Process Plant Relocation Can Speed Expansion & Save Money

Date Published:   04/02/2019

Older chemical processing plants often have a lot more to give. They may be decommissioned for a variety of reasons, and relocating the equipment to overcome those circumstances could prove economical for companies looking to save money. Moving chemical and processing plants across regions, or even oceans can provide several major benefits including:

  • Proximity to greater demand
  • Access to cheaper workforces or raw materials
  • Expanded operations
  • Escape from stringent industrial regulations
  • Money savings compared to purchasing new equipment
  • Time savings on engineering, specifications, production design, and documentation

While the cost of purchasing an existing plant, dismantling and refurbishing the equipment, shipping it to a new location, and reassembling can seem like an impossible task, in many cases it can be significantly lower than purchasing new components and building a brand new plant.

Once the decision to relocate has been made, extensive, detailed planning and an agreement with experienced professionals can make even the most complicated manufacturing facility move manageable and efficient.


Properly Document the Decommissioning and Disasssembly

Properly deactivating the process equipment at its existing location will ensure efficient set up at the other end. Start by documenting the location, orientation, configuration and relationship between the components in site. Photographs, diagrams, match-marking, and color-coded tags can be useful when the processing plant is reassembled in its new location. More than simply a map for the reassembly team to follow, these schematics and visual representations should also note the placement of vertical features – overhead conveyors, maintenance corridors, pits, trenches, etc.

Do not rely on old documents. Where layout drawings exist, check their accuracy by conducting walking equipment inspections. Where they do not exist, take special care to create them. If the plant is operational prior to relocation, benchmark, and calibrate machine performance before shutting it down.


Process Equipment Review

Equipment walk-through inspections also will allow experts to assess the quality and condition of each component. It is probable that not all machinery will be in optimal working order. Some may have to be repaired, overhauled or refurbished, while other parts can require replacement. A partner experienced in buying and selling chemical plants and equipment can appraise each machine and offer guidance on whether specific processing equipment is worth salvaging.

While relocating a production plant can help save money on equipment, not all components will be worth reusing. When repairs, freight charges, storage costs, lost scrap value, etc. are considered, sourcing replacement equipment near the new plant location may be more economical than relocating some pieces.

Make this determination early in the process. This not only saves time and freight costs, it also allows companies to locate and purchase replacement equipment so it is on hand when it comes time to reassemble the line in the new location.



The actual relocation of a production plant involves much more that crating equipment and putting it on a ship or rail car. A comprehensive plan will ensure the receiving location is prepared in time for the donor plant’s arrival. A plant relocation expert will schedule the timing of each component’s arrival so the team on the receiving end can have the necessary platforms, bases, utility connections, and other structures in place.

The relocation partner should offer custom rigging and packaging that provides the greatest damage protection for condensers, vessels, compressors, converters, and other valuable equipment. They should organize ground shipments on high-capacity trailers and flatbed railcars that eliminate cargo shifts and cushion the ride. For overseas transport, you should expect your partner to coordinate with shipping firms and handle logistical challenges, documentation, export paperwork, and scheduling to deliver your plant components swiftly and undamaged.


Reassembly and Commissioning

Your relocation contractor should use match marking, equipment tags, and the schematic and photographs created before the plant was dismantled to bring the “new” plant online safely and efficiently.

A comprehensive reassembly program begins even before the plant equipment arrives from its original location. The plant engineer and/or relocation vendor should fully prepare the new site, installing anchors, skids, platforms, and other equipment bases. Then, using the match-marks and photographic documentation created before dismantling, the team can reassemble production lines, storage tanks, subassemblies, etc., including electrical connections and mechanical applications. When the plant equipment is connected to electricity, gas, water, and other utilities, the contractor and plant engineer then can conduct tests to ensure all connections are complete and functional.


Trust Phoenix for Plant Relocation

As mentioned earlier, there are many reasons to consider relocating your process facility, whether it be nitrogen fertilizer plants (ammonia, urea, nitric acid, ammonium nitrate), methanol and syngas plants or any other type of plant. Whatever your reasons, Phoenix Equipment will help you succeed. Put our industry expertise and comprehensive services to work, guiding your company through the entire process.

Contact Phoenix today to learn more about our plant relocation services.

Stock# 232
Plant Subcategory Ammonia Plants
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