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Steam Trap Failure Issue

As I read through the "Expert Q and A - Timely Detection of Steam Trap Failure" post in the Chemical Engineering Blog, I was called to share my opinion and experience. This is because I also have similar problem in my plant regarding maintaining the steam trap functionality. (P/s: For those who don't have an idea what is steam trap and how does it work, and what is the importance of steam trap, learn about it from Maintenance Resources). In the post, a question was asked:

Q: A steam trap tested as operational during an annual survey can fail at any point after the test. These failures go undetected until there is some type of system failure or until the next time a steam trap survey is performed. What is the most effective approach to detect failure and maintain a best-in-class steam system?

Tracy Clupper from Armstrong International (Specialist in utility system solution) responded and provided an answer which from my opinion is good.

A: When evaluating methods of testing steam traps, it is important for companies to be realistic about their current needs and capabilities. A company with plans to implement an annual in-house trap-management program with no dedicated or trained personnel is wasting time and money. Hiring a third party to test traps and provide a condition and savings report can be a more effective way to manage a trap population when in-house labor is not available. This approach, however, does not solve the problem of system-related emergencies due to undetected trap failure, nor does it afford the ability to truly capitalize on energy-related savings. One failed-open, high-pressure drip trap can cost a company thousands of dollars in annual steam losses. These losses are shown on a static report as a function of a trap that has failed for an unknown period of time. There is no cost avoidance in this situation, only the potential to stop losses that have already occurred. In addition, the impact of high-pressure steam traps discharging into lower pressure parts of the condensate system can be detrimental to the overall efficiency of the entire system. A 24/7 monitoring system can more effectively detect and identify points of failure for immediate maintenance response. Both hard wired and wireless systems are available on the market. The key to implementing any continuous monitoring system successfully is to identify the costly, critical or dangerous areas of the steam system and target those areas first. Then evaluate the continuous monitoring system’s reporting capabilities; keeping in mind that immediate notification of trap failure is critical, but savings validation is also important toward proving the monitoring system’s effectiveness toward true cost avoidance.

Here I just want to add up some points to what Tracy Clupper has mentioned above (which I added inside the post comment section).

Initially, in my plant, there are nobody monitoring the steam traps. As a result, the steam consumption increase and our vacuum system became inconsistent. After realizing the situation (effect of steam trap failure), we assigned one manpower (from maintenance department) to inspect and record the steam trap temperature inlet and outlet every 2 months. We can know the steam trap is failing if the inlet and outlet temperature is different. However, this is still not enough, because the steam trap may fail in between those two months. Therefore, I asked my supervisors to check all the steam traps every time they round the plant during shift. They don't have to carry with them a temperature gun to check the temperature. They just need to feel the steam trap inlet and outlet by their bare hand (just a touch and it's not dangerous!). If the outlet is colder than usual, that means the steam trap is not working!!! Because steam is not flowing through. It is a simple practice, however, ensuring them to continuously doing the inspection on a daily basis is another challenge. I'm thinking of making a checklist, so they can follow the checklist and feel all steam traps available in the plants, and have the black and white record.

Hiring a third party is also a good option, but why need to pay them if we can enforce or ask our own people/staff to do it. Well, if the company have the luxury, than that's another story! Well, those are just my opinion about the steam trap failure issue.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:48 AM, , links to this post

Mobile Air-Conditioner Versus The Ozone Layer

Your commitment to reduce the use of CFCs is needed - not only for the protection of the ozone layer. Following are some vital points/facts/informations related to ozone layer protection awareness which I adopted from Department of Environmental (DOE) brochure.

CFC in your Mobile Air-Conditioner (MAC) are bad for the ozone layer

Recovery and Recycling (2R)

-2R of CFC 12 during service will be a better solution in reducing CFC 12 emission.
-Send your vehicle to the workshop having the the 2R machine to service your air-conditioning system by a competent mechanic.
-Currently there are 200 MAC service stations that have been equipped with 2R under the MAC 2R project funded by the Multilateral Fund of Montreal Protocol and more than 150 recycling equipment provided by the air-conditioner manufacturer.

