Though there’s practically no such thing in our industry as a project that’s completely problem-free from start to finish, those that are well-designed and thoughtfully planned certainly experience fewer issues. As the old saying goes, however, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. This was the case on a recent plant upgrade project when vendors were unable to produce crucial control panels in their promised time frame.
The bioprocessing facility had been in operation less than a year when Omni received a call from the chief operating officer. Several important upgrades were needed to keep up with increasing demand, as well as some overdue maintenance. The COO had been pleased with Omni’s electrical and instrumentation work on the original project and selected us to perform the new upgrades.
The owners had prepared extremely well for the project, working with designers to cover every detail and ordering long-lead equipment and materials very early on to help ensure a smooth process. Omni was tasked with replacing fourteen large butterfly valves with full-port ball valves and installing 800 feet of 150°F process heat trace, power and controls for new wash equipment, a new steam-regulating control valve, and six new pressure transmitters, as well as calibration of nearly one hundred instruments throughout the facility. This part of the facility would be shut down for four weeks while production continued in other areas.
Work had been proceeding with few hitches, but concern began to grow when three critical control panels promised by two separate vendors failed to materialize; queries as to when they would arrive were met with evasive answers. Finally, at the last minute, both vendors disclosed that none of the control panels would be available for another 6-7 weeks. This caused a major dilemma for the facility owners, and everyone went scrambling. Without the new wash equipment and heat trace, production throughout the facility would be severely curtailed.
After several avenues proved fruitless, Omni proposed a workaround solution: we would fabricate the control panels in our panel shop and have them completed, installed, and tested within approximately three weeks. The owners agreed, and we quickly set to work acquiring the necessary components and building the three control panels. We were able to deliver on our projected timeline almost to the day, effectively shaving a month off the completion date had the owners chosen to wait for the vendor-supplied control panels to arrive.
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.