Specialized Studies

Specialized Studies includes the following :

Stress Analysis

Stress analysis is used to evaluate the effects of pressure, static and dynamic loads on the piping. We model the piping systems & its connected equipment, other process equipment of the system and experiment by applying various static and dynamic loads through our model. We assess the results and validate the model to comply to the Industry standard. The latest case study performed for Stress analysis of pipes exemplifies Elixir Engineering commitment to ensuring the safety and reliability of industrial processes.

Structural Analysis

Structural Analysis studies the effect of external forces on tangible objects like constructed structural elements and estimates the behavior of various structures when different loads act on them. A thorough Structural Analysis aids in the design and determination of element sizes and in selecting the right material for structural elements.

Computation Fluid Dynamics

Understanding meshing requirement and quality are highly important in Computation Fluid Dynamics. Our CFD team possesses hands-on experience, skill and complete understanding of dynamics and fluid physics. We use various fluid simulation strategies, techniques and advanced software to perform an array of engineering activities such as calculating performance, validating design, evaluation of operating conditions etc., and provide optimum solutions with lesser downtime.

Vibration Analysis

Vibration analysis identifies and measures misalignment, bearing defects, imbalance, mechanical looseness, bent shafts, gear drive faults, and resonance present in an equipment. Information from this analysis could be used for evaluating the root cause of vibration anomalies and correction can be provided.

Flare Radiation & Dispersion Study

In production process, flaring is the controlled burning of natural gas. It is very important to determine the thermal radiation and estimate stack height during flaring. Our comprehensive study will outline the extent of flare radiation and dispersion to safely dispose of the gas during power outages, failure of equipment, and other emergencies or ‘upsets’ during processing or drilling operations through flaring or ventilation.

Surge Analysis

Evaluating the extent of surge for hydraulic systems is of paramount importance to avoid leakage and failure of the whole system. Sudden changes in Surge pressure lead to damage to pipeline, damage to equipment, bursting of pipeline etc., A thorough Surge Analysis estimates the system, determines the reason for surge and will help in selecting the suitable mitigation recommendation. Our team of experienced hydraulic engineers equipped with advanced software can ensure that the client’s requirements are fulfilled to the highest standards

Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is an intelligent and computerized method for forecasting how a product or engineering component will react to real-world forces like vibration, heat, fluid flow and other physical effects. FEA predicts whether the products will fail, collapse, wear out or work the way it was designed. Basically, it is an advanced system used in design and to augment/replace experimental testing.

FEA is practiced in almost all engineering disciplines. It is often an alternative to the experimental test method set out in many standards. The idea is that you can reach an approximate solution to any complex engineering problem by dividing the structure/component into smaller more manageable (finite) elements.

Advantages Of FEA In Pressure Vessel and Piping

FEA Software is used in many engineering disciplines for estimation of structural strength and behavior, modeling, simulation, and design optimization. It is also used in Piping Design for Finite Element Analysis where ‘rigidity’ and not ‘flexibility’ is a governing factor.

Experienced piping designers and engineers are aware of the limitations of beam element software(CAESAR II for example) for specific scenarios and problems. These software applications may indicate a stress or loading issue that may not exist and sometimes fail to point out the issues that there are. A typical example is when larger diameter pipes and their intersections are inadequately modeled by beam theory.

There are also limitations and errors within the standards and codes applied, such as B31 codes. It is well-known that the stress intensification factors (SIF)s and flexibilities of intersections are inaccurate (when the branch and run pipe diameters differ). These inconsistencies unnecessarily shoot up costs to fix issues that don’t exist and also unsafe design when results don’t accurately display problems that do exist.

SIFs indicated by various codes are limited in their scope and often off the mark. For instance, for attaching pipes or structural supports to a bend, what should the SIF be? Piping codes are inadequate to address these and other practical engineering challenges that designers face daily.

Pressure Vessel FEA and Piping FEA offer practical benefits to many of these scenarios. FEA Software Applications are created to address Piping And Pressure Vessel problems that beam element theory and code limitations cannot resolve.

Buckling & Plasticity

In piping and pressure vessel geometries that have large D/t ratios and/or external pressure, buckling is a cause for concern. Finite Element Analysis of Pressure Vessels helps analyze buckling with traditional bifurcation and elastic-plastic collapse study.

