Every second, every minute, every hour counts in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business. The need for perfect execution is magnified even more when an entire plant is shut down to allow for modifications.
SETAL Construções of Brazil, a fully integrated EPC company, faced this business challenge recently after winning a US$150 million, lump sum, turnkey project from Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (National Siderurgy Company), also of Brazil. SETAL performed the detailed engineering, procurement and construction to replace the 25-year-old No. 3 blast furnace at Companhia Siderurgica Nacional's iron production facility in Volta Redonda, Brazil. SETAL's consortium partner, Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI), handled the basic design.
Once the furnace was blown out on May 1, 2001, SETAL had only 93 days to remove the aged furnace and replace it with a new one. On Aug. 2, 2001, the Volta Redonda site was to begin producing iron again.
There was no room for error.
SETAL realized when it began the project in August 1999 that the tight, 93-day construction timeframe would be its major issue. All preparations would have to be done before the furnace blowout. SETAL needed an edge, and turned to a familiar technology provider: Intergraph Process, Power & Marine.
Intergraph’s PDS®, the leading plant design solution in the world, has been part of SETAL's portfolio for almost a decade. The solution is SETAL's main detailed engineering tool. But 70 percent of SETAL's work is with the petrochemical and chemical industries. SETAL had never used PDS during a siderurgy project. In fact, SETAL had never heard of any EPC company in the world using PDS for this type of project.
SETAL began work on the project's 3D model in March 2000. All existing and temporary structures were modeled. All tubing, flexible hoses, lighting fixtures, electrical trays and conduits were included. By the time the 3D model was completed nine months later, it contained more than 3,000 lines.
PDS provided its natural benefits of clash detection and easy drawing production. SETAL promotes its PDS expertise as one of its competitive advantages. By allowing the EPC company to save time and costs, reduce errors, improve designs, increase productivity and minimize material surplus, PDS helps SETAL execute projects faster and better.
Intergraph visualization tool DesignReview® was extensively used to simulate construction operations. Numerous simulations using the 3D model were performed, allowing SETAL to forecast how time-consuming construction operations would be and to avoid extra work during actual construction. SETAL also used the visualization tool for construction control and planning, and for layout analysis, design review, visual clash checking and simulations.
Since completion of the blast furnace, SETAL has moved to the next-generation visualization tool from Intergraph: SmartPlant® Review. SETAL is excited about the new SmartPlant Review collision detection features and the software's ability to make simulations even more effective.