Improving Capital Project Performance

When large capital project teams consider the importance of optimizing ongoing operations and asset management in their designs, the results can impact which quartile the manufacturer and producer operates in compared with their industry peers.

In a ControlGlobal.com article, Plantman Go: The future of asset lifecycle modeling, author Bob Sperber surveys automation suppliers for their views on ways to improve capital project performance while keeping an eye on ways to improve operational performance success through the lifecycle of the manufacturing process.

Emerson's Jim NyquistHe quotes Emerson’s Jim Nyquist on the challenges with large capital projects:

Today, 65% of projects worth more than $1 billion and 35% of projects under $500 million fail, where failure is defined as at least 25% over budget and/or late by 50%.

To address these financial issues:

Emerson’s Project Certainty, which in part resulted from Emerson’s 2014 acquisition of Management Resources Group, led to a merger of consulting and technology that targets project inefficiencies with a mix of services, methods and technologies. These capabilities include unified project documentation and information (including tag databases and instrument indices) from multiple sources. Project Certainty also uses Emerson’s Characterization Modules (CHARMS) and Smart Commissioning technologies for electronic marshaling with smart junction boxes, which reduces commissioning time for HART and Foundation fieldbus devices by up to 80%.

Emerson’s Jason Sarnataro explained:

Emerson's Jason Sarnataro


“The big end users are saying to us, ‘Guys, you’ve got to work with our EPCs and figure out how to bring costs down and make our projects more efficient…'” He adds its innovations are “more efficient, more streamlined and cheaper” than traditional methods. End users are asking Emerson and the EPCs to eliminate “long, labor-intensive steps that lead to projects being behind schedule and over budget. Now, we’re able to decouple our final end devices from software configuration, so we can give EPCs the information they need to complete their 3D models, and the system will automatically sense the end devices in a more parallel activity rather than in a linear series of activities like in the old days.”

One example cited in the article on the large Sasol ethane cracker and multi-plant complex in Louisiana was:

The EPC for Sasol’s project consists of a joint venture by Fluor Corp. and Technip S.A., which are designing it using Intergraph’s Smart Plant software. To incorporate flow, valve and other inline instrumentation into the EPC’s 3D models, Sarnataro says his team is providing dimensional data and building templates to feed SmartPlant Interface (SPI) data from Emerson’s DeltaV DCS, Fisher Rosemount valves and other instrumentation. All parties can then “use those templates to get data out of the SPI, and also to get data back. And the EPCs will use that information to build their model of what the plant will look like.” The same routines will interface with Sasol’s safety instrumented system, plant asset management and added instrumentation.

These 3D models can provide inputs to build:

“…a 3D virtual plant environment that gives operators a real-time view of the physical environment, but it depends on how far you want to model that environment, and how much money a customer wants to spend.” EPC’s 3D designs include process simulations, and interfaces to control companies most often “touch each other at the control device level, which needs to be in the 3D model for the EPCs to complete their model.” At present, however, full instrumentation data are not typically included in the 3D models, which largely depend on the desire of process plant customers to justify the cost of a full, working 3D model of the entire plant.

Read the article for perspectives from all of the automation suppliers providing input into the article.

You can also connect and interact with other project management and execution experts in the Plan & Design group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Posted Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 under Project Services.