Effective Front End Loading of Project to Support Equipment Selection and Flow Sheet Optimisation
A major opportunity to make a successful project is through the decisions made in the early Front End Loading phases. Whether it’s selecting the optimum flowsheet modification to accommodate a process change or selecting the most appropriate equipment type for a capital replacement project, these important decisions set the trajectory for the whole of life project success. This success can be defined through many criteria such as maintaining capital and operating cost estimates throughout the project lifecycle, achieving process performance targets, achieving equipment reliability parameters, or providing the desired safety or environmental performance. But how do you make the right project decisions? Is it as simple asking the resident site expert or doing what has been done elsewhere? Perhaps sometimes. However, more often than not, many different variables and individual opinions need to be considered and quantified, and the options compared on an equal basis to enable an informed decision to be made. These important decisions need to be made early in the Front End Loading phases before the major investment is made at the start of detailed engineering, procurement and construction. The risk of making the wrong decision early in the Front End Loading phases is highlighted by the number of projects in our industry that have failed to meet even the most basic criteria for project success.
This paper discusses the attributes of successful Front End Loading, describes the general steps needed in the methodology for early Front End Loading studies and provides examples of several recent studies completed for the lead and zinc industry.