JMP Engineering (Corporate)

Feasibility Study: Specification Preparation and Site Audit

Objectives

  • Assess process conditions
  • Develop project specifications
  • Evaluate process performance
  • Evaluate opportunities for improvement
  • Justify improvements to the process or controls

Feasibility Study

JMP Engineering is unique in its ability to provide industrial facilities with control system feasibility studies and audits. JMP captures the knowledge of its experienced engineers to produce DCS and PLC system studies encompassing the control room, operator role and graphical interface, process logic, control system design and configuration to ultimately provide leading system and/or process improvement recommendations.

JMP specializes in a variety of Feasibility Studies. Many such studies involve powerhouse control systems, steam system reliability as well as process efficiency and control.

The main objective of the feasibility study is to assess the condition of the process and process control system. Based on that condition assessment, the objective is to develop a specification for project authorization of the project.

JMP performs evaluations of the current control room and field devices for the utility island or process. This evaluation is then summarized in a report that includes mechanical and process recommendations when applicable as well as control recommendations. Input from customer personnel is actively solicited during the study and this information is used in the preparation of this report.

JMP approaches the study on the assumption that the entire control system for the utility island or process will be enhanced to the level of known “Best Practices of the Industry”, customer standards and the associated standards developed by JMP over numerous years and multiple projects.

The utility and steam system study generally has two objectives. First, to ensure the stability of both the powerhouse bus and steam headers in response to process plant operating demands. Second, to ensure that, in the event of a utility separation, the plant can stand alone, even at a reduced capacity. This can be achieved by providing the operators with improved controls and a graphical operator interface that ensures operating data is presented in such a way as to maximize the operators response to process demands.

There are a number of industry trends that could impact project objectives, if not immediately, at least in the near future. These trends will be accelerated by the deregulation of the utility industry, which is now taking place. There is also an emerging Make vs. Buy scenario, which will require capability such as tie-line control and steam economic load allocation to help businesses (also known as operators) make sound business choices in selecting the appropriate operating strategy.

The documents developed from the audit are as follows:

  • I/O listing of all points either in the DCS or to be brought into the DCS/PLC with prioritization.
  • Box map of current DCS usage and spare capacity
  • Red-lined P&IDs, to the extent that the P&IDs formed a useful baseline
  • Detailed functional specification and description of operation
  • Alarm management description
  • Graphics development description
  • Recommendation on adequacy of current field devices
  • SAMA drawings of the current controls in the DCS system
  • Mechanical recommendations for improved reliability

Conclusion

A properly conducted system audit presents management with the opportunity to evaluate what exists, and obtain recommended options to improve the system. Recommendations include innovative methods to integrate the system into a well coordinated, efficient, and safe system. Performed diligently, the drawings and knowledge gained in an audit will prove invaluable for detailed engineering and project execution.