Design and Engineering for Steel Project

Design and Engineering for Steel Project

Design and engineering activities are most critical for a steel project. They start at the time of the initiation of the project and continue for the whole life cycle of the project i.e. till the project is completed and handed over for operation. Further, nature of the design and engineering activities undergo changes as the steel project moves forward on its path of progress.

Design and engineering consists of the task of translating a set of functional requirements of the project into a full set of specifications and drawings providing the details needed. It involves a variety of special fields which include (i) process engineering, (ii) civil engineering, (iii) structural engineering, (iv) mechanical engineering, (v) electrical engineering, (vi) fluid engineering, (vii) instrumentation and control engineering, (viii) automation and control activities, (ix) geo-technical engineering, and (x) environmental and safety engineering etc.

In a steel project, whether it is a green field or a brown field, design and engineering is the most essential activity, since no other activity can take place without it. In fact, all the project activities have very high dependence on the design and engineering. As an example, the plant and equipment are procured based on technical specifications determined during project engineering. Similarly the erection of plant and equipment is carried out as per erection drawings.

During design and engineering, it is necessary to take regulatory authorities approval on certain categories of drawing and documents. These approvals are to be taken well in time so that further engineering work can proceed without fear of it becoming redundant in case the regulatory authorities seek major modification of drawing and documents before according the approval.

During design and engineering, a very large amount of information is handled. The type of information varies from standards and codes, technical requirements, design criteria, technical data, site data, feedback data, specifications, battery limit data and many more types. A large amount of information serves as input data for further design. Also, during the designing process, some of the data gets revised and communication of the revised data needs to flow to all concerned. Managing of the quality of the information and its flow is critical for the project. Further, the information flow is to be closely coordinated so that the required information is available to all the engineering disciplines where it is needed.

Design and engineering activities of the project are to proceed at a speed so that the plant commissioning can be done as per the schedule. This is normally a big challenge since a very large number of agencies are involved. Very effective control of flow of quality information from and to these agencies is essential for design and engineering activities to progress as per the project schedule requirements.

Design and engineering has three basic components namely (i) concepts and technology determination along with carrying out balancing of capacities, materials, energies, and utilities etc., (ii) basic engineering, and (iii) detailed engineering. Also, there are basically four phases of design and engineering during the life cycle of a steel project. These four phases are shown in Fig 1 and described below.

Phases of design and engineering activities

Fig 1 Phases of design and engineering

Initiation phase

Initiation phase of the steel project is the first phase when the design and engineering activities start. During this phase feasibility studies for the project are carried out for firming of the initial decision of setting up of the steel plant. This is the phase when various approvals are taken for the implementation of the steel project. One of the important approvals during this phase is the environmental clearance for the project. This clearance requires preparation of a study report for the environment impact assessment (EIA) and environment management plan (EMP).

During this phase the project concepts are determined and a plot plan for the selected facilities is made. The technologies to be adopted are selected after assessing various available technologies, requirements of input materials, utilities, and power are estimated after carrying out preliminary balancing of capacities, materials, energies, and utilities etc. The suitability of the site location is also established in this phase after the study of the infrastructure development need for the project.

This is the phase when the requirements of enabling facilities needed during the project implementation are determined. These enabling facilities include (i) site preparation including its leveling, (ii) road and/or rail approach for the selected site, (iii) building requirements for administration during construction, (iv) facilities for construction stores, (v) communication need during construction, (vi) requirements of water, power, and other utilities needed during project implementation, and (vii) housing facilities needed for the construction workers etc. Basic engineering for these enabling facilities starts during this phase.

Basic engineering phase

This phase of design and engineering is also known as ‘front end engineering design (FEED)’. It starts after the final decision to implement the steel project has been taken and the arrangement for the funds for the project implementation has been made.  This is the phase where design and engineering play a dominant role in the project implementation. There are several significant engineering activities which take place during this phase. Major amongst them are described below.

