In difficult economic times, certain manufacturing businesses must make difficult decisions about where to locate their production plants. Companies may seek to combine facilities in order to cut operational expenses. Business expansion and/or new product lines may force organisations to relocate operations to larger premises in order to meet rising demand. Other organisations may simply be shifting closer to their consumers or supply network in response to changing market demands.
Regardless of the various reasons for relocating a manufacturing facility, once the choice is taken, it is up to the plant engineering staff and its supporting contractors to carry out the project. Each relocation endeavour presents its own set of problems. Early detailed planning and communication results in successful initiatives.
Equipment Condition Review
A detailed equipment examination and condition assessment are necessary for extensive relocation planning. The plant engineer and supporting resources should document the condition and suggest whether the equipment should be relocated, refurbished, or abandoned.
Repairing, upgrading, and relocating out-of-date equipment is frequently more expensive than replacing it. For each unique machine, operation and maintenance manuals, maintenance records, spare parts inventories, PLC programme data, and structural information should be acquired and identified.
To arrange for equipment placement within the destination facility, accurate and precise layout drawings of the donor facility where the equipment is currently situated are necessary. These drawings also allow engineers to create designs for the relevant utilities.
Facility and equipment layout drawings are frequently overlooked. Before beginning any design endeavour, the accuracy of the available drawings should be reviewed, and missing drawings should be restored. Spot inspection should be performed on building column positions, equipment numbers, equipment identification and sizes, utility locations, pits, trenches, and aisle sizes. Make a note of any overhead equipment, such as conveyors or cranes that may not be visible on layouts.
Scheduling & Evolution Planning
The most significant and most complex component of plant relocations is the creation of an overall strategy for the relocation project. The timetable may need to account for time spent ramping down output at the donor location while ramping up production at the receiving facility, which may need the sequencing of certain equipment and infrastructure.
After the information from the equipment to be relocated has been entered into the equipment database, the other design disciplines may begin work on defining and designing the utility systems. The plant engineer must collaborate with these design disciplines to ensure that utilities are placed in the proper location and at the correct time based on updated designs.
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