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Not My Typical Day As A Process Engineer...

A lot of things happen this week. To be exact...these 2 days.....

In the early hours today, electricity power was out. The whole factory was affected and the whole plant have to stopped. This was already a bad sign of the day....I guess....

Well, then we realised that it happened for a matter of seconds only. The power provider had changed the power station and unfortunately that resulted the power to be not available for 2 - 3 seconds. The effect to my plant was a massive downtime.

During this sudden power breakdown, many pending maintenance job that could not be performed during normal plant operation was carried out. But, the timing must be monitored. If the maintenance work took a lots of time, and the time to regain power is less, then the maintenace work should not be carried out. However, if the work requires less time, then it might be possible to decide on doing the job fasttttt........So, this is the point where decision making is vital.

My colleague install the UPS system (a power back up system) for the PLC (programable logic controler) in my plant. The process took about 45 minutes. They cannot install the UPS during normal plant running hour because to install the UPS, the PLC must be switched off (the plant is running 24 hours). So, when the plant is down, it was a fantastic opportunity to install UPS.

As soon as the power returned, the plant supervisor and operator were very busy doing their job starting up the plant. Many sections need to be handled and be taken care off. The vacuum system need to be stabilized. The high pressure boiler need to be switched on and obtain the desired pressure to reach targeted temperature. The cooling tower need to be in great shape to supply water to plant to establish good vacuum.

Unfortunately, one of the cooling tower fan was broken when the plant attempted to start up. So, we cannot use that cooling tower. We have to use another cooling tower which was under cleaning. Luckily, cell no 1 of the cooling tower which is under cleaning is ready for duty....However, the 12" gate valve on top of that cooling tower is leaking and have to be replaced with a new one in order to make the cooling tower work. Another 1.5 hours there.....Soon, a 20 tonne crane entered the plant and lifted the damaged fan down for maintenance. The 8 bladed fan was serviced, repaired and fixed backed to its original position.

At the same time, during this starting up of plant, many unexpected thing can also happen. This is one of the most critical part of running a plant. Any careless mistake can lead to a devastating catrostrophy. One of the vessel was caught on fire. Luckily, it was detected fast and everything was under control.

Then, when we tought that everything was going to be ok, suddenly the power was cut-off again (for the second time within just 3 hours from the first one). I immedietly called the chargeman and asked him to check out and rectify the problem. Well, it was not only a problem for my plant, but also the whole plant in the factory again, which now it include the boiler. This cannot be good. And this happened nearby lunch time. I get myself some update of what really when wrong by visiting the LV room. Well, it was found that the main fius switch for all the plant was totally wipe out!!! It look really "cool" in black!!!! well, it burnt....and nearly became like coal... Estimated time to fix the mess was 2 hours. So, just wait for another 2 hours and we did some other maintenance work that can be done while the power is gone...

After 2 hours, the power returned. Now, another problem appeared. The boiler cannot be started because its transformer suddenly cannot work. That piece of plastic + metal need to be replaced. After that, the boiler can be started and steam is delivered to respective plants with sufficient pressure.

At the same moment, I must make myself available for an appointment which was arranged a week earlier with a supplier who came from KL. We were discussing some stuff about networking, IT and some PLC conection matter....This is already another big subject....The problem now, I was called for a sudden big meeting with HQ...Oh no!!!....What now? I have to inform my senior that i cannot join the meeting. I have to discuss something with this supplier. We already had an appointment.

Earlier before lunch, i was called to attend the daily production meeting. Usually my senior will attend the meeting, but on this day, some visitor from some country came and he have to lead the tour guide in the plant. So, there i go for the meeting....of course i've been asked few things about wether my plant can run the type of oil that some customer requested....when? tomorrow!!! Ok.....this is not normal process. We have not run this oil before, so i cannot answer....I must refer to my senior exec and senior supervisor to check on the feasibility of the process.

Another project that i handle which is the tank gauging experience some communication problems. However, the power problem unexpectedly made the communication to improve and the system became ok. As i prepare myself to go home, i notice that the earlier tank gauging problem came back....Oh no....I shook my head disbelief....it's happening again...

Well....all of this happened in a one very long day today.....and always when i reached home, it's already dark....i cannot event see my flowers bloom during daylight because i always reach home when it's already dark....Luckily tomorrow is a public holiday....huh...!!!

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 8:40 PM,


At Sunday, September 03, 2006, Blogger  Ashok said...

Nice blog there. Visit mine too at http://steamcenter.blogspot.com

At Sunday, September 03, 2006, Blogger Kipas Repair JB said...

Yeah...thanks...hope you can benefir from it...


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The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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