May 27, 2021 • 3 min read
Automating engineering for standardized facilities
How we're pioneering repeatable engineering design through our Replic8 technology
The thought of a robot engineering your hydrogen plant or wind farm may seem like science fiction. But developments in robotic process automation (RPA) bring new possibilities for the energy, chemicals and resources industries. And the benefits are enormous.
RPA is the use of software to handle repetitive tasks, analyze information and trigger processes. It helps to increase processing speed and provides greater quality through reduced human error. But most importantly, it liberates skilled workers to focus on high-value activities by eliminating tedious and repetitive tasks.
Focusing talented people on the big challenges has never been more important as the industry shifts gears. The new energy market faces challenging economics and a need to bring technology online quickly. And the quest for efficient and sustainable ways of working has intensified across traditional energy, chemicals and resources sectors.
But transformational outcomes won’t be achieved by simply applying new technology to yesterday’s thinking and ways of working.
That’s why we’re working with our customers to pioneer automation technology and engineering methodologies. To transform how we work together and to bring new projects to market more efficiently.
Breaking the mould in engineering design
One standout example of the value of automation is in repeatable engineering design.
Using a production line methodology that’s more commonly found in manufacturing, we developed Replic8 – a workflow technology that automates repeatable engineering deliverables and the repeatable design aspects of design one build many (D1BM).
On a recent engineering project for a global energy customer in Canada, Replic8 generated significant schedule, cost and quality benefits.
“Our customer was developing a drill site with up to 15 well pairs. This scale of build would typically need around 120 piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) and around 26 weeks of engineering time for the repeatable work scopes,” recalls Dean Piquette, developer of Replic8.
“Using Replic8 and modularizing our design, we were able to achieve the same build with only 14 P&IDs. And we reduced the engineering time from weeks to hours.”
Over the past 12 months, Replic8 has executed 22,000 deliverables, automatically updating 1.27 million data points. It’s achieved a total estimated saving of over 26,000 hours, with zero errors. And its application continues to evolve.
“Based on a project where we delivered a 20 MW solar farm, with 72,000 solar panels, we plan to develop a ‘typical template delivery’ for the solar sector," says Piquette. “Replic8 is also being used in the engineering design phase of a world-first carbon capture project in the US, as well as several other large-scale projects in different sectors and locations around the world.”
Transforming how we think about engineering
“Replic8’s beauty is in its simplicity,” says Piquette. “It’s not a vogue technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning or blockchain. It’s an unassuming piece of automation that can be plugged in to almost any execution toolset like Aveva, Hexagon, AutoPlant or standard Microsoft applications.”
The case for RPA is clear
With absolute predictability and quality assurance, Replic8 is helping to break the mould in engineering design. The automated workflow is consistently helping our customers achieve a 30 percent reduction in total installed cost. And 60 percent schedule improvements versus traditional engineering methods.
Its success is an example of how transformational outcomes can be achieved if we are open to challenging our ways of working and applying the right technology.
So, we can turn yesterday’s science fiction into today’s reality.
reduction in total installed cost
engineering efficiency improvement