Thermal Solutions

Through-the-wall thermal gradients often result in significant stresses. FEA Software can analyze steady state transient thermal stresses.

When Is It Good To Conduct Piping FEA?

  • To check for any nozzle loads (WRC 107/297 are not comprehensive and often inaccurate).
  • To examine large branch/shell intersections (d/D>0.50)
  • For piping or pressure vessels with D/t rations more than 100.
  • For flange analysis – to calculate the accurate operating bolt load
  • To estimate SIFs and flexibilities accurately for your piping analysis.
  • For external loads on saddle supported vessels.

Critical Use Cases For Finite Element Analysis:

  • For compliance with code requirements for buckling in complex systems.
  • To calculate realistic stresses for nozzles with external loads.
  • When your piping systems exceeds D/t>100. Piping code rules don’t cover larger D/t systems.
  • Conducting accurate fatigue analysis for nozzles or attachments.
  • If the design isn’t governed codes and standards – large angle cones, rectangular openings, etc.

De-bottlenecking Studies - Process Optimization

Process Optimization in terms of Capacity and Debottlenecking studies is a strategic decision making where it helps to improve utilization and avoid any uncertainties. This study also helps in efficiently upgrade plans when the primary situation changes. It helps in boosting the quality of program and giving the opportunity to optimize the return on investment in process change. Latest tools are being utilized by our manpower in rendering these services to ensure optimum quality.

In today’s challenging economic conditions, the debottlenecking of existing oil and gas plants appears very attractive. Most plants have some intrinsic, though mostly hidden, opportunities to boost their production capacities and efficiencies through troubleshooting and debottlenecking. These efforts can be carried out quickly and safely, at a fraction of the cost required to build new facilities of equivalent capacity. Valuable guidelines are offered here for debottlenecking operations, using a successful, real-life case study as an example.

To survive this extraordinary downturn, most companies have been seeking quick means to bolster the dwindling bottom lines on their balance sheets. The primary ways to achieve this goal are to boost plant production (and, thereby, revenues), reduce production costs, or both. In this volatile market, not many companies are willing to shell out large amounts of capital to finance new projects, or even a major expansion of an existing facility. What, then, becomes the most economically attractive and feasible option for raising the bottom line?

The good news is that options are still available to oil and gas processors to implement such plans without making large investments. One such option is to do a bit of “treasure hunting” in their own backyards—i.e., looking for inconspicuous opportunities that are already present in their existing plants.

Experience shows that most processing plants do have a number of hidden opportunities that can be easily capitalized on to better the company’s financial health. This option typically does not require major changes or large investments. Capitalizing on hidden opportunities usually requires a fraction of the cost and time required to build a grassroots facility of equivalent capacity. If such opportunities are discovered in an existing plant, the owner is unlikely to hesitate to reach for this “low-hanging fruit.”

Debottlenecking of existing oil-gas plants brings significant economic benefits

Key Benefits

  • Low labour requirement making it economical
  • Exceptional result
  • Durable solution
  • Supports modernization
  • Timely execution
  • Quality assurance


  • Chemical plants
  • Petrochemical industry
  • Oil Refineries
  • Gas Compression

Where and how to find hidden opportunities. Most plants have sweet spots, or “opportunity packs,” from which such initiatives can be developed. However, constraints or bottlenecks may hold back their productive exploitation. Only experienced eyes can recognize and weigh the worth of these opportunities against the operational challenges present in a brownfield plant environment.

Four such prospective opportunity packs include:

  • Feed composition or product quality no longer match the original design and purpose of the plant. If proposed changes are favorable, they often signal a major scope for enhancement, with minimum required physical changes to the plant.
  • As a standard practice, a 10%–20% over-design margin is provided in most process plants during initial design. This margin may still be entirely, or partly, available for utilization if some minor to moderate changes are made to existing processes and equipment.
  • If some existing processes and equipment are found to be inefficient, costly and/or outmoded, their upgrade or replacement may directly increase capacity and efficiency, and reduce OPEX.
  • A small number of underperforming, high-maintenance equipment is often found to undermine an entire plant’s productivity. This equipment should be considered for upgrading or replacement to increase the plant’s reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM).

