Design Insight – Delivering the Best Solution


As a Systems Integration service business, Denca Controls’ work always starts with developing a thorough understanding of our client’s needs. 

This understanding is at the heart of effective project design. It is how to meet the client’s needs and objectives while having a mind to real-world component and system capabilities. As a result, we are able to focus on delivering a design that really works to customer requirements – and keeps working.

Customer Requirements

Denca can work with a wide variety of specifications at the outset of a new project, and often assist with the development of these documents.

The ideal core elements to commence the design process are:

  1. Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P & ID)
    This shows the process elements of the job in hand but not how to design it.
  2. Input/Output Schedules – A comprehensive list of all input/output requirements – both digital and analogue. Key data on the list can include device addresses, descriptions, ranges and setpoints.
  3. User Requirement Specification – What the customer wants.
  4. Functional Design Specification – A scope of how the installation should operate.

Sometimes, not all of these elements are available, and Denca often prepares elements 2 and 4, and we have done so on many projects. 

Inevitably, information comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes!  Denca will rely on experience gained over many years to take these elements and integrate them into a coherent and workable design. A key role of the design process is to fully understand the underlying customer requirements, which we often achieve with a general overview and system walkthrough which doesn’t look at the detail but focusses on functionality.  This process sometimes throws up issues that hadn’t been considered.

Denca uses real-world systems expertise to deliver the best design solution for our client’s needs. 

Safety First

Whatever the customer requirements, safety is a paramount factor in any system. Therefore, a key element of any rational design process is to risk assess all elements of a project and design-in intrinsic safety.

There are normally 2 key considerations:

1. Functional safety – the inherent safety of any system

As part of our design process, we undertake an effective risk assessment to identify any risk issues. We can then design-out any identified risks, even if they may be unexpected

Denca design safety into the project at all levels

IEC 61508/IEC 61511 standards set out the fundamentals of Functional Safety through the use of the functional safety lifecycle. There are 4 primary Safety Integrity Levels (SIL 1-4) and the target SIL for a project is calculated by the customer through a process of HAZOP Analysis & LOPA (Layer of Protection Analysis) – carried either by a customer team in-house or their preferred 3rd-party consultants. Finally, this analysis results in a Safety Requirements Specification (SRS) 

Denca design to this SRS and will realise the design, build and installation to maximise safety and minimise risks across the board. 

Denca also designs to IEC 61511 the standard which specifies Functional Safety for Process Systems.

2. ATEX – Safety in hazardous areas

ATEX takes safety to the next level with special considerations for areas where gas and dust present particular hazards. Denca is fully qualified to offer design to IEC 60079-14 standards.

We can typically produce designs for intrinsically safe systems whilst considering other protection concepts and also complete descriptive system documents calculations (DSD) to verify the integrity of the system.

The Best Design Solution 

In conclusion, the best design solution isn’t just the one that clearly delivers on functionality and performance. The best design solution should almost take effective performance and functionality as given and deliver them in a framework of reliability, sustainability and, most important, safety.

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