How to relocate or expand your plant

by Darryl Wernimont, director of marketing, POWER Engineers
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POWER Engineers

When faced with a major line relocation or plant expansion, your team will need to manage multiple ongoing interdependent activities as a single initiative to achieve a successful and timely startup. You will be faced with several terms and acronyms with which you might not be familiar. Following are some tips to help you find your way.

Your project kickoff should establish a definitive work plan, formalized schedule and agreed-upon budget inclusive of:

  • Scope definition and expectations
  • An integrated team (engineers, client, key vendors and subcontractors)
  • Vendor qualification
  • Project milestones identified and documented
  • Budget tracking and management
  • Value engineering
  • Safety and security programs
  • Meetings scheduled, coordinated, managed and documented
  • Site management and coordination
  • Regulatory initiatives
  • Line commissioning, startup and line verification.

This effort needs to be carefully planned and organized program to accomplish the established project objectives.

Equipment evaluation, rigging and millwright services

Rigging and millwright services are often considered industrial or construction services and address the movement, receiving, staging, setting and initial installation of the processing and packaging equipment.

These services involve the scheduling and receiving of equipment at a specified destination. They addresses the unloading, staging, uncrating, hoisting, erecting, assembling, installing, aligning and adjusting of the equipment so it is set in place for final utility and sanitary installation. Key efforts related to these activities include:

  • Planning, staffing, scheduling and coordinating
  • Identification and labeling
  • Receiving
  • Verification and acceptance
  • Rigging
  • Preparing equipment staging areas
  • Traffic planning
  • Setting, centering and aligning
  • Transition utility and sanitary installation.

If new equipment is involved, the following additional services may be required:

  • Purchase order coordination
  • Factory acceptance testing (FAT)
  • Shipping and scheduling
  • Segregation and identification
  • Crating and skidding (incoming and outgoing/return requirements)
  • Verifying weights, heights and dimensions
  • Special handling documentation
  • Acceptance checklists.

As it applies to existing/relocated equipment the following steps are commonly in place:

  • Preparation/evaluation
  • Go/No-Go assessments
  • Vendor service and maintenance coordination
  • Disassembling, labeling
  • Crating and skidding
  • Verifying weights, heights and dimensions
  • Transportation coordination
  • Special handling and documentation
  • Staging and unloading
  • Setting.

Sanitary installation

Once the equipment is received, rigged and in place, the transition from industrial installation to sanitary installation takes place. This could include stainless steel product piping, valving, pumps, control wiring, polyflo, cleaning in place (CIP), sanitizing in place (SIP), connections to primary utility headers, etc. Your team will provide those activities required to install the independent pieces of equipment (once set in place) in accordance with the piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) so the equipment will function as a system in accordance with the project’s process design and regulatory objectives.

Regulatory agencies, guidelines and equipment standards

The majority of the facilities will be designed to comply with one of the following:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
  • Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

In conjunction with the aforementioned, each facility will take into consideration a number of initiatives that will differ with facilities and the products produced.

  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
  • Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)
  • Sanitation Performance Standards (SPS)
  • Facility/Homeland Security
  • AIB International GMP audits
  • Aseptic Acidified and Low Acid Foods (CFR 108, 110, 113, 114)
  • US Public Health Service (USPHS)
  • FDA
  • Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Equipment standards and best practices

When managing installation and commissioning, you will want to employ the following equipment/systems standards and practices as a baseline for the equipment, overall systems design and final installation:

  • 3-A Standards and Accepted Practices
  • American Meat Institute (AMI) Sanitary Equipment Design
  • Bakery Industry Sanitation Standards Committee (BISSC).

Finally, the line you are installing will need to support your formalized HACCP, SPS and SSOP programs. The team you assemble should provide support with these initiatives throughout the design, construction and commissioning phases of the program.

In addition, it is important to stay abreast of developing initiatives that may ultimately affect the design and operation of your facility. GFSI, launched in May 2000, and FDA's FSMA, signed by President Obama in January 2011, are adding areas of monitoring and control.

A successful relocation or expansion comes down to planning and the successful blending of traditional manufacturing processes with new requirements to support a successful installation and startup.

This story is sponsored by POWER Engineers, which has one of the most comprehensive teams of engineers and specialists serving the baking and snack industry. As an extension of its clients' engineering teams, the company provides program management, integrated solutions and full facility design for the baking and snack industry. Learn more at www.powereng.com/food.

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