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Benefits of Modern MES – Getting Started with Your MES Journey

EN Automation has put together a series of topics focused on the benefits of Modern MES.

Starting the Journey

Digitalization

Using the Data

Scaling Beyond the Plant Level

Manufacturing Execution System ––MES software––enables manufacturers to gather and analyze digitalized information to optimize plant operations. The best MES software enhances the monitoring of the manufacturing process from raw materials to finished products. Having that data readily available allows managers to see what is happening in the manufacturing process in real-time. Data delivered by MES system software sorts according to quality metrics from the line and shift level up to enterprise analysis and overall company output.

MES software comparison allows managers to draw correlations between successful operations and problem areas to troubleshoot and make corrections in real-time. This capability can be translated into a “live picture” dashboard assessment of productivity and efficiency projected on monitors in numerical and graphic form. That instant feedback gives line managers the information needed to control processes from the granular level through to the desired manufacturing outcome.

That level of control empowers line managers in many ways, enabling real-time decision making while simultaneously storing data for future comparative analysis and process improvement. These capabilities are proven motivational tools as managers learn to identify and prevent problems rather than allow line shutdowns or other manufacturing interruptions.

The most vital benefit of MES system software is tailoring its use to your specific facilities. Whether existing problems are known, need to be identified and solved, or continue to mystify all involved, our manufacturing and software engineering team respond to your enterprise at the level appropriate. We collaborate to identify where manufacturing processes and operations are failing, aren’t up to speed, or exist across a series of functionalities. Our team analyzes and recommends solutions even when performance data resides in pen and paper mode, or existing software systems use is ineffective. Those are all situations that MES system software can fix. But fixing problems isn’t the sole purpose of an MES system.

Even manufacturers operating with sophisticated SCADA and PLC software do not always recognize what modern MES software can do to maximize operations across multiple facilities. Having a unified MES system software in place delivers a vital abstraction layer and a common language to meld varying data interfaces, drive paperless workflow, save time and money in staff utilization and asset usage, and create growth and expansion opportunities using well-documented hard data for wise decision-making.

This capability eliminates interpretation conflicts and provides for clear communications across multiple platforms and operational systems. Along with line system management, MES software, when properly employed with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), broadens the capability scope by relating daily manufacturing outcomes to all phases of company operations and profitability, including accounting, procurement, project management, safety, risk management, compliance, supply chain direction, and year-to-year reporting.

That type of insight is what companies need to drive their vision for the future. The benefits of MES manufacturing software extend far beyond the plant floor to the performance and image of your company as a quality operation. Investors and stakeholders of all kinds benefit from the clear picture of resource management and operational efficiency developed using MES software.

For more information, please contact:

Garett Williams, Director of Business Development

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Refinery Turnaround Calls for Collaboration

EN Engineering’s Industrial Solutions group works in a variety of industrial facilities across the country, including a Midwest refinery with an upcoming turnaround in fall 2020. EN has been involved in the turnaround planning and design process for several dozen design packages, which can include piping, mechanical, process, civil/structural, and electrical engineering inputs. The scope of work for these packages can include updating older infrastructure, de-bottlenecking operating units, and removing out of service fixed equipment. This leads to a safer and more profitable facility.

EN Project Manager Michael Brockman describes the process as, “integrating several small projects into one large overall project.” He continued, “our team focuses on effectively communicating with the client, making sure all stakeholders have provided input, and ensuring consensus has been established on the best path forward. This is executed through upfront site walk-downs and regular meetings with client operations and project teams.”

Business Development Manager Eric Gindlesperger explained, “we focus on providing an atmosphere of collaboration with our clients to define the scope of work at hand, which can be a constant challenge with so many different projects being integrated at once.”

With such an extensive network of fixed equipment, infrastructure, and materials to plan and calculate, practical issues include making sure that all parties are communicating effectively. “The internal turnaround coordinator is the critical link from that aspect,” Brockman observed.

“Not all of the turnaround packages involve hydrocarbon systems. A portion of the design services we provide involve utilities as well,” Gindlesperger noted. “These packages can include steam, nitrogen, cooling water, plant air, etc. which require specific planning with units that are still operational during the shutdown.”

The EN team helps refinery project leaders evaluate these needs and collaborate in ways to find cost savings, satisfy required scope, and complete the project on time. Above all, our team focuses on the client relationship and ensuring that their success is our highest priority. We do not go into projects with a predetermined design or solution. We highly value collaboration and input from all stakeholders to develop the best solution for everyone.

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EN Leads the Fire Hardening Process

The risk of fire around power lines increases with dry conditions, thick vegetation, downed power lines, equipment failure, and others causes. Those problems can occur anywhere in the country, and EN Engineering works with utility companies to plan, design, and mitigate some of those factors. Cedric Moore is the EN Engineering Vice President-Western Region responsible for working with utility companies to design fire hardening measures to avoid damage to the electrical distribution system, personal property, and the environment.