Retrofitting (1R)

Retrofitting means removing ozone depleting refrigerant from your air-conditioning system and making modifications so that it can be recharged with one of the new alternatives.

Depending on the make, model and age of your vehicle, the air-conditioning system can be modified to use the ozone friendly refrigerant. The extent and cost of retrofit depends on the system design and the alternative refrigerant chosen.

Ozone Layer And You

- Stratospheric Ozone (15-60 km) is being attacked by "Ozone Depleting Substance" (ODS) particularly CFCs and Halon.
- Without the protection given by the ozone layer, there will be an increase in skin cancer, eye cataracts, reduced immunity, lower crops yield and cause adverse effect on the marine life.
- CFC 12 or known as R12 widely used in mobile air-conditioner (MAC) as coolant.

Montreal Protocol: Trade or Environment Issue?

-The international obligations for the protection of the ozone layer by controlling on the "consumption" of ODS.
- The protocol was originally entered into force in 1989, amended in June 1990 and November 1992 with the intention to accelerate phase out of ODS.
-The Protocol places restriction on trade of controlled substances.

Ozone Protection Control

Strategy to control the use of CFCs has been adopted through the Custom Duty Order and Environmentally Quality Act.

What Is In Your Mobile Air-Conditioner

Most vehicles' air-conditioners contained CFC 12 as refriegerant. CFC 12 is known as Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) that will be phased out soon. Malaysia and other developed countries are trying to stop producing CFCs.

Will This Phase Out Affect You?

Yes! Most mobile air-conditioners leak CFCs over time need for regressing. Once CFCs have been phased out, you may not be able to buy CFCs or it or it is available but the price may be far more expansive.


-There will be no more CFC 12 produced by developed country in 1996
- Shortage of supply means CFC 12 will become scareful and difficult to get.
- Price may increase sharply

Ozone Friendly Alternatives

- Become an ozone-friendly buyer.
- Currently R-134a the only ozone friendly and safe gas with ODP = 0.
- No import duty for R-134a.
- Blends containing HCFC-22, HFC-152a and HCFC-124. This type of refriegerants is less harmful to the ozone layer and will operate with existing lubricant but will require some modifications.
- Most of our National Car ie. Proton and PErodua are using R-134a air-conditioners. Most 1994 imported cars onwards also used R-134a.

Minimize Leaks of CFCs

- Minimize leaks of CFCs by running your air-conditioners for ten minutes every week to ensure the seals are kept lubricated.
- Having it serviced regularly by a competent mechanic.
- Continue to run CFCs with minimum changes.
- Reduce emission of CFC 12 in the atmosphere by using 2R facilities during retrofitting process.
- Planning on conversion to phase out CFCs.
- Minimize the cost of shifting to non ODS refrigerant.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:32 PM, , links to this post

Wooden Cooling Tower Drift Eliminators Get Dirty

The following photos illustrates the cooling tower infills and drift eliminators. That's why after some period of time we need to clean the infills. In worse cases, we need to replace the infills. In this example, the infills are made from cengal wood.

Wet cooling tower infills

Dirty and crooked drift eliminators. These drift eliminators were then replaced with a new set.

The infills arrangements are important to create droplets of hot water dropping from the top. The water droplets (which is hot) will then progressively be cooled down by the air which is sucked pass through the infills from outside by the cooling tower fan.

To understand more about the cooling tower process, click here.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:58 PM, , links to this post

Chemical Engineering Blog

As I read the message from Nella Veldran, publisher of Chemical Engineering E-Newsletter (March Issue) delivered to my mailbox today, I came across a chemical engineering blog (which the domain name is almost identical to this blog). It is actually the current offering from the Chemical Engineering (CE) community, where they publish Expert Q & A's on practical topics, and provide visitors with the opportunity to comment and pose questions. The blog is new (started in February 2007) and it is a new product from Chemical Engineering - Written for Engineers by Engineers. Among the content in the blogs are Heat Transfer, Steam, Air Pollution, Corrosion, Chemical Engineering Daily News and much more. There are various professionals from various chemical engineering field providing answers in the Q & A's section in the blog. The blog is growing and will be full with quality contents. I'm benefiting from the blog as well. If you want to learn a little bit more of cool technical chemical engineering informations, this is a blog you can refer to besides the their mother site. Check it out!

