Retrofitting a plant is often seen as an attractive investment option compared to a new plant. Implementing new technology creeps the plant capabilities at minimum cost. Plant debottlenecking for incremental capacity or product quality changes costs less than a new plant. While generally true, care must be taken. Some plants are all neck and no bottle. Which is your plant?
Historically, most project and design techniques have focused on new plants. Even with new construction, performance has been poor. Surveys have shown that new construction meets success criteria in less than 20 percent of capital projects. Experience with retrofits shows an even lower success rate. Lack of success on previous retrofits is often a major reason operating plants are reluctant to proceed with changes. Unforeseen consequences of projects can eliminate years of profits. How can a plant assure a successful revamp instead of a failed project?
Successful revamps require many different elements. Nevertheless, starting on the right path at the beginning tremendously improves success rates. The two starting elements are (1) building the right revamp team and (2) understanding current operation.
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