A pre-commercial production system that plays a major role in the production industry is known as a pilot plant. It is used to meet variety of purposes. Before a full-scale production of a product is done or decided, a pilot plant can help in production of a product in small amounts or small scale. Normally, this is essential when an industry wants to apply new technology in production. Before producing on large scale in the market, such plant helps individuals to learn or have more knowledge regarding the new production system. Therefore, pilot plants serve an important role in production.
The learning period allows for the collection of important data. The data collected can then be used to design full-scale production systems and products on a commercial scale. The plants are also used to help in identifying further research objectives. Also, they help to offer support to investors in making investment decisions. Investors usually want to be sure that they are making the right investment decision and these systems help them in making that decision.
The plants also help in building public support. It is easier to study how people react to a product when it is in low scale production. Public feedback can help determine if the new technology is favored or not therefore a decision on whether to move to large scale production can be made.
A pilot plant is usually smaller in size contrary to a full-scale production plant. The type of product being produced determines the size range of the pilot plant. These plants are highly flexible which means they can easily be changed to fit various situations.
Stock lab equipment, as an example of modest building provisions can be used to construct such plants in the workroom in their meekest form. The construction involves low cost and do not need extensive engineering work. However, such facilities come with sophistication and huge. One can spent dollars in terms of millions. Besides, extensive engineering effort is applied in designing and implementation. Special materials which are hard to produce could be needed for construction.
These facilities are great for risk management. They help companies to lessen the risks associated with constructing big process plants. Despite their importance, these facilities are not always used by companies in all situations. For instance, companies that need to expand their production capacity may opt to not use a pilot plant, but instead proceed to building a process plant directly.
With growth of more innovative process simulation on computer systems, the demand for these plants keeps getting lower from time to time. The confidence of process designers keeps rising due to more advanced process. Consequently, it limits the desire to have these plants. Nonetheless, both pilot systems and process simulation can still be employed by a firm.
It is a very complicated process to design such systems. In order for a plant to give the best results there is need for more knowledge on engineering. A lot of money is being pumped by companies as investments for these facilities to be successful.
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