How to schedule a precast plant project

30 August 2018 | Web Article Number:

Construction, Civil & Structural Engineering
Consulting Engineers & Project Management
Property – Commercial & Industrial

THE setting up of a precast plant requires proper scheduling with each aspect of the project requiring specific planning and adequate time allocation.

That’s according to Elematic, which says its expertise in this process has assisted both local and global customers with precast plant developments.

The company advises that before equipment manufacturing starts, a launch meeting should be organised to ensure that all the technical details are in place; the production capacity, their feedings and even the equipment size required to make sure the site is appropriately designed. Drawings of the future precast concrete production hall should be available (in dwg., where possible).

The drawings should include the exact technical details of the building, eg. column size, floor levels, HVAC points, overhead-crane working areas coupled with detailed information about all of the existing structures that are in the new equipment working area.

How to schedule a precast plant project
MaijaToivonen, ProjectManager, Elematic

“A carefully designed layout ensures functionality and cost-efficiency of the precast production plant. We also create equipment drawings to best serve the production needs. This may mean, for example, that the size of a given machine is changed to better fit the preserved location at your factory,” said Maija Toivonen, Project manager at Elematic.

“After assessment we will supply the initial drawings which will include forces to the foundation and columns as well as electrical, water, sewer, compressed air and network feeding points, allowing for the finalization of the factory design making sure that the foundations and all other structures are sturdy enough to handle all the loads.”

In order to create a functional factory, an understanding of even the smallest of details is required, otherwise there’s a good chance that things go wrong. “For example, once when going through the factory layout with a client we found out that we had planned to put a specific machine into a different hall than where the customer wanted it to be placed.

“If we had proceeded with the project without knowing this, the produced machinery could have been unsuitable for the final factory. Sometimes it is also possible that a small change in the layout or in the lifting equipment is the key to further enhance the production flow and thereby add production capacity” she said.

After agreement is reached on all the details, the equipment design is finalised and the manufacturing can begin. The production schedule is dependable on the size of the factory and the complexity of the equipment, but the average production time for precast plant equipment is four months.

Production is always required to be implemented as quickly possible, but it’s important not to set an overly optimistic schedule for all the project steps.

The production equipment is manufactured based on the overall project schedule. If any installations are delayed the equipment should be stored carefully until installations resume.

The machinery and all other factory components need to be stored in a clean and covered environment.

Scheduling the production line installation depends on the schedule of the whole factory and in particular the foundation work. Only after the foundations have been checked for load-bearing capacity by our mechanical supervisor should equipment installation commence. It is crucial that the foundations are sturdy and durable enough to bear all production machinery loads.

“It takes a few weeks for the mechanical installations to be completed, after which electrical engineers can then commence work. Naturally, the time needed for this depends on how many workers you have and how skilled the team of engineers and contractors are. The foundations have to be in tolerance – inaccuracy may prolong the equipment installation work and in the worst case affect the end product negatively,” said Toivonen.

“The final step is taking the machinery into use and testing, which is usually conducted by a team from Elematic. Factory operating personnel also need to learn how to use the machines, therefore suitable candidates should be identified for each of the machines and time reserved for training.

“Machinery stays in good condition when people know how they are used and what kind of maintenance is required. Hence, we recommend coming up with a maintenance program and a dedicated maintenance team. Elematic is able to assist with a preventive maintenance program.”

Finding the best and most cost-efficient concrete mix that works with the equipment always requires local testing. The company recommends a gradual factory start-up process.

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