The decisive phase in a plant engineering project is the plant commissioning. The moment when the installed components, the plant design and the process calculation have their joint appearance. The moment when the plant is brought to life.
In order to make this become reality, a multitude of tasks must be completed:
- instruct the client's operators
- perform a leak test
- check the implementation of the process control system
- check the interfaces of the inlet and outlet flows
- heat up the system and perform again a leak test
- check the functions and switch signals
- start the process
- optimize the operating parameters
..... and finally the performance test with sampling to check the product quality.
Normally, this commissioning is supervised on site by our engineers. This is an important prerequisite for starting up plants safely and overcoming any eventually difficulties that may arise on site.
But this year 2020 nothing is normal. The corona pandemic led to project stops, plant closures and travel bans. This made commissioning in the usual way impossible. However, just as digital solutions enabled us to work remotely from home, a suitable approach for remote plant commissioning needed to be developed. The first opportunity to develop such an option came up for De Dietrich Process Systems in Mainz with a plant for bromine extraction in India. Due to the lockdown and travel restrictions, the commissioning had been suspended for an indefinite period of time. For the plant operator this would have meant considerable financial losses due to production downtime. In order to end this costly uncertainty of waiting, it was mutually agreed to develop a remote process for plant commissioning.
The preconditions and responsibilities have been discussed in detail with the plant operator and were mutually agreed. The cooperation of the IT departments of the plant operator and De Dietrich Process Systems in Mainz were able to create the necessary technical environment within a short time frame. The direct communication was realized via different video conferencing systems. The direct link to the control room in India was assured.
With this infrastructure our supervisors in Mainz were permanently connected with the plant operators. In the Bromine plant cameras transmitted live images to Mainz. On the plant site a local colleague from our De Dietrich Process Systems in India was on site as additional support.
These measures enabled our supervisors to observe the operating data of the plant, to receive visual information from the running process and to communicate with the operating personnel at any time.
The bromine plant has been successfully commissioned and is producing bromine in the quality and quantity as intended. Having the infrastructure in place De Dietrich Process Systems can still accompany the operator in an easy way to optimize the operating parameters.
It should also be mentioned that basic requirements are necessary for such a success:
- the competence of plant operating company in the operation of such bromine plants
- our experience of decades with these bromine processes
- the confidence of our clients in our supervisors
- the mutual will to take the higher responsibilities
- the detailed plant documentation of De Dietrich Process Systems
- the support of our local colleagues of De Dietrich Process Systems in India
- the common project language English
…. and last but not least the competences of the IT departments to implement the required infrastructure.
In addition to all these more technical aspects, trust and mutual understanding between the people, as well as the constant will to find solutions in challenging situations, was the decisive requirement for this solution.
Based on this positive experience in challenging times we meanwhile completed successfully in the same manner the plant commissioning of another bromine plant.