Implementing a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) Control and Safety System Upgrade

At the request of the client, MSB’s first tasks were to conduct Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to investigate potential deal breakers, and to develop a Total Installed Cost for the entire project, within 10%, which was a prerequisite for management approval. Once FEED and the cost estimate were completed, MSB received management approval and quickly moved onto the Detailed Design phase of the engineering project.

As soon as the Detailed Design phase began, three major tasks were identified as critical path: the in-depth field investigation to determine the condition of the existing wiring and terminations; creating the required drawings and delivering to the turnaround planning team in time to meet an extremely aggressive schedule; and lastly, the reverse engineering of the existing control systems, as documentation was poor to non-existent.

Field Investigations – Managing the Unexpected
The Field Investigation Phase. Among the most critical issues during this phase were the conditions of the existing marshalling panel and wiring terminations. MSB was challenged with replacing a control panel that had been exposed to a corrosive environment for many years. As a result, all field wiring terminations had deteriorated to the point that the system experienced spurious trips when the control panel door was opened. To address this issue, MSB developed a plan to disconnect all field wiring, replace all the terminals, redress all the existing wiring from all the field devices, and re-terminate and torque all connections.

Meeting Project Deadlines – A Dual Approach
MSB was awarded the project one and a half years before the scheduled turnaround, which provided only six months to perform all the field related engineering and design, since the field portion of the design packages were required one year before the turnaround for planning purposes. Even with a planned outage at a refinery, there are high-stakes involved. Turnarounds can face unexpected problems. The team at MSB had earned the trust of facility leaders and operational managers by delivering on-time due to its disciplined approach to system upgrades and implementations. After conducting exhaustive field investigations, MSB identified all the field work that could be done pre-turnaround and the field work that could only be done during the turnaround; and provided design packages for each. By identifying all work that could be done pre-turnaround, MSB helped the client mitigate the risk of the turnaround overrunning the aggressive schedule.

Design and Reverse Engineering – Reconstructing and Improving the System
The client’s existing system had minimal documentation. As a result, outside of a limited number of personnel at the refinery, there was no one else who had a solid understanding of the control systems’ operation; and worse yet, fewer who could make modifications or troubleshoot problems. MSB started with an in-depth review of the existing control software and reversed engineered the functionality to develop a full set of documentation which explained, in detail, the operational characteristics of the system. MSB then conducted a step-by-step review with the client to evaluate the functionality, correcting latent issues and making enhancements to assure a smooth migration to the new control system. This fully vetted description of the functional operation then became the basis for the design of the new control system, providing enhanced control and eliminating legacy issues experienced with the older control system.

From Design to Implementation to Commissioning – Testing is Critical to Success
Once the design was complete, MSB developed procedures for both the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) and Site Acceptance Test (SAT). These procedures detailed all testing necessary to assure a safe, reliable, and functional system before leaving the manufacturing facility, and also after field installation. The FAT was coordinated by MSB, and involved simulation of system operation and all alarm/shutdown scenarios. All wiring and IO points were also fully tested prior to shipment to the field. The SAT, conducted on-site after installation, was also coordinated by MSB engineers. Testing involved wiring and loop checks to verify the quality of the field installation process. Throughout the field installation and test phase, MSB engineers were on-site 24 hours a day to provide technical direction and supervision. After the extensive test process was complete, startup and commissioning the new systems went smoothly and quickly, and the FCCU was back online well in advance of the turnaround deadline.

The MSB Solution: Getting you on-line on time.
With a proven design procedure and extensive experience, M S Benbow delivered the two control systems for the client’s FCCU within the turnaround schedule’s constraints, while allowing the client to operate its systems more reliably and safely. MSB team members acted as an extension of the client – as true partners – to move from conception, to design, to installation, testing and implementation.

Engineering A Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Offloading Terminal

While MSB’s initial task was the design of the instrumentation and control system, our expanded role entailed an assessment of all the vendors’ products and services involved to ensure performance, availability, and safety targets were met while controlling overall project cost.

As a vendor-neutral company, MSB’s scope expanded to help define and implement how some of the vendors’ products would work within the plant’s existing infrastructure. The integrated multi-discipline engineering team assessed the technologies, systems, vendors, process knowledge and greenfield location to deliver the best possible solution along with anticipating future needs. One of the primary challenges was integrating the new system into the existing plant infrastructure to assist plant operators in the offloading process.

MSB’s team of engineers and designers assisted in developing the feasibility study, FEED analysis and cost estimates to evaluate the practicality of the construction. MSB also delivered detailed design, equipment and materials specification, FAT execution, installation/construction support, and start-up and commissioning services.

Greenfield Assessment

M S Benbow carefully assessed the unique benefits of a Greenfield project – the ability to explore state-of-the-art assets, systems, and processes; connectivity and IIoT or smart solutions – all with an emphasis on improving safety and availability. The benefits of a well -defined design cycle helped not only to improve performance but also minimized operator error by automating some processes that typically required operator intervention.

Because the client had never completed a project of a similar nature, M S Benbow helped to evaluate from an operation and maintenance standpoint what the ideal approach would be for the project in its entirety. Within the entire design cycle, M S Benbow approached the project by assessing the ongoing and iterative improvements they could make in the design process to ensure the most successful solution.

Ensuring Safety and Reliability

Offloading, storing, and transporting LPG safely is critical at all stages of production, distribution and consumption. MSB has helped our client for the past 15 years to upgrade the plant’s storage tank instrumentation and controls infrastructure, providing overfill protection and enabling plant operators to assess tank capacity. Utilizing the existing network infrastructure and control parameters in place at the facility, MSB was able to plan effectively for the new demands of offloading vast amounts of product and integrate the newly created designed system seamlessly.

Delivery and Future Plans

To meet the ambitious construction timeline, MSB provided staged design package deliverables while construction was underway. MSB also tapped its team of seasoned engineers midway through the project to re-engineer the LPG railcar skid vendor’s automation controls from a multi-PLC simplex design to a single TMR Fault Tolerant alternative.

Completed in 11 months, the project was successfully delivered on time and within budget.
Whether a new control system installation, expansion or a need to explore technical obsolescence of your existing control system, our experts offer a vision of how your experts offer a vision of how your instrumentation and control systems could evolve and improve in years ahead.