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:43 PM, , links to this post

Boeing 747 Robot

Just sharing some non-chemical engineering stuff but somehow associated to the oil and gas industry. Check out this short video when a Boeing 747 air craft showed up suddenly at an oil platform...


posted by zaki yamani @ 11:11 PM, , links to this post

General Chemistry Online

I stumbled upon an interesting chemistry site which is useful for chemical engineering students and practicing chemical engineers. General Chemistry Online is put together by Fred Senese at Frostburg State University. The site excels in several areas.

The first is a Common Compound Library. In it, users enter the name of compound and a search engine retrieves data about the molecule, which includes links to PubChem, Webbook and MSDS info. Chime structures and spectra are included where relevant. Second is a section entitled Exam Survival Guide. It provides practice exams and "ten ways to pass your next exam" that will be popular with students (sometimes chemical engineering students have some problem understanding chemistry!).

A glossary covers many of the terms and can be sorted by topic. Last, a set of Construction Kits help students to "build" chemical equations, convert units, and construct ionic compounds. Clearly a labour of love, General Chemistry Online has been around long enough to be called a classic of web education. I highly recommend this informative and resourceful website. Check it out.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:47 PM, , links to this post

Sodium + Water =

If in case you don't know what happen when sodium (Na), group 1 in the periodic table, is mixed with water (H2O), check out the following short videos.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 2:21 AM, links to this post

Becoming an Auditor

I was trained to become an internal auditor at my work place. Yesterday, I was audited two departments (instruction to become auditor was given two weeks earlier): "Consumer Packing Marketing Department" (CPM) and "Shipping Department". I have read both departments procedure manuals and quality objectives earlier. CPM documents are easier to comprehend and digest compared to the confusing terms and definitions for the shipping department. Then I wondered, why did they sent a process engineer like me to audit this shipping department? I knew it was not going to be easy. I don't even have any shipping background. Well, instruction was given and I have to perform the job.

Yesterday, to make things worse, the lead auditor, who happened to be a senior employee, could not join the auditing process, leaving just me and another colleague from account department. In the morning, the two of us headed to the CPM department, began the audit opening meeting and on-site document checking. It took us about 3 hours flipping and checking documents besides asking questions. The audit process when smooth, the auditees were very cooperative and easy going. The CPM department job scope and flow chart is straight forward and easy to understand. After completing the audit process, we prepared the report and conducted the closing meeting. No non-conformance was awarded. We just gave them 3 observations that they need to respond and improve with respect to some minor poor documentation control.

Later in the afternoon, we proceeded to the shipping department and met the auditees (3 person whom happen to be senior executives - 2 versus 3!!!). Deep inside my heart, I already knew that this is not going to be easy simply because I have almost no knowledge on shipping stuff! I just read the quality objectives and manuals but hardly understood them. We began the audit process and I requested for their quality objectives (they have 3 objectives). I asked for the quality objectives but got confused with all the terms, definitions, phrases, concepts etc. There were few quality objectives that they could not achieved, but they have no control of the problems. It were due to some external factors, which again, I barely understood. Then I flipped through some of their documents and checked them. At least, I noticed something that is worth an observation. At the closing meeting, we informed the shipping executives about the only observation discovered and asked them to rectify it.

Oh boy, I was glad that the audit process is over. I felt like a fool auditing the shipping department. However, I took it positively. I knew it was a priceless experience and I managed to learn various activities in CPM and shipping department. At least now, I have a better idea on how those department operates. The experience enriched me become a better auditor, besides my main job - process engineer.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:49 PM, , links to this post

Temperature Instrument Calibration

We Measure Temperatures Where Others Can't


Temperature Instrument Calibration by Simulation Technique

-by Mr.Lua Kheng Leong-

Objective : At the end of the course, participants are expected to:

1. Acquire basic knowledge in using the equipment
Perform calibration independently
Perform necessary calculations include uncertainty estimation based on ISO Guide [according to the model given only]

Target Group :Quality Managers, Technical Managers, Laboratory Managers, Supervisors, Chemist, Engineer, Signatories of test reports & certificates, Laboratories Personnel

Date: 25-26th April 2007
Time: 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
Venue : Pyrometro Academy Sdn. Bhd.
Fee Early Birds: RM999 before 31st March 2007
Fee: RM 1200 per participant.

