PlantTech/Spar Europe 2010

3D Laser scan for facility revamp (Sofresid). Mobile survey (M3DM). ‘Kaizen’ in engineering supply chain (Toshiba). Engineering data standards updates from USPI-NL, ISO 15926, eCl@ss and Prolist. Spheron’s ‘high dynamic range’ camera—plant technology meets crime scene investigation!

In 2010, the Spar organization acquired PlantTech, rolling together the facilities engineering IT conference with Spar’s 3D/laser scanning event. This offered the oil and gas facilities community some enlightening glimpses at related activities such as mobile, high precision survey and crime scene investigation technology.

Mustapha Yahia (from Saipem/ENI’s Sofresid Engineering unit) set the scene in his keynote, showing how 3D Laser scan is used across oil and gas and shipbuilding at various stages of the engineering lifecycle. In 2 out of 3 major revamp projects, CAD and 3D models are ‘non existent or obsolete—especially in oil and gas.’ This, the main challenge in a revamp, used to be corrected by time consuming and inaccurate manual survey. Sofresid has been using laser surveying since 2003. A 4 floor 20 m cube platform was surveyed in a day, enabling engineering to maximize prefabrication of structural, electrical, and instrumentation components. The new module can be checked for clashes and the installation process walked-through in the virtual environment. Installation is ‘a very delicate operation on an FPSO.’ Checkout Urbica’s point-cloud fly-through on

Erik Siemer from M3DM presented an eye-opener of a paper on the state of the art of mobile survey. Today, it is possible to acquire high accuracy while driving ‘at traffic speeds.’ Objects such as bridges, lamp posts and other infrastructure visible from the road can be captured with an accuracy of 1 mm relative and 5mm absolute. A helicopter is used to fill-in around the rear of houses. Data acquisition on the Schipol 06-2 runway which would have taken 8 nights of conventional survey actually took 8 hours and gave far more information. The days of static scanning, let alone the theodolite, are numbered!

Masaaki Kamei (Toshiba Japan) spoke of the lack of ‘kaizen1’ in the engineering supply chain. Every plant is ‘one of a kind,’ many stakeholders are involved in design and construction, information volumes are large and complex. Toshiba’s vision is for project-oriented information management with more IT involvement and standard-compliant data. ISO 15926 is there—but Toshiba is having a hard time figuring which of the 11 parts is relevant!

It would ne nice to be able to report that the EU standards movement is moving towards rationalization and alignment. Unfortunately, as Edwin Stötefalk (Lyondell-Basell) reported, there is the ‘bubble’ problem—of a large number of overlapping standards. There has been significant attention on ISO 15926 process data standard in recent years—but there are around 50 other standards describing the bigger picture. The CEN orchestration of industrial data (Orchid) project wound up in June 2010 having delivered a framework, implementation guide and standards landscape for the process industries—including oil and gas. Orchid leverages the Dutch USPI-NL data readiness assessment. More from

The most remarkable device on show was undoubtedly the Spheron optical scanning camera. This is used to capture scenes of crime or part of a plant in a 360° x 180° spherical view. The device claims a 26 f-stop dynamic range—so everything is perfectly exposed—from a sunlit scene outside of a window to the darkest nook of the room. Once a scan has been acquired, the camera can be jacked up 20cm or so to take a second image for photogrammetric work. The resulting image allows for measurements to be made. Software is SceneWorks—a ‘visual content management system.’ Images can be manually tagged to add information and click though to related documents. More from

Peter Zgorzelski (Bayer International) returned to engineering and plant maintenance standards with an update on Prolist. Prolist provides a list of properties leveraging ISO standards (not 15926). A process engineer starts with a Prolist interface and searches for, say, a coriolis flowmeter. A mouse click sends an XML enquiry file to suppliers who can compare requirements with their specs and respond with an offer. Each XML document has a unique ID so users can compare and track offers. Once a part has been selected, details can be exported to the plant material database for build. Prolist tools are available for the whole workflow on the basis that engineering data is entered once for each device. Emerson, Siemens, ABB are on board and others like Invensys can supply Prolist data. There is also a role for the standard in EPC, supplier and owner operator data handover. Zgorzelski worked through the potential savings of Prolist use in a process control engineering project with 5,000 control loops. With an estimated saving of 20 minutes per device, this tots up to a €250k saving. But time saved is actually less important than the improvement in plant documentation quality and in avoiding fitting the wrong valve!

The USPI-NL data integration group (DIG) meeting heard from purveyors of several different ‘bubbles.’ The ‘Who’s who’ of the engineering standards community saw representation from USPI, POSC/Caesar, Prolist, eCl@ss and end user companies. The DIG’s objective is to seek a consensus for engineering supply chain management data exchange. Ina Lingnau presented the eCl@ass spec which covers some 40 industries including process/plant. Again the ‘bubble’ problem of multiple overlapping standards was raised. Onno Paap (Fluor) argued that the way forward is to expose eCl@ss (and the ‘1,000 or so other relevant engineering standards’) to the semantic web as ontologies. The problem is that there are so many standards and owners of standards. Paap prefers ‘interfacing’ and interoperability of different standards—suggesting that Prolist could leverage the ISO 15926 class library. Also the ISO 15926 Part 4 class library could be slimmed down to exclude non-owned ‘foreign’ standards. ISO 15926 Part 8 provides a how-to guide for RDF implementation. Paap concluded, ‘One standard will never be the mother of all standards.’

The standards movements may appear disorganized—but this is due to the huge geographic and domain scope of process and plant construction. There is a natural tendency for different sectors and geographies to push ahead—sometimes in different directions. But the case for engineering standards in the downstream is possibly even more compelling than in the upstream—even though many of the obstacles are shared. More from


Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.