These opportunities can be realized through troubleshooting and debottlenecking. Such projects typically start with a test run that pushes the plant to its limits, with an occasional adjustment of equipment and operating parameters, based on the judgement of operating personnel. These steps should be followed by a comprehensive feasibility report that includes a cost-benefit analysis, which will help develop a work plan for the entire program.

An exemplary case history. A successful debottlenecking project in a gas treatment and NGL plant resulted in a substantial capacity increase of 33%, or one-third of the plant’s original nameplate capacity of 450 MMscfd. At this plant, a number of crippling process and equipment problems were redressed to push the plant’s onstream factor from a range of 90%–94% to as high as 96%–97%, bringing a significant financial benefit.

The execution strategies applied demonstrate the importance of good planning and the depth of technical involvement required to carry out a successful debottlenecking project at a running plant. The details of this study are shared to guide and assist plant personnel wishing to undertake debottlenecking projects in the future. Although the referenced plant is a gas plant, the strategies and techniques used can be applied to debottlenecking efforts for any process plant, be it an oil processing or chemical production plant.

  • Stage 1. Typically, opportunities in this pack became visible right after a close review and analysis of data and past records. In the referenced plant, a major difference was observed in the feed stream from what was considered in the design; H2S was decreased by 40%–50% and condensate was reduced by 35%–40%.

Sales/product gas quality was also found to be over-specified in the design, compared to what customers required and what was outlined in the supply contract. Approximately 60%–90% of sales gas was consumed by local power and desalination plants, which could accept up to 50-ppm H2S, with no stated limit on CO2, provided that the minimum heating value requirement of 910 Btu/scf was met.

The gas injection compressors for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) were another main consumer. These compressors could accept H2S of similar quality but required no limit on CO2, as long as the gas was dry, as specified

Since the deviations were on the lower side, a large opportunity was foreseen for this plant. A 10% increase in capacity appeared to be possible by changing some operating parameters and process conditions. Hardly any physical changes in plant and equipment, or any capital investment, was envisaged. These items were chosen for Stage 1 since they could be completed quickly, and the economic returns could begin earlier. Due to a reduction in acid gas content (H2S + CO2) in the feed gas and higher H2S allowance in the sales gas, minor changes to processes and operations were adequate to achieve the target:

  1. The H2S specification in the sales gas was raised to 20 ppm from the original 4 ppm. Accordingly, the diethanolamine (DEA) circulation rate was reduced by 30% to match the changed conditions. This change also reduced the duty of the circulation pumps, aerial coolers and the regenerator section, resulting in significant steam and power savings.
  2. The steam controller and valve were tuned and recalibrated for smooth operations matching the reduced steamflow rate to the regenerator reboilers.
  3. No change was required to the downstream units [e.g., the dryer, chillers, turboexpander, NGL recovery and fracing units, condensate stabilization unit, sulfur recovery unit (SRU), etc.] which were found to have adequate margins from their design. Condensate, NGL and sulfur content in the feed stream were lower than in the design.
  • Stage 2. The objective of this pack of items was to capture most of the 10%–20% margin added during the plant’s design stage. The performance test carried out following the completion of Stage 1 reconfirmed the presence of these margins. The new target was set for a 10% increase over Stage 1 capacity by deciphering major bottlenecks:
    • The amine absorber tower foamed severely at a high flowrate, resulting in high amine loss, off-spec product and high flaring. The problem originated from aerosol/mist formation at high velocity in the well flowlines that escaped the separators and filters and reached the tower. The issue was solved by reducing the separator high-liquid level (HLL) and replacing the demister pads and filter elements with high-efficiency pads and elements with improved design.
    • Continuous dosing of a small amount of antifoam agent was also implemented, alongside the existing shock-dosing system, to combat the high-foaming situation. The frequency of laboratory foam tests (i.e., height and breakdown time) for amine samples was also increased to acquire advance warning of foaming tendency.
  1. Due to the increase in moisture load to the dryer at higher feed rates, dry gas specification became difficult to meet. The load was externally reduced to the pre-debottlenecking level by decreasing the dryer inlet temperature from a range of 30°C–32°C to 28°C by adjusting the flowrate of cold streams to the upstream cross-heat exchangers.
    Glycol carryover from the triethylene glycol (TEG) contactor also increased at high velocity. The tray downcomers were found to be limiting, causing poor vapor-liquid separation and high carryover. All existing trays were replaced by new trays with more bubble caps and wider downcomers. The demister pad was also replaced with a thicker and more efficient type to reduce liquid reentrainment inside the pad.
  2. High erosion, and the recurrent failure of the high-pressure absorber level control valve (a tiger-tooth-type valve), made absorber operation difficult. The erosion often required unplanned shutdown of the absorber for repair or replacement. The problem resulted from severe cavitation inside the valve due to large pressure drop (> 50 bar). The problem was finally solved by replacing the existing valve with a Q-ball-type valve and by introducing a choke tube upstream.
  3. The turboexpander-recompressor (TE-RC) set suffered a design snag from the beginning that prevented the attainment of rated capacity. The Joule-Thomson valve that operated in parallel with the expander took the balance load, after minor process adjustments. Although NGL recovery dropped marginally, the hydrocarbon dewpoint of the sales gas was still met. The TE-RC was later refurbished in Stage 4 by changing the rotor.
  • Stage 3. The enhancement target for this opportunity pack was set at 10% over the Stage 2 target. The test run performed after Stage 2 confirmed that most of the major equipment, such as the absorber, regenerator, reboilers, coolers, glycol contactor tower, chilling unit, NGL unit, SRU, major pumps and heat exchangers, contained the potential to meet the expected target (i.e., from the original nameplate capacity of 450 MMscfd to 600 MMscfd).

