Introduction to Retrofit

Retrofitting refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems.

  • Power plant retrofit, improving power plant efficiency / increasing output / reducing emissions
  • Home energy retrofit, the improvement of existing buildings with energy efficiency equipment
  • Seismic retrofit, the process of strengthening older buildings in order to make them earthquake resistant
  • Naval vessels often undergo retrofitting in dry dock to incorporate new technologies, change their operational designation, or compensate for perceived weaknesses in their design or gun plan.

The benefits of Retrofit are,

  • Saving on capital expenditure while benefiting from new technologies
  • Optimization of existing plant components
  • Adaptation of the plant for new or changed products
  • Increase in piece number and cycle time
  • Guaranteed spare parts availability
  • Reduced maintenance costs and increased reliability

Principally retrofitting describes the measures taken in the manufacturing industry to allow new or updated parts to be fitted to old or outdated assemblies (like blades to wind turbines).

The production of retrofit parts is necessary in manufacture when the design of a large assembly is changed or revised. If, after the changes have been implemented, a customer (with an old version of the product) wishes to purchase a replacement part then retrofit parts and assembling techniques will have to be used so that the revised parts will fit suitably onto the older assembly.

Retrofitting is an important process used for valves and actuators to ensure optimal operation of an industrial plant. One example is retrofitting a 3-way valve into a 2-way valve, which results in closing one of the three openings to continue using the valve for certain industrial systems.

Retrofitting can improve a machine or system’s overall functionality by using advanced and updated equipment and technology—such as integrating Human Machine Interfaces into older factories.

Another example of this is car customizing, where older vehicles are fitted with new technologies: power windows, cruise control, remote key-less systems, electric fuel pumps, etc.

The term is also used in the field of environmental engineering, particularly to describe construction or renovation projects on previously built sites, to improve water quality in nearby streams, rivers or lakes. The concept has also been applied to changing the output mix of energy from power plants to co-generation in urban areas with a potential for district heating.

Sites with extensive impervious surfaces (such as parking lots and rooftops) can generate high levels of storm-water runoff during rainstorms, and this can damage nearby water bodies. These problems can often be addressed by installing new storm-water management features on the site, a process that practitioners refer to as storm-water retrofitting. Storm-water management practices used in retrofit projects include rain gardens, permeable paving and green roofs.

The above is a brief about Retrofit. Watch this space for more information on the latest trends in Technology.

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