It is possible to classify the demand utilities in an industry in some basic forms:
• Process support in which the utility intrinsically participates in the production process, mixing physically with raw material and products. Its presence impacts on the design features of process equipment. Its quality influences the final quality of products and its absence may prevent the performance of the process. In the majority of these uses, flows are measured. Examples: Steam for
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stripping, water for dissolution, air for particles transportation, electricity for power etc.
• Services in which the utility does not participate directly in the process and its use is just potential. It brings no physical implications for most process equipment, and its quality hardly affects the products. Its absence is likely to bring some inconvenience to production and it is typically not measured. Examples: Water and air for cleaning, steam for smothering, cleaning and displacement.
• Data transport in which the utility participates externally to the production process. It determines certain design features of some process equipment and faulty quality is likely to cause disruption to production in the medium to long term, depending on how this inadequacy occurs. Its absence may prevent the performance of the process and can bring serious consequences. It is typically not measured. Examples: Air and electricity for instruments.
• Energy conversion and exchange in which the utility participates externally to the process. Some characteristics of process equipment are determined by these utilities and lack of quality is likely to cause disruption of production and eventually serious consequences in the short term, depending on how this inadequacy occurs. Its absence may prevent the performance of the process and can bring serious consequences, especially if simultaneous faults of other utilities with similar characteristics happen. It is usually measured. Examples: Steam for power drive and heating, electricity for power drive and lighting, cooling water.
Another common feature is that in the first three categories utilities are physically consumed, without return to the system, thus becoming typical process wastes that often require treatment before final disposal. Only in the last case, can potential recycling or return to the generation system occur.
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