Engineer devises plant infrastructure modification, saving $180,000
Knovel surfaces foundational knowledge and the data insights needed to cut costs but not value
A large engineering, design and construction (ED&C) company involved in the construction of an $800 million sulfuric acid and power plant had to address its client’s demand to reduce project costs. A company engineer used information from Knovel to find foundational knowledge and discover data insights, which helped him conceive a design change that provided significant cost savings for the client.
An ED&C company tasked a Change Engineering Specialist with finding specific ways to reduce a building project’s costs for the company’s client. He soon focused on one element of the project—a 2.8 km roadway that would be located within the plant—which he believed offered a cost-savings opportunity. By determining an acceptable thickness for each pavement stratum, he realized that he may be able to propose an alternate roadway design that could result in significantly lowered expenses. To verify his hypothesis, the engineer needed to research and analyze the engineering data to ensure any proposed changes to the road design would not impact the project specifications. Because the timeline for construction was tight, speed was of the essence.
The engineer used Knovel to access extensive technical references, including indispensable resources from the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials collection. He quickly located two formulas needed to make calculations about the thickness of each pavement layer for the roadway. The first one was the formula for the Structural Number (SN), which encompassed traffic loads and other factors involved in the overall structural requirements of pavement. Knovel made solving the SN equation simple by providing a convenient homograph for a graphical calculation. The engineer also discovered an equation that estimated the Modus of Resilience – the stiffness of sublayers to withstand stresses caused by rapidly applied loads. Using these formulas, the engineer discovered that the thickness of the top-layer asphalt could be decreased from 120mm to 50mm without compromising the overall functionality of the roadway.
"Knovel’s search and browse functions enabled the engineer to find foundational knowledge to ensure a cost-effective and highly-functional design."
By using less asphalt, the company was able to save the client the cost of more than 1,100 cubic meters of asphalt, resulting in $180,000 in savings. By offering the foundational knowledge needed and the data essential to solving specific problems, Knovel provided the engineer a complete solution to assess the viability of his proposed design change and to calculate the impact on outcome quality.
"Knovel offered the relevant engineering best practice guides to confirm a 40% material reduction in one project aspect would have no impact on overall quality."
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