Pyrometro Academy Sdn. Bhd.

Lot 148, No 2A, Jalan Jurukur U1/19, Hicom Industrial Park, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Tel: 603-5569 1648 Fax: 603-5569 1548 Ext: 201/202

Email: academy@pyrometro.com Website: www.pyrometro.com

Non-Contact Temperature Measurement for Process Industries, Advanced Materials, and Research; Practical Multi-Wavelength Pyrometry

You require an accurate, reproducible pyrometer for research, to assure consistent, quality products, or to develop new products, processes, and diagnostics. All types of radiation pyrometers are available, but which one is right for your application? A brightness pyrometer? A ratio pyrometer? A multi-wavelength pyrometer? How will you know?

Up to now you've had little help in answering these questions. Pyrometer specifications refer to ideal targets. When you've needed to make real-world measurements you've been on your own. What's the emissivity (or the relative emissivity)? Does it change with composition, temperature, processing, or time? Does the environment interfere? If you can't answer these questions, your pyrometer should. If it does not, you must suffer the consequences. To production this means lower yields and poorer quality than expected; to research it means a missed opportunity.

Now there's somewhere to turn. We can solve your temperature problems. Our revolutionary expert system multi-wavelength pyrometer, the SpectroPyrometer, will help you get on the right track quickly.


The novel pyrometer that we developed, patented, and market needs no prior knowledge of the target or environment. It can make do with a fractional, obstructed view of the target. This new instrument has a unique feature — the tolerance — that tells you the accuracy of each temperature determination. This means that you instantly know the quality of your measurement. No other pyrometer can make this claim. With our device we can solve your problem once and for all so you can go on to what you do best.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:10 PM, , links to this post

Pipeline Corrosion

Deep. Remote. Environmentally sensitive. Situation like this make you appreciate Tenaris (a company which provide good pipeline services). Tough challenges call for innovative solutions: New products, continuous upgrades, advance in metallurgy. Offshore is a toughest place to be. Hence, we need the best and the toughest pipeline, a high strength and corrosion resistant which can take the worse of sour service, deep water application in stride. I've been in several offshore platforms, and seriously I saw very bad corrosion taking place due to the rough and salty environment which encourages oxidation process to take place. Pipeline corrosion is one area to maintain and protect.

BP pipeline construction project in Alaska to replace a portion of its pipeline network. The Prudhoe Bay oilfield project was partially shut off due to severe corrosion discovered in the pipeline. Source: Pipeline and Gas Technology

Photos courtesy of ASRC Energy Services Pipeline, Power and Communications Inc.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:38 PM, , links to this post

ISO and HACCP Audit

Yesterday, my plant was internally audited. The auditors checked our International Organization for Standard (ISO) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) documents thoroughly. Few of the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) documents were reviewed as well. It took the auditors 4 hours to go through some of the documents. Besides interviewing me, the auditors interviewed the plant supervisors as well. By having an internal audit like this, we are continuously improving our documentation system. At the closing meeting, we were awarded 3 Non-conformance (NC), for not complying with the ISO and HACCP standard. I'll take appropriate corrective action towards the NC's charged to us.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be an internal auditor to audit two departments in my work place. One must be a trained auditor to carry out an audit. For that, today, I have made early preparation by reading that department's ISO documents. It's quite a new field to me, but at least I'm learning something non-technical from other department's operation and documentation.

An important thing to take note is, whenever, we charge a Non-conformance (NC), we must include a prove and associate the non-compliance with the right clause from the ISO or HACCP standard.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:18 PM, , links to this post

Something to share

I am also from chemical engineering background. In fact, I was in the same class as Zaki, my husband. However, I’ve never entered the industrial world of chemical engineering. Instead, I joined fellow academicians in this field. I am currently an academic staff in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor.

Being an academician, I should have a wide knowledge in this field and I constantly update myself with new information in chemical engineering. Below is an interesting fact included in one of the articles I recently read. It is on oil and gas industry.


