Sarroch, 12 October 2017 – Virtual reality for more effective training of operators, algorithms to optimise the plants’ operational cycle. Also, a system to connect personal protection equipment (helmet, ear defenders, detector) with the control room to provide field operators with the support of co-workers at all times. Using special tablets, operators can record field data and add it to the shared pool of knowledge.
These are just some of the innovations pursued by the #digitalSaras programme – a set of initiatives already outlining today the Refinery 4.0.
To enable future engineering graduates to have a hands-on experience of ‘today’s future’, the Digital laboratory at the premises of Group Company Sarlux welcomed today more than 50 students of Cagliari University, Faculty of Chemical, Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, and of Applied Sciences Vocational High School “Giua”, also from Cagliari. The Digital Team presented to the young visitors the first pilot projects launched in early 2017, some of which are now entering the engineering phase.
This is more than the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution for Sarroch, whose industrial plants are already at the centre of several digital projects: for instance, the 3D reproduction of thousands of pieces of equipment is at an advanced stage, to optimise control of the reliability of equipment. Yet, the full implementation of some pilot projects is an important milestone, which the company was happy to share with the students. “Big data management and the application of the other technologies of Industry 4.0 will enable us to improve our processes at sustainable costs and remain one of the leading operators in refining”, was the message to the young visitors from Dario Scaffardi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Saras.
Information, i.e. data, is the driver of this transformation also according to the Head of Planning and Development, responsible for the Digital project, Giuseppe Citterio, who remarked, “the ability to analyse and exploit this data is the new asset of our times”.
Giuseppe Citterio, Planning and Development Director
#digitalSaras – technological and mindset evolution
The name chosen for the programme reflects the fact that the plan launched in 2017 addresses not only technology but many other aspects of the company’s life as well.
Research: The systematic approach is driving constant search for applications meeting the refinery’s needs: out of 80 possible uses, 24 were selected, on the basis of rationales such as improving work processes, costs and feasibility. This was followed by the launch of the 10 pilot projects.
Most of these are now entering the industrial development phase: the use of tablets by electricians and operators, the connection of PPE with the control room, the communication platform for organising and storing the information collected at each shift by process technicians and control panel operators. The massive analysis of the data supplied by the plants supports the creation of algorithms that will provide technologists with details on the process cycle of the gasifiers in the IGCC plant, for instance, while also providing management with an important business-planning tool
Work organisation: To make this process smooth and effective, the “agile” method has been adopted, set in an unusual context with respect to the sector’s tradition. The Industry 4.0 laboratory at Sarroch, hosting the Open Day, facilitates cooperation between different professionals: process engineers, shift managers and safety officers. It makes available for joint work its common spaces, meeting rooms equipped with videocams and touchscreen maxi screens, and the stand-up meeting room.
Training: Workshop and information materials on the fourth industrial revolution, with initiatives targeting workers from all areas of the organisation. These internal events are hosted by international experts covering the various themes, from digitisation to the development of the world’s energy market, with constantly evolving scenarios.