Gibraltar has allowed us to grow in the area of functional safety | B:TECH
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CASE STUDY

Gibraltar has allowed us to grow in the area of functional safety; we went to America for the certification

In the background of a massive rock that is typical of Gibraltar, one of the most significant Oil&Gas projects was executed and took place in the years between 2017 and 2019. At the beginning of our story, there was a decision to build a new type of power plant in this location. The original diesel generators are now partially replaced by natural gas generators. Gas supply for the new power plant was assigned to SHELL company. The main supplier of bottling, storage and gasification of LNG has become CHART FEROX, a.s., our long-term customer in the area of process automation. Together, we have finished dozens of projects. Cooperation on this project has allowed our company to grow in the area of functional safety and we are proud of the result.

Specific procedures based on the location

Gibraltar, known as the ROCK, is a border between Europe and Africa. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age and has many times played an important role as a strategically located fortress and naval base. Moreover, it is a very popular tourist destination with a pleasant climate. The contract for process automation regarding storage and gasification in Gibraltar is definitely different from the many of so far finished projects with the company CHART FEROX. It is exceptional in its size, technical difficulty, but mostly its strict demand on safety. The location also demanded specific procedures and it was necessary to take into account the possible risks regarding the near airport and the influence of airport radars on the used technology.

On our side there were two key people for our project. Pavel Vraspír, the Software Specialist and Technical Leader for Process Automation, and Ing. Eva Doležalová, the Project Manager, responsible for the project processes.

Safety factors in the Oil&Gas sector

“This project for storage and gasification of LNG has been a great experience for our whole team. From the beginning we knew that it would be both interesting but also difficult,” Eva Doležalová says.

We were to provide the control system for the whole technology of storage and gasification of natural gas which include functional parts of LNF transfers from tankers to cryogenic tanks and LNG pumping control from the tanks into the evaporators where the liquid phase is converted to a gaseous one. For projects where the main medium is gas, the safety of the whole process is immensely important. Proposed solution and safety factors must prevent the emergence of abnormal conditions by automatic detection of the possible failures and by data monitoring. The risk of material, financial or environmental damage is high.

Challenging preparation phase and risk analysis

The draft process was preceded by a detailed and challenging phase of analysing the possible risks. With regards to the specifics of the projects, despite the detailed analysis, it was necessary to solve numerous issues during the process. Thanks to the regular meetings of the whole team as well as meetings with the final customer, we were eventually able to face the challenges together and successfully finish the contract which surprised us a bit due to its complexity in comparison with our original expectations. We managed to finish it also thanks to the cooperation with the CHART FEROX company. Our cooperation was business-wise and human-wise open and supportive.

Location as reward

The project environment of Gibraltar was perceived by the colleagues as a reward despite the fact that  the revival of similar technologies is a job for tough guys, as Eva says. No office or air-conditioned workplace. Although she did not have time to explore Gibraltar more, due to the busy short-term stays on the construction site, she is grateful for the opportunity to visit the location. “Imagine that you leave the hotel or your work, and you see the sea, steamboats, seagulls, and sun … I believe these things also helped us to manage the demanding work on this project,” Eva adds.

Trip to America for the functional safety

In Gibraltar, we have gained valuable experience in the area of the process automation and functional safety. Securing industry processes according to the high standards of IEC 61511 norm is not entirely common in the Czech Republic. These standards have gradually been coming to our country from Western Europe and America. The emphasis on environmental, economic and social responsibility for the impacts and possible risks of the industry works has become a topic that is more and more discussed even in our country. It is the reason why we believe that the area of functional safety based on these strict norms will become a part of industrial works here as well.

Based on this experience, we have decided to invest money and time into our prominent specialist in this area, Petr Matoušek, and earn the title of Certified Functional Safety Professional CFSP for the sector of industrial processes. Petr has passed the demanding SFSP training with Exida company in America. He successfully passed the exam in June 2020. Therefore, for our customers, we are able to ensure the services including this specialisation as well.

Heart-warming Acknowledgement

Safety has played a key role in the environment on the border between Europe and Africa, just like our colleagues Pavel and Eva who received a present for their good job which was a glass sculpture from the Project Manager. It does not happen every day for the customer to express in this way that they are grateful that you work for them. Eva and Pavel have been working on projects for this customer for 6 years and have finished a lot of projects together.

I have to say that the present surprised me. I really appreciate that the customer decided to express his thanks in this way,” Pavel Vraspír says. “We were still one step ahead. The progress was discussed on the spot and during the process, and sometimes it was quite challenging. However, over the years I have learned that it always ends up well. The path is just sometimes more difficult,” Pavel, adds. Despite having more than 20 years of experience in the field, he has a respectful approach towards new projects. 

I am glad that the cooperation with this customer continues and evolves. I think it is a result of a well done job of our specialist who are committed, know the field well and are professionals, and our customer thus wants work with us again and again. I am proud of them,” Eva Doležalová concludes.

Pavel Vraspír is our Technical Leader regarding the software for the segment of process automation. He has been working in our company since 2000 and is one of our most experienced colleagues. He has worked on a number of projects in the area of dairy industry, mining industry, measuring technique, Oil&Gas, or energetics. He is experienced in the area of both discrete and process automation. He has also worked on technically challenging and non-standard projects such as control of removable walking units for Severočeské doly or the control of chemical adjustment of water for the Muridke power plant in Pakistan. Cooperation with him is being sought after not only by the customers by also his colleagues.

FACTS IN A NUTSHELL

  • 2017 - 2019, Gibraltar
  • Project documentation
  • Supply of switchboards in the technological container
  • SW equipment creation for the control system and HMI, Allen-Bradley platform (Rockwell Automation)
  • Communication or integration of individual technological autonomous units (MLA-Machine Loading Arm, compressor rooms, extinguishing system protection)
  • Chief assembly and revival of technology
  • Functional safety – Control system according to IEC 61511
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