The Importance of Performing a Process Review Prior to Planning your Process Expansion

Prior to planning any process expansion project, it’s important to perform a thorough process review and evaluation. We've written up a case study of our work with a client where this proved particularly helpful, and have outlined specific issues we found when performing this review. We were able to identify weaknesses, inefficiencies, as well as gauge the impact that an expansion would have on their overall process.


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Part 2: Why a Bad Economy is a Good Time to Start a Capital Project

In one of our last posts we discussed reasons why many industrial firms are starting new capital/process projects in the midst of the bad economy. These companies are allocating funds to invest in new energy-efficient industrial equipment as well as fund major facility expansion projects. Here are some examples of companies who have had success with getting projects off the ground recently:

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Why a Bad Economy Might Be a Good Time to Start a Manufacturing Project

We’ve noticed a slight increase in industrial expansion projects, equipment buying, and companies taking advantage of energy efficiency rebates for buying and installing low-emissions equipment and implementing energy-efficient processes. Although the economic reasons to hold off on these projects are obvious, we came up with a list of reasons why we think more companies are investing in process projects, even though the economy is still far from a full recovery:

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Working with an Engineering Firm To Save on Project Costs

As explained in Part 1 of this blog, consulting with an engineering firm at the outset of a manufacturing expansion or renovation project can have significant benefits for a manufacturing client. In fact, one of our recent clients had already started working with a design firm when they hired us, and their experience illustrates our point well.

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Process Projects: Using an Engineering Firm along with an Architectural Firm

Process projects are often started with an architectural firm, leaving the engineering issues to be addressed later on. This is common practice in commercial projects, but can cause problems when this method is used for process projects. This usually happens when a Director of Facilities, tagged as the project leader, first considers issues like building codes and layout rather than how the manufacturing process will actually work and what it will need. Consulting with an engineering firm first when planning your process project can save you a lot of work by addressing several issues up front that might never be addressed by an architect.

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Manufacturing Facility, Capital Cost Planning

Now that more new ventures are developing cutting edge technologies, instead of software, capital costs are becoming a significant percentage of a start-up’s funding. Investment firms and government grantors are requiring more thorough capital cost evaluations for establishing manufacturing facilities. In particular, companies such as clean tech start-ups working in biofuels, photovoltaic production, energy storage, and green materials manufacturing can have significant initial capital costs and therefore must provide detailed explanations of both capital costs and the overall plan to bring their product to pilot scale manufacturing. We’ve worked with many government and VC funded clients (including Itaconix and Anellotech) on these comprehensive project proposals. By helping our clients develop their scale up plan, these clients have gained access to vital funding.

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