However, some equipment, process systems and piping required refurbishment and upgrading to ensure efficient, safe and sustained operation, which required additional investment. Based on a “remaining life” assessment conducted at that point, as well as a lifecycle cost analysis of benefits and costs, proposed changes were found to be very attractive. Process changes included:

  1. DEA was replaced by generic methyl diethanolamine (MDEA) due to the latter’s ability to remove H2S selectively over CO2. The amine circulation rate could be reduced since less CO2 was to be removed by amine, and the sales gas specification was relaxed from 4 ppm to 20 ppm. As a result, steam and power requirements dropped by more than 30%. Sales gas yield per unit of feed gas flow increased due to the higher amount of CO2 slipping into the sales gas. This scenario allowed higher gas flow to the gas injection system for EOR. Only the steam control loop and valve needed minor modifications to operate efficiently at a lower steam flowrate.
  2. H2S in the acid gas stream (i.e., the feed to the SRU) increased from 30% to approximately 45%, due to lower CO2 coabsorption by MDEA. This led to increases in capacity and performance of the SRU. By default, the problem of frequent flame failure in the sulfur burner due to the low H2S concentration in the acid gas was also eliminated.
  3. Due to lower CO2 removal by MDEA, the acid gas volume entering the SRU remained nearly unchanged, despite an increase in plant feed of 33%. Total sulfur (H2S) load to the SRU also remained nearly unchanged, as the H2S in the feed gas was lower than that considered in the design. Hence, no tangible impact was recorded on the SRU sulfur burner, catalytic reactors, waste heat boiler condenser, incinerator, etc. Only a few minor changes and adjustments were required for the SRU.

Equipment and hardware changes included:

  1. The 21 trays in the amine absorber were replaced by stainless steel (SS) random metallic tower packing (RMTP) of 50-mm diameter, which raised absorber capacity by 40%. Post-weld heat treatment, hydrostatic tests, recertification, etc. were avoided by using redundant tray supports, hangers, rings and other equipment already present in the tower.
  2. In the glycol contactor, all seven trays were replaced by SS structured packing. Glycol flowrate was increased by 15%–20% by adjusting the speed and stroke of the reciprocating glycol feed pumps. Stripping gas flow to the regenerator bottom drum was also increased marginally.
  • Stage 4. The remaining problems that eroded the plant’s onstream factor to 90%–94% were tackled in this stage. At least 96%–97% was expected to be achievable, since the plant underwent no annual complete shutdown. Instead, it underwent modular shutdowns for inspection and planned maintenance. Some of the problems solved in this stage may be typical of other process plants:
    1. Expander-recompressor lube oil viscosity continuously dropped during operation (normal: 30 cst at 40°C) due to the absorption of hydrocarbons (C4+) from heavy seal gas, tapped from the inlet side of the expander. The off-skid oil filtration-conditioning unit could not resolve the problem. By shifting the seal gas tapping from the expander’s inlet side to the outlet of the recompressor the location changed from (A) to (B), and the issue was resolved.
    2. The inlet guide vane of the TE-RC often jammed during operation due to hydrate formation on the inlet guide vanes. An investigation confirmed that, occasionally, moisture breakthrough occurred from the upstream dryer, which the faulty online moisture analyzer failed to detect. The moisture analyzer was replaced with a more efficient model, and periodic calibration was implemented to ensure that both dryer and analyzer performed satisfactorily. Also, the continuous injection of small doses of methanol at the inlet of the chillers and the expander was resumed, eventually eliminating the problem.
    3. Frequent regenerator-reboiler tube cutting at the baffle plates was a major problem that could not be solved, even after attempting several alternate designs, such as rod-baffle design, change of tube pitch and arrangement, and change in number of plates. The problem was found to originate from unnoticeable tube thinning due to corrosion from DEA. This corrosion occurred in the pre-MDEA period, when residual H2S in lean amine and steam temperature (superheat) were higher than the ideal values.

