With over 110 000 employees, BASF is the world’s largest chemical company. At its headquarters in Ludwigshafen, the company runs over 160 production facilities, two steam crackers, two gas and steam turbine power plants and one sewage treatment plant.
Design review on the planning model of BASF’s factory in the Elbe Dom of the Fraunhofer IFF Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC. The giant 360 degree projection facilitates in-depth discussion of all of the plant’s details. © Dirk Mahler
Virtual technologies are helping make information and data on every plant on the premises available digitally to planning engineers, process engineers, assembly coordinators, safety experts and asset managers. A virtual copy of a plant displays every possible view, whether in graphics or figures, in drawings or simulations. This expedites and improves the planning and implementation of new plants or additions and retrofits.
Design reviews are an integral part of the planning process – a virtual model for design reviews realistically reproduces every component with the information related to it. The spatial representation makes hidden components or components aligned behind one another easily viewable. “We reviewed the design of a process plant retrofit together with BASF experts,” reports Sabine Szyler, virtual reality specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF. “The space in the plant can be determined far more easily. What sounds so obvious is really a giant leap in perception.”
This enabled plant operators, plant planners and their colleagues, such as piping contractors, equipment and instrument engineers, steel building contractors or safety supervisors, to view details of the plant faithfully reproduced at full scale in the virtual model and clarify many questions such as whether all of the operating elements are easily accessible or all the safety valves are easily operated during an inspection “we are so impressed by the design review with virtual reality that we have set up two VR stations in Ludwigshafen. That enables our planning teams there to review designs of other plants any time,” says Axel Franke, Senior Engineering Manager at BASF.
A retrofit plant performs differently than before and, in the worst case, incorrect operation could bring all plant operation to a complete standstill. Continuous safety training is therefore a top priority in chemical plant engineering. A virtual interactive learning environment is already being used for training in Ludwigshafen. Fraunhofer experts designed a scenario for the retrofit of a nitric acid plant, which enabled the team of operators to inspect and get acquainted with the plant already before its commissioning. The Fraunhofer experts set up a mobile VR training station directly in the control room. The training module presents the complete 3-D model of the plant. All of the meta data such as serial numbers, temperatures, pressures and media as well as training materials can be viewed. Workers were able to familiarize themselves with its new operation, identify new access points and learn new safety regulations.
The experts from BASF and the Fraunhofer IFF concur that plant engineers will be unable to operate internationally in the future without virtual technologies. BASF is working on intensifying its use of virtual technologies in the future in order to maintain its leadership among chemical plant operators. The Fraunhofer IFF will continue providing conceptual support.
Sabine Szyler | Fraunhofer Research News
Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering