n petrochemical production, there is very little room for error. In the production of crude oil and natural gas, oil companies have seen the value in a comprehensive digital documentation of the associated process plant. With an accurate record of as-built conditions they can operate the plant safely and reliably.
FARO offers the energy industry a range of 3D measurement technology solutions, such as the FaroArm, FARO Laser Tracker and FARO Laser Scanner. These not only document as-built conditions but enable operators to quickly and easilyinspect, measure and align every part of a gas rig or oil refinery in order to meet the industry’s strict safety and quality standards.
Stretching assignment in rubber plant
The city of Togliatti on the great Volga river is famous for Lada cars and a thriving petrochemicals industry. The Togliattikauchuk plant is one of the largest petrochemical complexes of its type and focuses on the production of synthetic rubber for use in anything from car tyres to medical devices and from rubberised fabrics to construction industry products. To facilitate plant improvement works, a 3D scan of the whole plant was commissioned and the project manager Acropol-Geo called on the services of 3DLS to conduct the scanning and post-processing tasks. The 3DLS team included 3D scanning specialists who have spearheaded the application of laser scanning techniques to a range of engineering challenges in Russia.
“Making an accurate 3D representation of a petrochemical plant was never an easy task. But thanks to modern laser scanners like the FARO Focus3D, what used to take an army armed with measuring tapes and theodolites years, can now be done with a few well-equipped individuals in a matter of months,” said Maxim Khmelevskiy, Project Manager, 3DLS. “And best of all, achieving satisfactory result is now possible thanks to the sheer accuracy, reliability and speed of today’s tools.”
The 3DLS team set to work with a larger geodesic scanner for the big picture coordinate measurements and a nimble FARO Focus3D for the detailed scanning. The 5-hectare site is strewn with many miles of multi-level interlocking pipes and cables of different diameters, making it impossible to break up the plant into smaller projects. The end result needed to be an integrated and accurate model of the whole plant. Scanning conditions were close to extreme: the plant production processes produced dangerous temperatures and pressures, escaping steam, harmful chemical emissions, noise and vibration.
Under these conditions the portability and ease of use of the FARO Focus3D supported quick and safe work. It could be moved without switching off and the powerful battery gave up to five hours of cablefree operation. The post-processing was also very intensive and the team developed their own “total scan” workflow, which they estimated is five to six times more efficient than a traditional survey approach based on spheres and stitching. They also employed proprietary software to handle problems like platform vibrations. In total 8,158 scan positions resulted in over 12.5 billion cloud points. By the end of the 102-day project all the data had been pre-treated in FARO Scene software before alignment in InnovMetric PolyWorks and registration of the scans in the plant coordinate system.
Refining the refinery
To satisfy the national market demands and to bring processes and products into line with international standards, OMV-Petrom is investing heavily in modernization.
But the documentation of the 78-year old refinery was far from ideal in terms of quality and coverage. So, to facilitate the ongoing planning and modification work, OMV-Petrom decided to have 3D as-built documentation produced.
The Romanian company International Partner Buro S.R.L. (IPB) was awarded the contract. “The total area of the site is 70.73 hectares and we had to create a 3D model that would represent all the tanks, pipes, racks, struts and columns over 20 inches in size,” explained Dr. Dipl. Ing. Marian Radoi, the founder and managing director of IPB. “It was a huge project and reference case for us, so we needed to have reliable tools and an optimum workflow.”
On 24. April 2012, work began with three teams working in parallel shifts to handle the
topographical measurements, 3D scanning and data processing. “Our specialists are very motivated but anyone can get tired and make mistakes when you are working ten hour shifts and need to record almost 6.000 scans. So the ease of use of the FARO Focus3D was very important. It reduced the potential for operator error, speeding up the workflow and contributing greatly to the success of this four-month project,”
The post-processing was equally intensive: four men shared shifts on two workstations. The point clouds were processed in FARO Scene and then data was imported into PointSense Plant. The dedicated plant modeling software is a powerful environment that will be central to all future planning and execution processes.
“Before we acquired the FARO Focus3D, we worked with traditional tools and methods,” explains Radoi. “But this is a job that would have
simply been impossible with a Total Station and measuring tapes because in a refinery it is not always possible or safe to climb the pipes or scale the walls of a tank with a measuring tape. Furthermore, the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D gives accuracy and detail, that would have been impossible with any other system because of the acquisition speed.”