During the basic engineering phase the steel project gets defined in sufficient details. This is the phase when firmed decisions are being taken in various areas of the project based on the functional requirements. Basic engineering of the project describes the technological processes, the process flows, material handling and their flows, the main equipments, piping and instrument schemes, electrical distribution network, utilities distribution system, and process control schemes etc. During this phase, the requirements of input materials, utilities, and power for the project are worked out after carrying out detailed balancing of capacities, materials, energies, and utilities etc. Also, the industrial building sizes in different areas of the plant along with the crane rail heights and major handling facilities are decided during the basic engineering.

The development of the plant general layout along with broad layouts of the production shop is very important activity of this phase. It is because, the plant layout is the mechanism which involves knowledge of the space requirements for the facilities and also involves their proper arrangement so that continuous and steady movement of the production cycle takes place. It needs highest of the attention since it is being finalized for the lifetime of the plant and once the construction activities start at the site, the basic nature of its layout cannot be changed. Any modification in the layout at a later date is not only being difficult but also involves a major capital expenditure besides delay in the project execution. The steel plant operational performance also depends on a large scale on its general lay out since the layout decides the material movements. Also, the layout mistakes are usually of permanent and expensive in nature. Hence, it is essential that a lot of efforts of engineering should enter into evolving the most suitable arrangements of the facilities.

In a steel project, a very large number of equipment, valves and fittings, motors, and instruments etc. are used. It is very essential that all the agencies involved in the project follow standard designs and makes so that equipment, valves and fittings, motors, and instruments can be standardized. This necessitates preparation of ‘general standard specifications’ which need to be followed by all the agencies involved in the project. These general standard specifications are to be ready before the procurement activity for the plant and equipment starts.

Preparation of the technical part of the tender documents for the procurement of the plant and equipment is the massive work during the basic engineering phase. Clear, detailed and comprehensive technical tender document specifying all the technical requirements of plant and equipment is essential for the speedy procurement. This activity usually takes place under time constraints and hence good managerial controls are necessary for keeping of the schedules. After the finalization of the tender with the successful bidder, the technical tender document gets converted into contract technical specification after incorporating the changes agreed with the bidder during the tender negotiations. This contract technical specification becomes the basic document for the detailed engineering.

During the basic engineering phase, detailed engineering for the enabling works and their execution is carried out.

Detailed engineering phase

Detailed engineering takes place during the actual project execution phase. It consists of producing drawings and documents which are necessary for (i) manufacturing of the plant and equipment, (ii) carrying out civil foundations, (iii) fabrication of building and technological structures, (iv) erection of structures as well as plant and equipment, (v) laying of cables and making of electrical and instrument connections, and (vi) laying of pipes and piping connections etc. During the detailed engineering, the information from the suppliers is integrated with other information of the project. Also, the responsibility of carrying out the detailed engineering is split between the suppliers and the project engineering personnel including the project consultants.

During detailed engineering, work is being carried out across various engineering disciplines simultaneously and hence it needs close coordination to ensure consistency between various disciplines. Also detailed engineering, many of the activities are of different natures. As an example, some of the activities produce drawings which are scaled geographical representation while others produce diagrams and documents which has no connection with the physical appearance of the plant and equipment.

During detailed engineering several agencies are working simultaneously in the limited area. It is necessary that their work is coordinated and unified so that integral engineering of the shop takes place. Coordination of engineering activities is very demanding and strenuous since it is to be carried out under time constraints as well as with in the limitations of the contracts with the agencies.

There are several thousands of drawings and documents which are processed during detailed engineering. These documents are normally grouped under various categories. Also there are several documents which are exchanged several times between the suppliers and project many times before they get finalized and get approved for their use in the project execution. Also, most of the drawings and documents undergo revisions to incorporate additional details or the changes which takes place with the progress of the design and engineering of the project. Hence proper and systematic identification of drawing and documents is an essential part of the detailed engineering. Also this systematic identification of the drawings and documents is to be simple which can be easily understood in the same way by all the agencies involved during the project execution.

