Intelligent projects – a proven approach to cut time, schedule and risk (illustration: ABB)
A series of hardware, software and process enhancements combine to shorten project schedules, cut costs and minimise risk when executing large scale oil, gas or chemical installations.
The next generation project execution model launched by ABB cuts the design, engineering, installation and commissioning time of typical large, greenfield oil and gas automation-based projects in half from 100,000 hours to about 50,000 hours. Called intelligent projects, the model reduces overall project risk while increasing competitiveness by lowering capital and operational costs by 20% to 30%. Late changes to a project often result in higher costs and a detrimental impact on the schedule. The new approach leads to faster start-ups while decreasing complexity and increasing predictability, thereby taking automation projects off the critical path.
“Oil, gas and chemicals projects have been done the same way for decades. With the recent re-set in cost for this industry, something needs to change – efficiencies need to be uncovered in order to drive significant project and life-cycle savings,” explains ABB’s Dan Overly. “The change starts now with ABB’s intelligent projects.”
Intelligent projects combines intelligent engineering with intelligent infrastructure.
Intelligent engineering embraces ABB’s expertise as a main automation contractor (MAC), main electrical contractor (MEC) and main instrumentation contractor (MIC). As the main contractor, ABB provides project management together with design and engineering expertise. It also oversees interface management of the engineering suppliers and takes responsibility for the data transfer between parties.
ABB’s proactive approach during project execution entails close cooperation with the client, other contractors and suppliers to implement best-in-class solutions, and makes itself accountable for the interfacing with other participants. This ensures effective integration of all components and systems.
Streamlined execution is achieved using innovative, digital technologies such as cloud computing, virtualisation, emulation and simulation and is about parallel engineering with the operational phase in mind. “Quite often significant added value is overlooked by not using such technologies,” says Overly. “Virtualisation, emulation and simulation help us to remove the need for hardware testing in the factory, making project execution faster, as well as more reliable and cost effective.”
Intelligent infrastructure integrates products and systems from ABB’s automation, instrumentation, electrical and telecommunications portfolios. The intelligence within ABB’s smart devices and systems refers to the fact that many have Ethernet interfaces which are enabled for data analytics and can drive the fourth industrial revolution – connecting the physical world to the digital one.
However, in practice, the infrastructure of many companies is often far from intelligent, resulting in disparate systems and interfaces that have no chance of being collaboratively operated.
Integrating engineering and infrastructure lies at the heart of ABB’s intelligent projects. Key components are engineering in the cloud, standardised processes, automated data management, smart I/O systems and soft marshalling leveraging ABB Ability™ System 800xA to decouple the hardware and software engineering activities.