De Smet Engineers & Contractors, Belgium

With Growing Demand for Alternative Fuels, De Smet Engineers & Contractors Look to Intergraph Solutions

SmartPlant Enterprise improves EPC’s productivity, worksharing and dependability

De SmetDe Smet S.A. Engineers & Contractors (DSEC) works with turnkey projects throughout the world involving the alternative fuel industry. With 150 employees, Belgium-based DSEC holds a project portfolio of about US$600 million.

The engineering company serves two primary markets: the sugar and bioethanol industry and the edible oil and biodiesel industry. For the sugar and bioethanol industry, DSEC performs its own process detail engineering.

With the growing demand for alternative fuels, DSEC faces the challenge of completing turnkey projects in a limited amount of time and with a pre-defined budget. That requires flexibility and precise planning.

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To reduce erection costs and construction time, piping work is pre-assembled. The assembly work is sometimes completed at great distance from the actual plant site.

To meet these challenges, DSEC selected Intergraph’s SmartPlant Enterprise family of products.

“We felt that with Intergraph, we could benefit from efficient and responsive technical support for software implementation,” said Bernard Nokerman, project manager for DSEC. “We were also very interested in the integration of SmartPlant 3D with SmartPlant P&ID.”

Boosting Productivity

DSEC selected several products from the SmartPlant Enterprise suite for their project needs, including:

  • SmartPlant 3D
  • SmartPlant P&ID
  • SmartPlant Basic Integrator
  • SmartPlant Review
  • SmartPlant Explorer

The company’s primary objective was to improve productivity using software that was easy to use and that could easily import data from subcontractors. DSEC also wanted reliable software that would be supported in the future. The ability to share the software outside DSEC’s main office was also important.

DSEC implemented SmartPlant P&ID four years ago to use for schematics. That was followed by the implementation of SmartPlant 3D to improve productivity and offer the ability to integrate with third party products.

SmartPlant P&ID is knowledge-driven engineering software for creating intelligent piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). SmartPlant 3D is a complementary, full-suite solution that provides all the capabilities needed to design a plant, and then keep it as-built throughout its life cycle.

Why Intergraph?

Using SmartPlant Enterprise, DSEC manages several projects currently in production including about 650 pieces of equipment and 3,500 pipelines distributed among 15 main process buildings. All implemented licenses are used on a daily basis and distributed concurrently.

Nokerman said the main reasons for choosing Intergraph solutions were:

  • The ability to seamlessly integrate data between SmartPlant P&ID and SmartPlant 3D
  • Importing and exporting documents in common formats (SAT, DWG, XLS)
  • Quality of technical support
  • Ease of training.

Intergraph solutions are commonly used for DSEC tasks related to structure, equipment, piping and drawings for these integrations. SmartPlant P&ID is mainly used in the production process for schematics and the output of equipment lists. SmartPlant 3D is used in DSEC’s production as well as for new project evaluation and quotations.

Nokerman said it is too early to have measurable results of how the Intergraph solutions have benefited the company because they are still in the learning curve process. But he is confident that the company will meet its objectives in terms of productivity improvements.

“In the future, we expect faster startup on projects based on currently developed backgrounds, including equipment models, specifications and working procedures,” Nokerman said.


Once DSEC was ready to begin the implementation process, it looked to Intergraph services. Intergraph France was closely involved in the startup process, including training and piping specification creation.

No data migration was required since DSEC started on a clean slate. Internal knowledge was used for data development, with only a few subcontractors’ models directly imported.

The time it took to begin initial production with Intergraph software was very brief. DSEC wanted to get started with projects quickly, so the software was used out-of-the-box without any customization.

“Employee training was completed in a matter of days instead of weeks,” said Nokerman.

Nokerman also said that the company had strong assistance from Intergraph personnel who performed training and set-up. “The Intergraph team showed superior knowledge, and their quick response time always surpassed our expectations.”

For the Future

DSEC plans to evaluate SmartPlant Instrumentation for future usage. Depending on its workload, the company may also expand the number of users.

“We expect to use SmartPlant Enterprise’s worksharing capabilities where needed,” said Nokerman. “The next step for us will be to improve and set up the collaboration process between our civil works and structural departments and related external engineering subcontractors with a relay to the workshops.”

With DSEC expecting to meet its objectives using Intergraph solutions, Nokerman said that companies in similar situations should consider working with Intergraph to solve their own production problems.

“Independent of software implementation and user training,” said Nokerman, “it is very valuable to invest in a well thought-out setup of working procedures in collaboration with Intergraph experts.”

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