of a global concurrent engineering system, integrating all partners in a project and allowing authorised users full visibility of the design at all times.

Greater Design Efficiency
A design system that provides complete control throughout the iterative nature of the design process will enable first-class engineering project execution, in turn enable plants to be designed, built and commissioned more quickly, at lower cost and to a higher quality level.

From design checking to supporting reuse, AVEVAĘs new generation of plant design software is designed from the ground up for global project teams. Powerful design capabilities, such as the integration of drafting with 3D models and integrated laser scanning, will increase design efficiency by 10-20 per cent.

As projects become more massive and complex, the need increases for efficient collaboration and quality assurance across disciplines and locations. The ability to embed checks and validation throughout the various design processes will enable accelerated project delivery through reduced manual checking and faster review and approval.

In addition to collaboration, reducing risk and costs are at the heart of AvevaĘs product development. Support for new mobile technologies and embedded design checks will accelerate and extend the review and authorisation capabilities of project teams.

Avoiding Rework
Both on greenfield and brownfield projects, each stage of construction must be able to be checked against the previous Âas builtĘ stages to ensure accurate, construction. If parts of the design model are found not to fit with the Âas builtĘ construction they should be modified by using the 3D survey data as a reference, ensuring an accurate fit on site. The new generation of plant design solution must support a richer collaboration between the design and construction teams.

The powerful combination of laser scan data and design models will enable customers to save time and money in construction, increase profitability and competitive advantage. Support for mobile computing will help site and office staff to keep abreast of the rapid rate of change on the construction site, accelerating informed decision-making and improving the quality of collaboration between design and construction.

A changing global market is bringing new challenges. Working collaboratively across multiple locations, with multiple partners, EPCs must strive to deliver exceptional quality projects of greater complexity, at faster speeds and at lower costs than ever before.

A new era of collaboration has consequently emerged through the need for design, construction and maintenance coherence. From the outset, digital representations of physical assets are now crucial to achieving this, enabling better design control and lower project costs, as well as supporting improved asset lifecycle management.

With pressures on capital project financing and delivery continuing to increase, plant design software must expand beyond current capabilities to deliver greater collaboration, faster project delivery and enhanced traceability throughout the design and build process.

Looking ahead, the next-generation plant design software will be instrumental in:
• Enabling the rapid capture and transfer of expertise - across global teams, multiple disciplines and project management

• Facilitating faster decision making, design and construction, by providing rapid access to critical information and visibility of the design at all times • Enabling safety to be embedded in the design process

• Accelerating project execution without compromising system stability, accuracy and compliance.