September 22, 2008

European Plant Engineering Data Conference Proceedings 2007

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "European Plant Engineering Data Conference Proceedings 2007: The Hague" report to their offering.

Miguel Munoz's European Plant Engineering Data Conference2 follows on from his previous Plant Information Management (PIM) and last year's Plant Engineering Lifecycle Conference. The conference addresses software and standards relating to the management of information across the lifecycle of a plant (or major capital project) such as a refinery, offshore platform or FPSO3. In this report, we offer an introduction and backgrounder to the field of plant information management. It is interesting to note the parallel between the engineering community's interest in the 'digital plant,' with its document and equipment tag focus, and the 'digital oilfield's' focus on modeling and process control.

The EPEDC included presentations on major projects operated by ExxonMobil Norway and Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. (Shell). A presentation by Rosli Abdul Hamid (Malakoff Corp.) described successful use of the ISO 15926 standard in the electricity generation industry. The situation of 15926 and in particular the backing it has received from the US FIATECH body was the subject of presentations from Intergraph, Fluor Corp. and POSC/CAESAR. But most of the show covered commercial offerings from vendors including Dassault Systemes, Intergraph, Pearson-Harper, Innotec and others. These vendors are no longer just selling applications but are increasingly involved in the information management aspects of the business. Sure, this creates tensions between the standards purists, but the technology - especially from the computer aided design community is increasingly linked in to persistent data sources of intelligent plant information and is amenable to intelligent handover.

Perhaps the only remaining roadblock to plant lifecycle data management is the relatively poor awareness from many owner operators of the possibilities of plant information management. Really, a few changes to a contract's wording up front can make a really big difference to the quality and sustainability of information available to an operator as the plant kicks into life.


TW0715_1 Introduction and backgrounder

A major engineering construction project starts with the signature of a contract by the owner operator (OO) and the engineering prime/procurement contractor (EPC) and subsequent purchase orders with a plethora of companies making up the engineering supply chain. Multiple computer models of different scopes and granularity are created during the building of a plant prior to the delivery or handover of the finished plant to the owner operator. Many industry observers in both owner operators and vendors have noted poor information management during the construction and especially the handover phase. In another engineering discipline, according to Steve Pearson (Pearson-Harper), a jet engine has been described as an 'information degradation machine,' which takes digital data and turns it into 'scanned documents and 1,000 page plus pdfs. (...) We need to stop these silly practices from spoiling the information age.'

These problems are being addressed in several ways. Education of all stakeholders is increasingly important and now often backed up by an official information handover guide (IHOG) which ideally is included in the contract - although IHOG 'retrofits' have been reported on several major capital projects! Another significant contribution comes from the standards movement which has now converged on the ISO 15926 suite of plant data standards - which in 2007 received what appears to be enthusiastic endorsement from the US FIATECH organization. But in plant engineering as elsewhere in IM, there are tensions between the application focus (the doing tools) and the nirvana of interoperability and data completeness that a standardized approach promises. If plant data management is returning to the limelight, it is partly because the industry has settled on a pragmatic approach. The arcane data modeling approach has been replaced with a focus on documents and equipment tags (ISO 15926 Part 4). Tags are amenable for data exchange and re-use and have use beyond handover, forming a foundation for MRO4, shutdown, emergency response and so on.

TW0715_2 Keynote address - Derek Middlemas, AVEVA

The plant industry is very information intensive, much more so than the retail or banking sectors. Organizations that succeed in managing information and reusing knowledge will gain a sustainable competitive advantage. If you consider engineering IT, here, high end 3D CAD, while not exactly a commodity, has become a 'tactical' acquisition. Over the last 10 years companies have developed a more strategic view of IT. So they may go to vendors and ask for improvements in a CAD tool for a particular task. This may not be the right answer. Software integration may have more potential.

Key Topics Covered:

-- Introduction and backgrounder

-- Keynote address - Derek Middlemas, AVEVA

-- ExxonMobil Norway's use of InnoCielo Meridian - Eirik Fjelde, KTB Consultants

-- Smart Plant for operations and maintenance - Peter Waywell, Intergraph UK

-- The Trimble Connected Plant - Hartmut Stadali, Trimble

-- Plant Lifecycle Management for EPCs and OOs - Simon Roberts, Innotec

-- IM Challenges on Sakhalin II - Chris Mitchell, AMEC

-- PLM for energy and process - Rolf Gibbels, Dassault Systemes

-- Discussion

-- ISO 15926 and the 'tyranny of numbers' - Dalip Sud, Shell

-- Engineering productivity - Marceau Philippe, Intergraph

-- XML Plant - Adrian Laud, Noumenon Consulting

-- 'Fast track' information - Steve Pearson, Pearson-Harper

-- ISO 16926 in the power industry - Rosli Abdul Hamid, Malakoff Corp. Berhad

-- Pragmatic ISO 15926 - Ian Glendinning, Intergraph

-- FIATECH ADI Project - Onno Paap, Fluor Corp

-- Intelligent Data Sheet Project - Magne Valen-Sanstad, POSC/Caesar

-- Panel discussion

-- Exhibitors

-- The Data Room - Technology Watch subscription information

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