People often associate engineering with the invention and construction of infrastructure such as industrial plants, roads and bridges, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this profession. Of the many fields of study, Detailed Engineering Design is perhaps one that needs more exploration.
Detailed engineering is a very important process in any project that requires the application of knowledge into action. It is the last of three implementation phases in engineering where the creative models in the first two phases are described in great detail.
Before we delve into the specifics, let us do a quick review of the engineering implementation phases to fully understand what detailed engineering design is.
The Phases of Engineering Implementation
Every engineering project implementation has three distinct phases: the first two creative phases are conceptual engineering and basic engineering, which deal with analysis and brainstorming for solutions. The third phase is detailed engineering that tallies the results of the previous phases to come up with concrete solutions to realize the project.
Feasibility of a project is the main concern of conceptual engineering. It encompasses both economic and technical aspects of a plan. It is also the basis for developing the next few processes involved in the other phases.
There are significant points to consider during the conceptualization of the project such as:
- Production capacity and products
- Laws and regulations relevant to the project
- Manufacturing process description and user requirements
- Installation description
- Plans and diagrams regarding the materials, rooms, people and other areas
- Ancillary service requirements
- Investment valuation of more or less 30%
This phase is a reflection of all the necessary requirements of the project. It is the development of the data collected, user requirement preparation and development of parameters for different tasks such as:
- Conceptual engineering review
- User requirements review
- Datasheets for facilities, equipment and all rooms
- Airflow and thermal load calculation
- Piping diagrams and Instrumentation
- List of equipment and consumption
Completing the basic engineering phase serves as the foundation for the next phase, which is detailed engineering.
What is Detailed Engineering Design?
Detailed Engineering is the phase in project implementation that applies all technical disciplines needed (i.e. mechanical, civil, electrical, piping, automation, telecommunications, instrumentation, etc.) to establish the set of deliverables.
This means that the project is inching closer to reality and ideas are transforming into actual, tangible and specific entities.
In detailed engineering design, every component, subsystem and part relevant to the project is properly documented, procured and implemented. While the project viability is determined in basic engineering, every detail concerning the entirety of the project including end-user satisfaction and functionality are covered in detailed design.
There is one important thing to remember: detailed engineering is a must for every project.
There are instances where the first two phases are obviated depending on what the project requires, but never the detailed engineering design. It solidifies the solutions by developing every detail to meet the demands of the project.
Detailed Engineering: the tasks
While it’s unlikely that all the needed information, the detailed engineering phase should be highly accurate. Estimated values and significant errors must be precise. The calculated deviation between the budget estimate and the actual investment should not go over 5%.
There are a standard set of tasks for detailed engineering that should be undertaken over the course of this stage. Firstly, design solutions and assumptions should be carefully reviewed and confirmed. If necessary, modifications must be done to ensure that each solution can be realized.
At this phase, the project sponsor will also expect to receive all information, including economic, technical and legal. Significant data involving the details of construction and manufacturing conditions should also be determined and presented at this stage.
Drawings and detailed diagrams to aid in construction, instrumentation, civil works, electrical facilities, supply management, control systems, timetable of activities, equipment procurement, costs, environmental impact and economic valuation must be shown in great detail before commencing on the construction of a project and are included in detailed engineering.
For example, Computer-aided design or (CAD) provide an efficient way of improving the detailed design phase.
Stages of Detailed Engineering
Check the specifics
Ensuring that the details fit the timetable and conditions of the project is the first step in detailed engineering design. It cannot be helped that circumstances can change as time goes by, which is why this step is important.
Continuity in implementation is also a major issue since different technicians may have provided assumptions or disruptive events like disasters arise. Detailed design can rectify the differences through validation and synthesis of data.
Technical calculation and design are indispensable components of detailed engineering. It is where subsystems are defined, modeled and verified thoroughly.
Defining parts and calculations
All details in manufacturing and construction should be defined in detail at this phase. The main task a designer performs is the definition of components and calculation of assumptions relevant to the project. It is also at this stage when dimensions and models are made.
The designers should also concern themselves with drawings, diagrams, schemes and other construction details of each component in the subsystem.
Checking and assembling parts
Subsystems are established at this stage, and it is where the parts and components of the project are divided and arranged in detail. It is also at this step that the specifics of assembling the elements are done. Additionally, all the remaining calculations of any element previously not done is realized at this stage.
Conforming to standards
Once the drawings, models and diagrams are set in great detail, the next step is to verify the results and ensuring that legal aspects such as regulations and safety standards are met.
This step is necessary so that adjustments are made to the design according to regulations.
Preparing and reviewing documents
Detailed engineering design is the final phase before construction, so it is only fitting that all documents are secured and reviewed for verity and accuracy before undergoing the next stage of the project.
Detailed engineering design is significant and invaluable in any project. Properly developing every part of the design ensures that the end-user can enjoy the safety and satisfaction that a well-designed engineering project can produce.