Detailed engineering activities start with the finalization of internal layout of the shops with the successful suppliers. This is followed by the approval of various categories of the drawings which include equipment GA (general arrangement) drawing, process flow diagrams, piping and instrument drawing, and electrical single line diagram etc. Supplier is also to take approvals for the progress monitoring report format as well as criteria which need to be followed for the stage and final inspection of the plant and equipment. Also supplier is required to send shipping and packing details so the storage requirements and the facilities needed to handle the shipments at the project sites are worked out.

After all the approvals are taken, the supplier prepares the manufacturing drawings for the plant and equipment and releases them for the manufacture. The supplier submits the specifications for taking the procurement action for those items which are out of the supplier’s scope. The supplier also submit the feedback data indicating various loads so that the engineering activities can start for the civil foundations as well as for the structural platforms in the building and various other structures coming in the area.

The civil drawings are prepared based on the feedback data and released for carrying out of the civil work at the project site. Also, the structural design drawings are prepared and released for the fabrication of the structures. Tender technical specifications are prepared for those items whose procurement action is dependent on the supplier’s feedback specifications.

Electrical engineering is carried out for the plant electrical power generation and distribution. It also requires connection with external grid. Power balancing is carried out for the power distribution. Power is supplied at various voltage levels to the equipments which need to be segregated and the distribution system is to be designed accordingly. Electrical control system is also to be integrated with the process control system. Power supply to certain processes and equipment cannot be interrupted for ensuring production continuity and for ensuring safety of the process and equipment. This necessitates need of second power source and/or emergency power which is to be engineered. Activities during electrical engineering are categorized as architecture of electrical power and distribution system, preparation of single line diagrams, preparation of equipment specifications, and preparation of installation documents. The activities start with the identification of all the electrical loads. These electrical loads are to include those loads which are part of certain packages such as lube oil system, ventilation system, and hydraulic systems etc.

Instrument engineering is to meet the functional requirements of the process. It starts with the process instruments diagrams (PIDs). Instrument engineering is important with regards to process control, and process monitoring. It has also to meet all the safety and emergency requirements of the process. Both control room instruments and field instruments are involved. Instrument engineering is normally very closely related to process engineering. Also it is very similar to electrical control engineering except that the voltage and current levels in instrument engineering are very low.

Another important activity during detailed engineering is the preparation of erection drawings for structures as well as for plant and equipments. These erection drawings are used for erection of structures and equipment. One more document which is prepared by the supplier of the plant and equipment is the plant operation manual, which is used for the training of the operational personnel.

Final engineering phase

During the final engineering phase there are two very important activities. These are (i) field engineering and (ii) preparation of as built drawings and documents to be used when plant goes for operations after completion of the project.

Field engineering consists of modification of drawing and documents for (i) correcting the errors of design and engineering, (ii) correcting the errors of construction, (iii) incorporation of additional details which may become necessary during the project implementation because of overlooking of certain requirements during design and engineering or additional requirements coming from regulatory authorities, and (iv) modifications  which become necessary due to the deviations in equipment found during inspection or because of the deterioration of the conditions of plant and equipment during storage which can happen because of several reasons.

As built drawing and documents are prepared by incorporating all the revisions and modification which have taken place during the project execution phase. For this, it is necessary that a master list of all the drawing and documents is maintained in the engineering office showing the status of the latest revision.

Output of design and engineering

Design and engineering activities rely very heavily on the knowledge and experience of the people who are carrying out these activities. These activities also need certain amount of flexibility in their attitude. However, integrity of purpose cannot be compromised during design and engineering.

The outputs of design and engineering are drawings, documents, and specifications etc. which are in large numbers. Most of these drawings and documents can be grouped in certain categories as given below.

