Architects Integrating Industry (Ai2SA) was recently contracted to complete an instrument to PLC loop diagram project, which required around 13 different types of drawings, of which there were approximately 160 instances and some 8 500 variables. The project had a preliminary scope, but with no templates or standards, which had to be drawn up by Ai2SA.
Initially, Ai2SA used the traditional method of doing each loop one at a time manually. However, the client required the drawings fast and on a tight budget; the traditional method was taking too long. Therefore, in order to deliver on time, in budget and with high quality standards, Ai2SA made use of FDes, a Fieldbus/Control & Instrumentation design software package, developed by Dessoft. The design tool was used in conjunction with a third-party drawing program whereby FDes was integrated in to the drawing program templates by reference pointing the smart databases in FDes.
The instrumentation, cabling, wiring, junction box, field plugs, panels, PLC data etc. were all designed and built quickly and with 100% accuracy in FDes, using thorough quality control processes. Each drawing was then published onto the drawing software using the FDes export tools.
Typically, an equivalent project without FDes would take substantially longer, with the potential for unnecessary rework, which costs both the client and the contractor. By making use of FDes, the licence price is therefore easily absorbed by the project, the project timeline is significantly shortened and the margins realised are significantly higher.
Ai2SA always seeks to improve itself through continuous development by reviewing the latest technologies on the market and applying a ‘most economically, technically viable solution’ approach to design, programming and management of projects in order to deliver cutting edge, quality driven, optimal and cost effective solutions.
Post-mortem: lessons learnt on the project
• Project scope, deliverables list, templates and specifications should be specified at conception, or ideally during the tender/response stage.
• Change and risk management quality procedures should be enforced to ensure that project scope and budget is kept within limits to protect both the client and the contractor.
• Optimal resource management should be implemented whereby seniors’ middle and junior engineers’ times are appropriated in effective ratios such that senior resources provide oversight, internal technical briefs in the form of internal user requirements specifications and quality control. The middle and junior resources should collaborate to split and manage work so as to make the best use of time in order to fine tune the project budget.
• Dedicated training/mentoring time should be allowed for to ensure that resources are not placed on the ‘back-foot’ due to lack of experience.
• Communication must be maintained to avoid frustration and unnecessary overtime. It is imperative that all decisions, actions, and other discussions are recorded in writing and circulated to all those involved.
• Documents should always be transmitted and received following the proper document control procedures.
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