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Best Practices in Capital Equipment Commissioning

By Peter Kalish, O’Brien & Gere Engineers (OBG) |

Ensuring that real-world commissioning tests are properly executed can benefit both equipment end users and suppliers Every capital equipment project comes to a point when operations teams expect payback to begin on the investment. How soon those benefits are realized is driven by the effectiveness of the handoff from the equipment supplier. Those projects that rely only on acceptance tests to signal production readiness tend to experience delays, higher costs and lost output. The most effective handoffs involve comprehensive commissioning. The difference between acceptance and commissioning is key. Acceptance tests are designed to show that a solution meets a set of objective contractual requirements. These are tangible deliverables, are not subject to interpretation, and are demonstrated according to tightly controlled conditions. Commissioning, however, is a real-world test using actual production resources (materials, staff and infrastructure) that are subject to uncertainties within an industrial ecosystem. Effective commissioning tests must incorporate elements of variability and interdependency, which are difficult to replicate in simpler acceptance tests (Figure 1). FIGURE 1. Effective commissioning should incorporate in-depth…
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