“We participate in a system-wide evaluation of the distribution power grid and its field application,” Moore responded when asked about the mission of his projects. “Together, we look at the map, identify areas where the terrain is difficult, or vegetation is overgrown. Factors such as wind, humidity, and other factors are calculated to assess where assets are at risk.”

The effect of wind on electrical systems is a challenge requiring considerable attention. “When the winds blow strong enough the electrical wires can start conductor slap or ‘galloping.’ If clearances between wires is insufficient, conductors come in close contact with one another and can produce a spark that can lead to fires.”

The factors that reduce these risks are well-known, including pole height as well as state of the nearby vegetation. It is imperative that we at EN use the latest in GO95 standards and Utility standards to select the appropriate pole locations heights, and associated conductor and equipment type to mitigate these risks. Documenting and prioritizing these factors is critical to assign work for field technicians out in the field. EN Engineering also helps utility companies identify risk factors related to the electrical load, type of wire, as well as planning takedown and reinstall. We are leveraging field resources that have decades of utility experience in overhead & underground power distribution construction and design to achieve the best possible solutions.

“That assessment goes back to what the customer base is using in terms of power.” That’s where Moore’s experience on the utility side of the industry comes into play. His background in planning electrical distribution for both overhead and underground systems helps determine the most feasible way to go.

Moore described the primary goal of the project: “We are providing proactive measures geared at prevention of future fire hazards.”

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Seamless Service for Successful Station Upgrade

Working together on a huge upgrade project, EN Engineering’s Natural Gas Transmission, Environmental, and Construction Management teams helped Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) achieve project efficiencies during the replacement of their existing Manor Gate legacy station. The utility operates the entire Baltimore area gas distribution system and serves more than 650,000 customers.

The station upgrade project included two meter runs, four regulator runs, a separator/filter, heater, odorization, controls, and fire suppression, in addition to considerable construction of buildings and concrete to house this equipment. “This legacy station upgrade will take the transmission gas from TransCanada at 720 PSIG and lower the pressure to 269 PSIG to feed the client’s Beaver Dam and Notch Cliff transmission lines,” explained Keith Johnson, Senior Vice President.

EN Engineering took the design work from conception through completion and also provided the environmental and construction materials testing. Offering clients one-stop service with both design and construction management results in a number of efficiencies. “Our designs are extremely detailed and accurate, so there were very few field changes. Having our construction management on site eliminated time lapses for design questions during construction,” stated Johnson. The construction management team focused on jobsite safety, contractor oversight, adherence to BGE standards, and cathodic protection. In addition, they interfaced with the compliance team, Certified Weld Inspection and NACE coating inspection. “Weekly meetings with the client’s senior management were productive and kept the project on track,” Johnson concluded. “Providing the engineering and design as well as the field services and inspection services results in a seamless client experience.”

EN Engineering offers comprehensive construction management and inspection services, including:

  • Construction, site, and project management
  • Scheduling contractors & subcontractors
  • Regulatory code compliance and permitting
  • Site safety
  • On-site project inspection
  • Material logistics and suitability
  • Field design revision
  • Right-of-way coordination
  • As-built documentation
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EN Engineering Offers Full-Service Support for New Pipeline

Experts from EN Engineering’s entire service portfolio came together to successfully complete a new pipeline system and injection facilities for a Southern midstream energy company.

“We provided project management, engineering, and design services for the pipeline system, which consists of more than 70 miles of 8” and 12” diameter pipeline, as well as for five new injection facilities for multiple third-party producers,” explained Jesse Rodriguez, Vice President.

The pipeline design team provided engineering review of the pipeline routing as well as development of engineering design details, while a facility team provided full mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural design packages, along with hydraulic and surge analysis.

EN Engineering’s environmental, integrity, data analytics, and procurement experts also supported the major project. The Environmental team oversaw an environmental survey and provided recommendations for both compliance measures and installation best practices. Integrity experts evaluated scenarios for flow modeling and also provided recommendations for emergency flow restricting device (EFRD) valves, and GIS services were utilized to evaluate alternate pipeline routes and make a commercial recommendation. “The corrosion team also got involved by providing designs for cathodic protection, and our procurement staff supported all the equipment, material, and labor contracts, from specification development to expediting and tracking deliveries,” stated Rodriguez.

EN Engineering also provided several specialty services, including in-house HAZOP facilitation and shop inspection services, and the Automation team developed the control philosophy for the injection facilities and interfaced with third-party programmers and PLC integrators.

“The breadth of our full-service portfolio was truly highlighted in this project,” Rodriguez concluded. “It’s always rewarding when you can offer clients this kind of comprehensive support.”