It focuses on the needed collaboration between Plant Engineering (highly project intensive) and Product Engineering which ideally should be “off the shelf” or at least Configure To Order (CTO), but in reality is more often than not, Engineer To Order (ETO) or one-offs.
However, we will never get away from the fact that the product delivery in a capital project will always have to fulfill specific requirements from Plant Engineering, and especially in safety classed areas of the plant.
If you look at the blue object structure, it represents a consolidated view of multi-discipline plant engineering. The system might consist of several pumps, heat exchangers, sensors, instrumentation and pipes, but we are going to focus on a specific tag and it’s requirements, namely one of the pumps in the system.
If the plant design is made by an EPC that does not own any product companies, the representing product is typically a single article or part with associated preferred vendors/manufacturers who might be able to produce such a product or have it in stock. If the EPC does own product companies, the representing product might be a full product design. In other words a full Engineering Bill Of Material (EBOM) of the product.
This is where it becomes very interesting indeed because the product design (EBOM) is generic in nature. It represents a blueprint or mold if you will, used to produce many physical products or instances of the product design. The physical products typically have serial numbers, and you are able to touch them. However, due to requirements from the Owner/Operator, the EPC will very often dictate both project and tag specific documentation from the product company supplying to the project, which in turn often leads to replication of the product designs X number of times to achieve compliance with the documentation requirements in the project (Documentation For Installation and Operations).
Needless to say it becomes a lot of Engineering Bill Of Materials in order to comply with documentation requirements in capital projects. Even worse, for the product companies it becomes virtually impossible to determine exactly what they have delivered each time, since it is different Engineering Bills Of Materials all the time, yet 97% of the information might be the same. The standardized product has now become an Engineer To Order product.
So how is it possible to avoid this monstrous duplication of work?
More and more companies are looking into ways to make use of data structures used in different contexts. The contexts might be different deliveries to the same project or across multiple projects, but if one is able to identify and separate the generic information from what information that needs to be project specific it is also possible to facilitate re-use.
This approach even enables the product company to identify and manufacture one of the pumps which happens to be in a safety classed area in the plant design according to regulatory requirements without having to make changes or duplicate the product design, however more on that next time.
The header image used in this post is by Nostal6ie and purchased at dreamstime.com