The upstream oil and gas industry:

Extracted from “Careers in the Petroleum Industry”, Careers in Oil and Gas, Building a Successful Future, E&P Magazine.

posted by zura @ 9:54 AM, , links to this post

Chemical Engineering Site

I'm developing a website to collect and centralize chemical engineering information and knowledge, news and updates, links and subjects. This will definitely take some time to complete but it is actually a continuous progressive process. I'll keep on updating the site with notes and links that I found useful for chemical engineers. For the time being the website is simple and only few but good contents are available inside it. I welcome any inputs and comments in improving the site. For the time being, you can check out: Chemical Engineering Articles.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 1:35 AM, , links to this post

Going Offshore IV

After receiving the boarding pass, you have to go into a room to watch a safety video. The video will show some safety measures to be taken while being in the helicopter and the offshore platform. After viewing the video, you have to wait to be called to board the helicopter.
Most of the time Sikorsky 76 helicopter will fly you to the offshore platform. If I remembered correctly, I flew with Super Puma one time only and it was a really frightening experience. However, according to my colleague, I didn't look bothered and I was sleeping most of the time, including when the chopper was having some rough time. If only he knew how I felt at that time.

As the helicopter took off, you'll be heading to the sea. Initially it will feel wonderful (especially for first timers) because you get to fly in a helicopter and everything (houses, vehicles, etc.) looks tiny from above. Then, you'll fly above the beautiful blue ocean. It's nice, pleasant and very peaceful. Unfortunately, the beautiful blue ocean scenery remains the same throughout the whole journey and it can be boring. That is why I prefer to sleep after I got enough of the ocean. Normally, after approximately one hour, you'll see a platform and the helicopter will decelerate and descend. You will see the helicopter pad and the Petronas platform's name largely and clearly visible from the helicopter. "Bekok C" was the first offshore platform I visited and it is a gas gathering and processing platform. I'll share my first experience in Bekok C tomorrow.


posted by zaki yamani @ 9:36 PM, , links to this post

Going Offshore III

After knowing your destination (offshore platform), you must go to the helicopter airport and check-in. At the counter, you must present your identity card and your offshore passport to the officer, besides informing your destination platform. The officer will then inspect the documents and check your flight booking made by the Radio Officer (R.O.) from the platform you're going to (you must liaise with that particular platform to do the flight arrangement prior to the departure) in the computer.

If your flight booking made by the R.O. existed in the system, you'll receive the boarding pass. Your luggage will be weighted and it must not exceed certain kgs. The luggage will then be collected and sent directly to the helicopter after an x-ray and thorough inspection have been made. No flammable or explosive materials allowed.

"Sticker Tag" must be attached neatly on your luggage. The tag is important because it shows which platform the bag will go to. You must put on the correct tag in order to make sure that the luggage will arrive at the platform together with you. Some examples: Platform Bekok C will have a tag : "BEC", Platform Dulang B will have a tag : "DLB", Platform Tiong A will have a tag : "TIA". For your information, there are many platforms out there (South China Sea) and you must not make a mistake attaching the tag. In most cases, the luggage will travel in the same helicopter as the passenger.

Mobile phones are also not allowed. You must leave your hand phone behind either by renting a safe box (this service is provided by the airport) or leave it inside your car or ask somebody to keep it for you. I always leave my hand phone inside my car parked at the airport.

To be continued


posted by zaki yamani @ 9:27 PM, , links to this post

Invitation to become ITEX 07 Judge

I received an email from MOSTA Secretariat today about Invitation for ITEX 2007 (18th International Invention Innovation Industrial Deign and Technology Exhibition) Judges.
For your info, ITEX is a very great event where new inventions made by Malaysian's are displayed. Winners from this event will normally represent Malaysia to International Invention which used to be held in Geneva, Switzerland. I have participated in ITEX while doing my Masters in 2000-2002.
Read the following email invitation below.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Hello. On behalf of Malaysian Invention and Design Society ( MINDS), I would like to invite qualified and experienced professionals to the ITEX International Judging Panel.

