Digital Engineering The Digital Plant Takes the Next Level: Less Paperpushing, More Engineering
Powerful, intuitively operated documentation tool proves its usefulness in practice — Documenting the actual as-built status of a large process plant is a Herculean task. It is not unusual for the change to the plant itself to take less time than the subsequent changes in the documentation. With myriads of copies and handwritten notes, important information is easily ge lost. For all these reasons, BASF in Ludwigshafen decided on the successive installation of an electronic documentation system — and the results speak for themselves …
Michael Brendelberger is Senior Engineering Manager, Site Engineering at BASF Ludwigshafen and was responsible for the implementation of the documentation tool: “In our plant engineering we have already been using Prodok — an I&C-CAE system for an integrated planning process with unified rules — for many years now.
The documentation tool Livedok (Fig. 1) seemed to us to be the ideal complement. And we definitely made the right decision. Since introducing digital documentation in our plants, we always have up-to-the-minute, reliable as-built documentation which is accessible to everyone.
In combination with the comfortable documentation tool we achieve synergy effects — and save both time and money. In short, a successful combination.” However, in order to arrive at this point a tool not only has to be introduced — it also has to be accepted by the users. The changeover from paper to digital documentation can be a particularly challenging hurdle.
Decisive for Acceptance
Therefore one strong argument in favor of using the documentation tool was its intuitive operation, which made a big contribution to easing the change: in Ludwigshafen there was no need for several hundred users to be coached individually; they had a central training session. Practical experience has shown that this applies in other projects, too: generally after a maximum of one day’s training, users can work reliably with the tool.
Two main groups use digital documentation: employees working on-site in the plant to carry out installation, maintenance and repair tasks, and their colleagues in document administration, who check entries for plausibility, among other criteria, and initiate revision processes.
The requirements of these two groups regarding documentation are totally different, and all of them are exemplarily met by this documentation tool. People working on-site in the plant get a straightforward, clearly-structured input mask. Alterations can be quickly made with a redlining palette with functions ranging from handwritten entries through text marking, to dynamic stamping and many more. For traceability, the date and time of the change, and the name of the employee who made it, are recorded automatically.