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Contracting a pilot plant is a viable approach for any organization. However, it can be fraught with potential issues, which need to be understood and addressed in advance.

Reduced in-house resources have limited the options many organizations have for designing and constructing pilot plants. The increased complexity and intricacy of modern pilot plants also frequently challenge the expertise and resources of many organizations. These factors often force companies to reach outside for assistance in designing and contracting a new pilot plant.

In addition to these issues, many organizations have determined that contracting a pilot plant may be the best approach for other reasons. The organization may lack expertise in the area and recognize that it will be cheaper, faster and more effective to have a more experienced pilot-plant firm design and construct the unit. The organization may be overloaded and need to reach out to offload some work (peak shaving). This may be due to a temporary workload increase or as part of a longer-term need the organization is uncertain will continue. In either case, the expectation is that the need will shortly go away.

This article was originally published on Chemical Engineering. Read the full version here.