ITEX, the Malaysia's premier international invention exhibition is a platform for research institutions, scientists and inventors to showcase their ideas and inventions to the world. In recognition of their devotions, ITEX doubles up as a competition where various international awards will be given. This year, we are expecting 500 entries, an increased figure year on year. The entries will be categorized into 22 different categories. The date of judging will be on 18 May 2007.

Hence, I cordially extend this invitation to all who can volunteer their time and expertise in making this a success. If you are interested, kindly respond to this email and SMS to 012-3286433 for further details.

ITEX official website: www.itex.com.my

Thank you.


Myocho Kan

Honorary Secretary, MINDS. www.minds.org.my

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:04 PM, , links to this post

On hold

I am writing on behalf of my husband here. Unfortunately our modem and laptop have been struck by lightning yesterday and now we don't have a means to access the internet at home. Due to that my husband will temporarily not be posting in this blog because that's the only way he acceses the internet (blogging is strictly not allowed in his company). I am writing this from my office because he asked me to. We are truly sorry. He's really down now because he loves blogging so much. We are doing everything we can to handle this. We've called the internet provider and will soon have a replacement for the modem. As for the laptop, thank God it's fixed already.

posted by zura @ 2:46 PM, , links to this post

Lean Manufacturing Seminar

I received a brochure about a seminar entitled "Achieving Excellence in Lean Manufacturing" - "Saving millions with Lean Practices and Quality Leadership for Global Success". The seminar is going to be held in Kuala Lumpur, 23-24 April 2007 at Melia Hotel Jalan Imbi.

You can check out more about this seminar at expitris.com. I have been to a one day Lean system organized in my work place. I learned a lot from it and it's good for everybody in our working environment to learn the concept. Some of the information about Lean Manufacturing System are included below:

Lean Manufacturing:

In this workshop, you obtain a working knowledge of Lean Practices. You come to understand how
these basic concepts increase your throughput and speed your response to changing customer

When you successfully use these techniques, your organization improves safety, quality, delivery,
and cost. You learn how the cross-functional team approach aids to implement Lean Practices and
ultimately leads to a win-win outcome for all.

. Examine and action the critical success factors for
sustained operational efficiency
• Achieve the performance objectives of your
organization and improve value to the customer
• Enhance the responsiveness and effectiveness of
material flow through the demand pipeline
• Drive and achieve quality standards in the face of
increasing market pressures for speed to market
• Forecast market demand accurately to improve
scheduling for production
• Achieve production efficiency through Value Stream
• Manage your workforce effectively for continuous
• Measure manufacturing performance in order to
achieve the desired outcome

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:08 PM, , links to this post

Going Offshore II

Previously, I've explained about some preparation on going offshore. There are actually a lot more to do. After getting the Helicopter Under Water Escape Training" (HUET) certificate and passing the offshore medical check up, you have to make an offshore passport. To obtain an offshore passport, you need to register with an oil company (Examples: Petronas, Shell, Exxon-Mobile, BP etc.). However, it's not that simple to get them. You won't get an offshore passport for fun. You must either be working with the oil company or an oil and gas servicing company which have a job or project in an offshore platform, in order to get the offshore passport. Please bring along 2-3 photos depending on which oil company you're registering.

Without the offshore passport, you are not allowed to work at an offshore platform. Some oil company allow people to visit an offshore platform without an offshore passport for a one day visit only, depending on the importance.

Once you have the passport and a job at an oil platform (you must already know the date when you're supposed to travel to that particular platform), you need to book a seat on a helicopter from the platform's Radio Officer (RO). The RO will then book the flight for you and inform the schedule of the helicopter.

There are a lot more to be shared. To be continued on coming post.


posted by zaki yamani @ 8:57 PM, , links to this post

Going Offshore

I bet some of us have the desire to taste and feel the offshore life. For me, it was simply an unforgettable memorable wonderful experience.

If you want to be working in an offshore platform, you should consider working with an "oil company" (Examples: Petronas, Shell, Exxon-Mobile, BP etc.) OR "oil and gas servicing company" (Examples: Weatherford, Schlumberger, Halliburton etc.). Actually, there are many oil and gas servicing companies out there. The ones that I mentioned above is just a few of the international service companies. I previously work for a small local oil and gas servicing company, specializing in specialty chemical optimization for the oil and gas industry. I must say, I was proud and enjoyed working in the offshore platforms.