After the transition to MDEA, stringent control of residual H2S, and reintroduction of the steam desuper heater, the corrosion rate dropped to less than one-fifth of the previous level, and the tube-cutting problem disappeared. Use of SS tubes could have been another viable solution, but this was not considered since the feed gas often contained high chlorides from the wells. At high reboiler temperatures, these chlorides are highly detrimental to SS. Also, SS was determined to be 2.5–3 times costlier than carbon steel (CS).

The debottlenecked plant has been running for more than 20 yr at 133% (150 MMscfd over its nameplate capacity), at a much higher efficiency and plant availability, and without any major incidents, lost-time injuries or extended shutdowns.

HSE issues in debottlenecking. Any debottlenecking operation invariably results in some amount of departure from the plant’s original design premises and operating envelope. For this reason, the original safety procedures, protection philosophy, test certificates, etc., will require a fresh review.

The following health, safety and environmental (HSE) initiatives brought an impeccable safety record to the referenced project:

  1. Hazard identification and hazardous operations reviews are conducted at various stages, including reviews of pressure and temperature diagrams, pressure and protection systems, material safety data sheets, emergency flare and disposal systems, etc., at the beginning and end of the debottlenecking project.
  2. Work inside the live plant area was minimized through careful planning; unavoidable activities were only performed after proper risk assessment was conducted, and a mitigation plan and precautionary measures were put into place. Permit-to-work protocol was strictly followed for all work carried out inside the live plant.
  3. The health of all equipment subjected to high pressure, high temperature and/or H2S was assessed by using visual inspection, ultrasonic thickness testing, hydrostatic testing and other measures.
  4. Original operating and maintenance manuals and procedures were reviewed and updated.

Lessons learned from case study. This model case demonstrates how good planning and effective technical applications can bring major benefits to an existing process plant through low-cost, fast-track execution. Several important lessons can be taken away:

  1. A test run, followed by a comprehensive feasibility study, is essential at the beginning of any debottlenecking project. A test run after each debottlenecking stage is also necessary to assess the performance of the completed stage and to fine-tune the plan for the next stage.
  2. Troubleshooting of longstanding problems is one of the prime requirements for success in any debottlenecking program. The upgrade and replacement of old and outdated processes and equipment with safer and more efficient items should be considered wherever techno-economic justification favors it.
  3. Since debottlenecking is a brownfield job that is performed, in most cases, without completely interrupting the operation of the existing plant, thorough planning is important to minimize hot work. This can be accomplished by taking advantage of the plant’s scheduled shutdown windows.
  4. For extensive debottlenecking programs, the execution schedule should be broken up into multiple stages, instead of one long program. This structure allows early economic returns from the work already completed. It also minimizes production loss and the risk of working inside the live area. Additionally, breaking the project into stages allows work items that require procurement of long delivery components to be executed in the later stage(s).
  5. Recertification of equipment and piping should be minimized by keeping their original design conditions unchanged (e.g., pressure, temperature, etc.) and by avoiding hot welding. Only available cleats, rings, hangers, etc. should be used for modification.
  6. Accommodation of new equipment per engineering standards and practices in already congested or modular plants may be a problem. Any issues should be preemptively considered and addressed in the early stages of planning.
  7.  Regulatory clearances and requirements should be considered and applied for well ahead of time.

