A facility in Illinois wanted to test the viability of a new ethanol extraction technology. However, this would require building a distillation column in a location virtually impossible to reach. Moreover, the unit would have to fit within a tight footprint and its installation would involve intricate rigging. Yet the facility couldn’t be altered to accommodate the new process system. The distillation unit was an add-in to a larger project, and the rest of the facility layout already had been completed. In addition, because of ongoing operations, constructing the system onsite wasn’t an option. To further complicate matters, the installation path involved multiple doorways with fixed dimensions, overhead piping and conduits, and several 90° turns.
“The pre-design site visit was critical. There was no way we could have developed the proper skid design or the detailed rigging plan without that visit. Those measurements were critical, and the path was very tight. The final resting place for the skid was in a very small space along the back wall of the plant. The client knew they needed the distillation system, but they had no idea how to get the system to the final destination,” says Ken Sipes, manager of EPIC’s Process and Mechanical Group. “We knew a modular solution was the answer, but actually getting the skid into the plant meant we couldn’t design the system as one big skid. We had to get creative.”