Before you can go to any offshore platforms, you must participate and pass a training called "Helicopter Under Water Escape Training" (HUET). The training is normally conducted for three days. One of the modules requires you to escape from a simulated helicopter crashing in water (swimming pool) in various ways. Another module trained you on fire fighting and fire escape. All the trainings are really physical and challenging. Therefore, prior to attending the training which cost about (MYR1400.00), you need to undergo a complete medical check-up specially designed for offshore and marine people.

There are a lot more to be shared. To be continued on coming post.


posted by zaki yamani @ 7:58 PM, , links to this post

Fixing Plate Heat Exchanger Gasket

The following photos are Alfa Laval heat exchanger plates during gasket installation. Learn more about Alfa Laval plate heat exchanger.

Plates are arrange piece by piece after fixing the clip on gasket.

The black clip on gaskets can be seen beside the plates. Clip on gaskets do not need glue to be positioned on the plates.

An overview of the plates. The plates are clean and looks like a new set of plate.

These are the clip on gaskets before they're fixed on the plate.

This plate is not really clean. Can you see the brownish colour on the plate. That is traces of dry oil still sticking on the plate.

This is how a complete set of plate heat exchanger looks like with the plates installed.


posted by zaki yamani @ 9:52 PM, , links to this post

Being Well Informed

As an engineer, one of the most important skills necessary is the art of being well informed. We must always be aware of everything that is going on inside our zone and our area of responsibility. We don’t want to be the last to know about any occurrence. We don’t want to be alerted about any problem by our superior. If that happens, it simply means that we are not carrying our job as an excellent engineer and care the least about our responsibilities.

Sometimes it makes us look better if we pretend to know about the problem in front of our boss when asked. However, the cover up must be good and we better get the answer right. I remembered when I started working few years back, my boss asked me about the status of our shell and tube heat exchanger cleaning in progress (CIP), and I answered him. That time, I pretended to know what he was asking and answered him, hoping that my answer was OK. Unfortunately, he scolded me and said to my face that I don’t know what I was talking about. Then he went away, obviously pissed off with me. Since then, I tried to know and learn as fast as possible. I must always be ready and able to answer any questions thrown to me by my boss.


posted by zaki yamani @ 12:19 AM, , links to this post

Heat Transfer Formulas

Download this very handy heat transfer Facts and Formulas. Print it and put in your folder or paste it on the wall. Get it HERE. I've printed and laminated one for myself.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:39 PM, , links to this post

High-Temperature Heat-Transfer-Fluid Systems

I came across an interesting article from Che.com newsletter. The article caught my attention because it discusses about high-temperature heat-transfer fluid system which is relevant to my plant and work.

Just sharing, the flow of temperature increase in my plant:

1. From feed storage tank
2. Steam heating (50oC) >>
3. Plate Heat Exchanger
(105oC) >>
4. Plate heat exchanger
(220oC) >>
5. Shell and tube heat exchanger (245oC) >>
6. Oil heater (265oC) >>
7. Plate heat exchanger (180oC) >>

8. Plate heat exchanger
(125oC) >>

9. Plate heat exchanger (75oC)
10. To product storage tank

The blue
Plate heat exchanger and red Plate heat exchanger, shows the same heat exchanger exchanging heat between colder oil and hotter oil.

Shell and tube, and oil heater are able to heat up the oil above 240oC because it uses a closed system steam circulation from a high pressure boiler operating at pressure above 40oC.

Summary of the article from Che.com newsletter:

Fluid selection, system design and maintenance are the keys to achieving the best performance

By Krishnan Sahasranaman - Uhde India Ltd.

Although water and steam are the ideal media for heat transfer, there are often situations when other heat-transfer fluids are called upon to perform this function in the chemical process industries (CPI). Thus there are, at the very high-temperature end, various types of heat-transfer fluids, such as molten salts and even molten metals. At the lower end of the temperature scale we have various proprietary and non-proprietary brines, usually glycols of one kind or the other. Between these two temperature extremes, a variety of heat-transfer fluids are also available. For this discussion, the focus will be on high-temperature heat-transfer fluids; those having useful bulk-fluid-operating temperatures of approximately 70–400°C.

