The term modular fabrication is commonly applied to materials and equipment built for use in the oil and gas industry. However, some people may be unaware of exactly what the term refers to and what advantages it offers over traditional, in-field construction. This article will briefly examine what modular fabrication is and what benefits it offers.
What Is Modular Fabrication?
Modular fabrication refers to the process of building and constructing equipment off-site in a fabrication facility. The completed product can then be delivered to the worksite and quickly installed and integrated into field operations. This differs from on-site construction in which the equipment or system is fully built at the worksite. Modular fabrication offers another set of very significant benefits over field construction: efficiency, speed, safety, quality, economy, and convenience.
One of the most important benefits of modular fabrication is that it is a very efficient process. Since it takes place off-site in a specialize fabrication shop this allows the work environment to be fully optimized to function in a way that is as time, quality, and cost efficient as possible. The equipment and materials needed to do the fabrication will already be present at the fabrication shop and the work crew will be comfortable and familiar with the working environment and process.
It may seem counterintuitive that modular fabrication is faster than on-site construction, but this is indeed the case. The reason modular fabrication is faster is because in addition to the efficiency benefits described above, modular fabrication also allows for much greater control over the environment and work process. There will be no weather delays with modular fabrication and crews can work in organized shifts to get the job done.
Safety and Quality
Most people who have ever been on a construction site understand the dangers associated with heavy machinery. In an on-site construction project the dangers are often elevated since conventional, daily operations are likely to be on-going nearby. With modular fabrication the work is done off-site, which means that the company’s routine operations are not disturbed or endangered, and by the same token the fabrication work itself is also safer and easier to monitor.
Additionally, modular fabrication allows for very thorough testing and evaluations to be done before the new goods and equipment ever reaches the worksite. This allows for problems to be quickly and safely, before they become a field hazard and endanger workers or material resources on-site. Modular fabrication enables the highest industry standards to be met and all regulations and guidelines to be stringently adhered to.
Another benefit of modular fabrication is that it is typically more economical than component-based, site-built counterparts. Much of the reduced cost is related to the greater efficiency with which the systems and equipment can be produced with modular fabrication. This also translates into fewer labor hours. Additionally since the quality and safety can be closely monitored with modular fabrication costly accidents and replacements can also be avoided.
One of the most beneficial things about modular fabrication, however, is the greater level of convenience that it offers as compared to on-site construction. The added convenience takes many forms, but four of the biggest aspects include:
Minimal Field Disruption – Modular fabrication takes the construction and fabrication work out of the field and places it in the controlled environment of the fabrication shop. This is not only safer and more efficient, it also results in much less field disruption for the company or business that has ordered the item. This reduction in field disruption also translates into less downtime at the worksite.
Quick Installation – Equipment created with modular fabrication is designed to be quick and easy to install once it reaches the worksite. It will integrate efficiently with existing equipment and systems and will typically be up and running quickly.
Good Mobility – Modular fabrication also results in equipment and systems that are convenient to transport. After all they must be transported from the fabrication shop to the worksite; however, they are generally also able to moved with relative ease from then on. That makes it easier to relocate the equipment as needed.
Space Efficient – Modular fabrication is also designed to create space efficient equipment and systems. This results in the units taking up less space once they reach the worksite and it also means that they can be conveniently stored if needed.
The general benefits listed above apply to most of the different equipment and systems that can be built using modular fabrication. However, for certain types of equipment and systems may be more or less pronounced. For example, if a company is over budget, then the benefits of modular fabrication in terms of cost and economy will be particularly valuable. Consider modular fabrication for your next project and contact us for more information about how this may benefit you. To gain insight into how we maximize these advantages, explore our article on ‘How We Implement Six Sigma Techniques in Our Modular Fabrication Processes.’