  • General documents – They include engineering design data, project engineering plan, equipment list, and engineering document list etc.
  • Design study reports -These include site selection report, feasibility reports, detailed project report, infrastructure development report, and environment impact assessment and environment management plan report needed for environment clearance etc.
  • Plant layout drawings – These drawings include plot plan, block layout drawing, plant general layout drawing, area layout drawings, shop internal layout drawings, road and rail network drawings, piping routing drawing, fire hydrant routing drawing, and cable routing drawing etc.
  • Process related documents – These documents include process design data, process design criteria, input and output material quantities and specifications, block flow diagram, process flow diagrams, process description and operating philosophy, process equipment list, heat, energy and material balance, process fluids list, utility consumption list, consumables and change parts list and their consumption norms, equipment process data sheets, thermal data sheets, duty specification, piping and instrumentation diagrams (PIDs), emergency shutdown procedure, process calculation, data logging system, and operating manual etc.
  • Equipment related engineering documents – These documents include equipment list, equipment specification and data sheet, GA (general arrangement) drawings, spare part lists, manufacturing drawings for critical spare parts, plant and equipment dissembling and assembly manual, lubrication scheme and list of lubricants along with their specification for procurement, hydraulic, pneumatic, and ventilation system manuals, and list of bearings, special fasteners and tools etc.
  • Procurement and contract management documents – These documents include general standard specification, requisition for procurement, technical tender specification, technical bid evaluation report, contract technical specification, equipment inspection criteria and inspection reports, and contract monitoring reports etc.
  • Civil related drawing and documents – These include site level survey, site leveling and preparation plan, tender specification and bill of materials for civil work, drainage network drawing, underground network drawing, design specification / basis of design, concrete specification, foundation bolt specifications, civil foundation drawings, reinforcement bending and forming drawings, civil works specification, and standard drawings etc.
  • Structure related drawing and documents – These include architectural drawings, tender specifications and bill of quantities for structural works, structural design drawings, structural fabrication drawings, structural assembly drawings, building detail drawings, structure calculation data sheets, structure standard drawings, list of steel sections, procurement specification for steel structures, structure’s welding procedures, list of electrodes, and structural erection drawings etc.
  • Electrical related drawing and documents – These include electrical design specification, list of electrical consumers and power balance, electrical calculations data sheet, power demand calculations, motor list with the power rating of the motors, general single line diagram, equipment data sheet, equipment specification, logic circuit diagrams, switchgear single line diagram, switchgear typical diagram, architecture drawing, equipment layout drawings, wiring diagrams, lighting layout drawings, lighting protection system, cable routing drawings, cable list, installation manuals, block diagrams, spare parts list, and trouble-shooting diagrams, earthing system, electrical protection system, and power factor compensation system etc.
  • Instrumentation and control documents – These include design specification, specifications for systems (control, electrostatic discharge, and telecom etc.), system architecture drawing, instrument functional diagram, control manuals, mimic display drawings, safety integrity level (SIL) review, instrument list, instrument data sheets, level sketches, cable routings and junction box (JB) location drawing, field instrument location drawings, cable routing drawings, cable cross section drawings, cable list, spare parts list, junction box wiring diagram, typical installation drawings, equipment layout drawings, telecommunication equipment layout drawing, and instrument loop diagram etc.
  • Refractory drawing and documents – These include specification data sheets, drawing of refractory shapes, list of refractories with quantities, bill of quantities for mortars and refractory materials, inspection norms for refractories, refractory laying drawings, laying practice for shapeless refractories, and refractory drying and heating practice manual etc.
  • Piping drawing and documents – These include piping design basis, line diagrams, piping layout drawings, piping general arrangement drawings, piping isometric drawings, list of valves and fittings, general piping specification, piping material classes specifications, supply specifications for piping materials, piping flexibility and stress analysis criteria, piping stress analysis calculation, pipe support specification and drawings, corrosion control and material selection criteria, cathodic protection system design specification, painting specification, insulation specification, and piping installation drawings etc.

The above list of drawings and documents prepared during design and engineering of the steel project is not comprehensive. There are several other drawing and documents which are not covered in the above lists, but are generated during design and engineering activities.  Also, development of infrastructure which proceeds simultaneously with the project needs close coordination with the design and engineering activities of the project. This necessitates preparation of several drawing and documents which are required to be exchanged with the agencies carrying out the infrastructural development work.