Challenges not to be underestimated. Some seemingly innocuous and trivial challenges may deter debottlenecking ventures, if not addressed early. Examples of such challenges include:

  1.  A remaining life assessment of the plant should be performed at the beginning, to justify any major additional financial stake and long-term expectations.
  2. Before launching the debottlenecking project, the availability of reliable and up-to-date engineering drawings, documents and specifications (i.e., process flow diagrams, piping and instrumentation diagrams, line lists, layout and piping drawings, quality assurance and quality control documents, etc.), depicting all past changes for the existing process plant, must be ensured. Missing or incomplete documentation may become a major issue later on, requiring substantial time and cost to collate and/or recreate them.
  3. Additional raw materials, chemicals and other resources needed to run the plant at enhanced capacity should be assessed and arranged in advance.
  4. Last, but not least, a successful debottlenecking project should conclude with the updating and consolidation of all drawings, manuals and engineering documents reflecting “as-built” condition. This process is important in brownfield projects like debottlenecking. Plant personnel should have reliable resources within their reach to run and maintain the plant safely and smoothly, long after the project team and contractors have left the site. The old drawings and documents should either be destroyed or clearly stamped “void” or “superseded,” and put out of circulation. 

Noise Studies

Noise studies are critical in determining practical, cost effective solutions for any application. Elixirs engineers can develop a noise study to analyze the source of noise and its impact on the environment.  A detailed noise study includes noise modeling which enables our engineers to design custom mitigation to meet the acoustical requirements of the project.

When noise studies are completed during the early stages of a project, noise control can be incorporated into the design and schedule of the job in the most high-performance, cost-effective manner.  This proactive approach is the best way to ensure that noise control is designed and implemented efficiently, preventing any problems and cost penalties that could occur during operation.

Sound assessment or noise mapping studies are mandatory to many projects, during pre-construction phases, construction, post-construction compliance demonstration and complaint resolution. 

We have developed noise studies in a range of industries such as oil & gas, mining, power generation, manufacturing, wildlife protection, real estate development and entertainment.  We have determined solutions for thousands of different equipment types including drilling rigs, compressors, pumps, generators, trucks and construction equipment. Our team of acoustics industry specialists have completed hundreds of many in industries including:

  • Construction and demolition
  • Electrical generation, transmission and distribution, including renewables
  • Industrial
  • Oil and gas

We can perform all acoustics tasks, including:

  • Compliance demonstration documentation
  • Expert testimony
  • Field measurements
  • Mitigation design
  • Predictive modeling
  • Regulatory and community interaction

Examples of Noise Studies:

  • Environmental Impact Reports (EIR)
  • Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
  • Code Compliance Surveys
  • OSHA Noise Studies
  • Indoor and Outdoor Noise Studies

Mitigation Design PlansWe use industry-leading sound level meters (ANSI S1.4 type 1 certified) for field measurements. We perform predictive modeling using CadnaA and CadnaR, SoundPlan and others based on best practices for each industry. 

Our team creates 3-D noise models of a facility and surrounding areas, based on equipment-specific noise data, field measurements and geographical information. The modeling allows our team to quickly evaluate noise impacts for various acoustical scenarios and mitigation options at on-site, property line or far-field locations.

Ergonomic Assessment

In recent years, even work environments that are considered low-risk for injuries have begun conducting thorough ergonomic assessments. That’s because, while impact injuries and other serious injuries in the workplace are in decline, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) related to repetitive stress are on the rise. 

Performing a comprehensive ergonomic assessment is the first step for employers who want to reduce absenteeism related to back pain and other MSDs. 

What is an Ergonomic Assessment?

An ergonomic assessment, also called an ergonomic risk assessment, is an objective measure of the risk factors in your work environment that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders or injuries among your workforce.The goal of an ergonomic assessment is to identify these risk factors and quantify them so that you can make measurable improvements in the work environment. A thorough ergonomic assessment is the foundation for creating a safer, healthier, less injury-prone workplace and improving overall workplace wellness. After conducting an ergonomic assessment, HR can take data-backed steps to reduce injury and increase comfort in their workplace. Some possible modifications for the office could include providing standing desks, adjustable chairs and workstations, footrests, ergonomic keyboards, and lumbar support. Manufacturing and industrial companies can improve the ergonomics for their employees by providing anti-fatigue standing mats, adjustable workstations, occupational therapy, and training to improve neck and shoulder posture.

