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Design Methods to Defer Costs on Batch Projects
This paper analyzes two methods of deferring costs associated with the installation of batch automation systems. The first defers cost by postponing the configuration of recipes and batch management until after start-up. With this method operations personnel manually coordinate the execution of phases and maintain a paper batch record. Often this leads to a design that uses larger and more specialized phases since the execution of the recipe is not automated. A batch management package and recipes can be added at some later time to create a fully automated process. The alternative design implements the batch management package up-front, postponing the configuration of automatic phases until later. Operations personnel would then use the batch management package to guide them through the process as they manipulate the control modules at the direction of the batch management package. Automated phases are implemented in stages deferring costs over time. This implementation can be carried out in a prioritized order, based on operator input, specifying which process operations are the most time consuming and difficult. The two methodologies are examined for potential pitfalls and benefits of each. Compromises that must be made, as well as the functional advantages and deficiencies of each approach will be discussed.
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