Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virtual plant planning, retrofitting and maintenance

01.06.2012
Process plants have useful lives of thirty to fifty years, during which time they are routinely retrofitted. Virtual reality software simplifies and helps keep track of retrofit planning and testing. Fraunhofer researchers and BASF SE are jointly developing VR solutions for the plant life cycle.

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.”

360 degree projection virtually identical to the original
The design was reviewed in the Elbe Dom of the Fraunhofer IFF’s Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC in Magdeburg. “After all, the six-meter high, 360 degree projection surface projects a level of a plant, which is virtually identical to the original. This gives viewers the sensation of standing directly in the plant,” explains the researcher. The three-dimensional data from BASF’s planning tools, including the meta data of the plant’s individual components, were exported into the Fraunhofer IFF-researchers’ special virtual reality software – the Virtual Development and Training-Platform.

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
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/june/virtual-plant-planning-retrofitting-and-maintenance.html

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Diamond watch components
18.06.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht Quick and safe laser joining of steel-aluminum mixed connections
05.06.2018 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>