Steps for Conducting an Ergonomic Assessment in the Workplace

At its core, conducting a successful ergonomic assessment is a simple process: Evaluate the work environment and evaluate how your workforce interacts with that environment. Of course, there’s more to it than that. But you should keep these broad goals in mind as you begin your ergonomic assessment so that you can analyze the specifics without getting bogged down in irrelevant details. Here are five foolproof steps for performing a successful ergonomic assessment:

1. Review any Existing Data

The first step to any ergonomics assessment is to take a workplace history and ensure that you understand your baseline. Look at claims data, workplace injury reports, worker’s compensation reports, first aid logs, and any other data you have available to become familiar with any work-related injuries or other incidents that have occurred at your workplace. As you’re reviewing this data, identify any higher-risk activities or departments as well as common injuries and complaints. This will help you focus your ergonomics assessment and improvement efforts on areas where you will see the most results.

2. Choose your Tools

During the final three steps of your ergonomics assessment, you’re going to gather and analyze current data about your workplace and workforce. Before you do this, it’s important to take a step back and determine how you will measure this data. Fortunately, you don’t have to invent these ergonomics measurements on your own. There are well-respected ergonomics assessment tools available in the public domain that have been developed by organizations such as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Here are some of the best available ergonomics assessment tools:

  • Caution Zone Checklist
  • Hazard Zone Checklist
  • The NIOSH Lifting Equation
  • Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA)
  • Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA)
  • Liberty Mutual Manual Material Handling Tables (SNOOK Tables)
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator (HAV)

Most of these tools are easily accessible online and several have now developed mobile apps as well. Choose the tools that apply to your workplace or facilities and use these as the basis for gathering your objective data.

3. Gather Subjective Data

Rather than jumping right in with your chosen tools and measuring ergonomic risk factors, we recommend starting with a hands-on, subjective evaluation of your current workplace. Begin by walking the floor or the offices to get a real-life understanding of the environment your employees are working in and making notes about any problem areas you see. Remember to be critical and look at your workplace the way an outsider might see it—come to it with fresh eyes. During your walk-through, pull employees aside for a quick conversation about their working conditions. By involving your employees in the process, you can increase the likelihood of early buy-in and support for any future changes. This step will also yield valuable, first-hand accounts and insights that you may not be able to get in any other way. Be sure to explain your objectives thoroughly and encourage open, honest feedback. Ask your employees questions such as:

  • Does your job involve any repetitive motion?
  • How often do you experience pain or discomfort while on the job?
  • Do you get tired while performing your job?
  • Do you ever feel unsafe while performing your job?
  • Can you think of anything that would increase your comfort, energy, or feelings of safety while at work?
  • If you were me, what would you do to improve the work environment?

In addition to face-to-face conversations with individual employees, larger workplaces may want to conduct an employee comfort survey to gather more direct feedback.

4. Gather Objective Data

After you’ve reviewed your work injury history, walked your workplace, and solicited direct feedback, use all of that information to develop a prioritized list of work activities and departments that you need to evaluate. Use the ergonomics assessment tools you’ve chosen to measure your risk factors and complete your objective evaluation.

5. Analyze All Data and Prioritize Risk

Finally, pull all information and insights together to create a prioritized list of risk factors and risk reduction opportunities. Analyze your existing data as well as the new subjective and objective data you gathered during the assessment in its entirety and by task and department. Identify key insights and opportunities for risk mitigation, and prioritize these opportunities by the potential for injury and injury severity. We also recommend identifying areas for short-term and long-term impact. Once you’ve completed these five steps, you’ll have developed a thorough, actionable report of all ergonomic risk factors. You’re ready to create a strategy to reduce these risks and improve the ergonomics at your workplace.

The need of Ergonomic Workplace Assessment

Poor working postures, repetitive tasks and heavy workloads can lead to increased risk of workplace injuries. An ergonomic workplace assessment can identify these risk factors by using a variety of data capture and risk assessment tools.

By undertaking an ergonomic workplace assessment, COPE can assist you reducing the risk of injuries and accidents to your employees, improve productivity and improve organisational wellbeing.

Why Undertake An Ergonomic Workplace Assessment?

By performing an Ergonomic assessment, your business can benefit from:

  • Prevent costly litigation
  • Comply with health and Safety citations
  • Decrease injury risk, error rates and lost working days
  • Increase efficiency and productivity
  • Provides a fast assessment that offers practical solutions
  • What does an Ergonomic Assessment Consist Of?

We will send a skilled Chartered Ergonomist to conduct a detailed workplace ergonomics survey or assessment using appropriate and relevant risk analysis tools. These tools include assessment tools like:

  • RULA – Rapid Upper Limb assessment
  • REBA – Rapid Entire Body assessment
  • MAC – Manual Handling Assessment Charts
  • ART – Assessment of Repetitive upper limb Tasks

The ergonomist will then present the findings in a written report and identify wider issues for further study. The recommend ergonomic interventions are prioritised by “most gain/least cost”.

We can also assist with implementation of changes either by the organisation itself or with additional input from engineers, designers, industrial hygienists, etc. Help with ongoing trials and evaluation of effectiveness of improvements.

Hydraulic analysis

Hydraulic analysis refers to the technologies to measure, analyze and investigate the water current, water quantity, water pressure and other items in water pipes, pipelines and rivers, etc. In the case of water pipes, for example, the water flows that complexly change in accordance with such influencing factors as the pipe diameter, the length of conduit lines and the number and shape of the branches are clarified by verifications through numerical calculations, analysis models and simulators, etc.

Elixir Engineering the expertise and facilities for undertaking detailed hydraulic studies incorporating:-

  • Surge analysis and dynamic simulation of pumped pipeline systems and networks.
  • Preparing conceptual hydraulic designs, to advise on optimum pipeline routing and sizing, equipment selection and operating philosophy.
  • Pump selection and optimisation of wet well volumes, with switching levels, to minimise the number of pumping cycles and reduce energy costs.
  • Air valve selection and calculation of pipe diameters with gradients that will ensure stable flow development in drained sections of descending pipelines.
  • Trouble shooting on-site, with transient flow and pressure measurement/recording.
  • Feasibility, capital and running cost estimates of pumping and pipeline systems

The analysis results are utilized for piping network designs of water supply and sewage services, river planning for constructing dams and bridges, and flood control and water utilization planning, among other applications. For reservoirs and water channels, pumps and gates can be controlled in an optimum manner based on the data obtained from hydraulic analysis.

In recent years, hydraulic analysis is also utilized for simulating tsunamis (tidal waves) and floods in preparation for mega disasters, as well as for predicting damages from disasters, planning countermeasures and preparing disaster prevention maps.

Pulsation Studies 

Pulsation study, mechanical review and frequency avoidance analysis, forced response analysis (as required); according to API 618 / API 674, API 688 and International Best practice guideline. 

A pulsation study by Elixir Engineering goes far beyond examining your pipes. Complex compressor systems are subject to comprehensive influences that must be viewed just as comprehensively.

We keep an eye on all excitation and amplification mechanisms. We watch out for overflowing line branches and valves. We consider vortex shedding and repercussions on the piping system. We always react in time, e.g. using optimised pulsation dampeners or by adjusting pipe routing. This way, you will be able to look at your pipes with satisfaction throughout the planning stage and beyond. You’ll always know just what to do.

  • Studies in accordance with API 618 (reciprocating compressors), API 674 (reciprocating pumps)
  • Reliable results by calculating gas and fluid-induced vibration over time (adaptive method, non-linearity, etc.)
  • Quick damper checks and checks of the power unit loading
  • Investigations on valve dynamics
  • Structural dynamics calculations (over time) for the mechanical vibration and dynamic stresses on components (mechanical response) to be expected in the piping system
  • Acoustic simulation of the system after definition of the relevant scope in agreement with the customer
  • Optimization of the support concept for piping system and vessels
  • Static pipe stress analysis and reconciliation of the results from the structural dynamic calculations
  • Consultation in detail planning and implementation, e.g. for flow metering systems

Our pulsation study will enable you to create optimised conditions for performance and service life, e.g. of your machine and can avoid further damage to connected plant parts.

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Elixir Engineering

Elixir Engineering is a multi-disciplinary Engineering services company.
With our strong technical team, we have proven to be effective for our Clients.
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