Increase Chemical Plant Profitability - Part 3 - Production

This is Part 3 of the How to Increase Chemical Plant Profitability series.

One of the most popular methods to increase plant profitability is to increase the production capacity of the site without using any additional equipment. This method is most common amongst production of commodities where the sale of the product is almost guaranteed.

This works in two ways:

  1. Direct increase in profit from increased quantity of sales
  2. Efficiency increase through dilution of fixed losses

The first part is fairly self explanatory, so I won’t dwell on that but part two only works without replicating existing production lines.

Focusing on energy efficiency fixed losses are based on temperature (which is generally controlled) and surface area of the vessels (which are fixed). So by increasing flow through the circuit the heat losses remain the same. This means that profitability can be increased by improving energy efficiency through increased flow/production.

production_dilutes_fixed_losses(1)

 

But heat losses are only one of the expenses that can be diluted out through increased production. If the increased production can be done without needing to hire additional people then the total site labour costs can also be diluted out. Anything from energy, to labour, and maintenance costs can be reduced per tonne is this manner.

The actual method of how to increase production is incredibly subjective and cannot be explored in any detail in this general article, but the theory is to identify and eliminate any bottlenecks. This can include anything including:

  • Pumping capacity
  • Storage capacity
  • Customer requirements
  • Ability to hit control setpoints
  • Any equipment capability
  • Labour requirements
  • Maintenance speed
  • Breakdown frequency

The idea behind this method of improving site profitability is fairly easy to grasp so it doesn’t need much detail but the actual execution can be very difficult and time consuming.

 

 

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