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  • Writer's pictureCraig Drabyk

Omni Addresses Process Problems at First Scaled-Up Facility After Pilot Plant

When a large, newly-completed process facility went online last year, they encountered a number of challenges that had to be addressed as soon as possible. The unique liquid-and-solid mixing process had worked nearly flawlessly in a small pilot plant, but unexpected issues arose when the process was scaled up and running at full capacity. More flow, quicker drainage, and better CIP functionality were needed to accommodate the required throughput and optimize the 24/7 operation.

Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc. and the project’s process contractor worked closely together to figure out how to upsize piping, process control valves, process drain valves, pressure transmitters and flow meters, and several pumps with drives without shutting the entire process down. All instrumentation, process stainless piping, fittings, and specialties were ordered system-by-system, and scale-up activities would only begin when all parts and pieces were onsite and accounted for. We made sure to prefabricate everything possible to minimize down time as much as possible. There were concerns that supply chain issues would hold up one or more instruments or stainless-steel parts, but luckily, almost all orders were delivered within a day or two of their original ETA.

Detailed work permits were submitted for systems that required work. A 7 a.m. huddle meeting would take place each day during which the permits, which listed instruments, pumps and equipment that would not be functioning and for exactly how long, were reviewed and approved. Once the plant operators and control room were made aware of what instruments and equipment would be temporarily shut down and for what period of time, the system was shut down, locked out, and made safe for a one-to-two day, fast-track installation. Pneumatic tubing was completed to all valves, instruments were tested locally and through the control room, followed by loop check.

There were issues along the way, as not everything goes perfectly as planned. There were several valve parts that did not function properly, and there were problems with broken cams and limit switches, in which case Omni was able to harvest parts from other valves temporarily while awaiting delivery of replacements. This completed the second half of the permit, and the new scaled-up system was officially turned back over to the client for use.

About Omni

Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc., located in New Jersey and Maryland, is a premier instrumentation and electrical contractor, providing superior total care solutions since 1986. Services include instrument installation, tubing installation, instrument calibration, control loop testing, startup and commissioning, power and lighting, process control wiring, BMS wiring, telecommunications and data wiring, fire alarm wiring, security wiring, process network wiring, and control panel fabrication. Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc., is certified in Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus, DeviceNet and ASI-Bus installation.

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