For high-temperature operation, heat-transfer-fluid systems have distinct advantages when compared to steam or direct-fired heating. For example, using steam for process heating to temperatures in excess of 225°C would require steam pressures upwards of 40 bars. For the same application, the use of a heat-transfer-fluid system would thus eliminate the need for costly high-pressure equipment and piping, expensive boiler-feed-water treatment, and specially trained boiler operators. And compared to direct-fired heating, the use of heat-transfer fluids allows the heater to be safely located away from the process and reduces the danger of forming hot spots in the process itself.

An engineer likely to be involved with high-temperature heat-transfer fluids should be familiar with the types of fluids available, and how to choose among them. It is also important to be aware of the design guidelines for the components of a heat-transfer-fluid system, and the problems that can arise with them.

Read this article and the entire newsletter HERE.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:50 PM, , links to this post

Sketch Drawing

Understanding a PID diagram might be tough for beginner. However, after knowing the symbols and other basic drawing information, you can get hold of it. I've seen a lot's of drawing. I'm also upgrading and improving my plant's drawing (in process).

The photos I include here are drawings/sketch of piping connected to few heat exchangers from two plants. It's just a simple fast drawing prepared by my supervisor for us to understand the piping layout connected to some plate heat exchangers. Looking at the original diagram, it's quite difficult to comprehend. I have to apply some colours to have better visualization of the layout.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:12 PM, , links to this post

Leaking Pipeline

There are few things we need to know about our pipeline and our plant process. Pipelines are very important to transfer fluid (eg. oil and water), gas (natural gas and steam), or solid (bleaching earth and other powder form solid). Selecting the right pipeline material, right sizing, right schedule is imperative in ensuring smooth and perfect production operation. Sometimes, we have to be very careful, because, though we have selected the correct material, size and schedule, but unfortunately the supplier cheated and supplied defective pipeline unrealized by us. As a result, the pipeline does not last long as expected. Crack appears and progressively developed into a bigger crack and hole. If oil is moving with some pressure in the pipeline, we can immediately detect the leaking oil when it dropped. It is very clear and if the leak is big, it will be very messy and dirty situation. What if the pipeline is a vacuum line? We can't see anything. We can only detect pressure vacuum dropped in the in the control system via the pressure transmitter installed in the line.

This 12" pipeline has some very small leak that affected the vacuum pressure. The leaking points were covered by another piece of metal to block the holes. However, it still leak (indicated by the yellow sign). Why we cannot weld this line? Explanation can be found below.
Similarly, this 12" SS316 line also has some tiny pin hole which is very hard to see by naked eye. It's impossible to weld the hole because the pipeline is running under vacuum. Any spark will be sucked into the system and will create fire and explosion.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:53 PM, , links to this post

Partially Blocked Pipeline

This is one of the reason a plant shutdown is important. This pipeline is partially blocked with spent earth mixed with gum. During plant shutdown and maintenance, we can clear and clean the line.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:43 PM, , links to this post

Latest Jobs Available for Chemical Engineers

Following are some chemical engineering based jobs that JobStreet.com sent to me regularly. You can check out the job listed below (Southern Malaysia and Singapore area). If you're somewhere in India, Singapore, Philippine, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam, you can log into Jobstreet.com because they cover those areas as well. If you're in USA, you can check out the chemical engineering jobs listed on the right column of this site, provided by Indeed.com.

Manufacturing Engineer
- Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd - Woodlands - Singapore

Process Engineers - Venture Technocom Systems Sdn Bhd - Johor Bahru - Johor

Development Engineer (Japanese MNC-Tuas) - Achieve Career Consultant Pte Ltd - Tuas - Singapore

Sales Engineer - IMZ Sdn Bhd - Johor Bahru - Johor

R&D Engineers - Process (NPI) - Venture Technocom Systems Sdn Bhd - Johor Bahru - Johor

Software Quality Engineer - Flextronics Technology (M) Sdn. Bhd - Senai, Across Malaysia

Wafer Sourcing Engineer - HP - Singapore

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:47 AM, , links to this post

Pipeline and Gas Technology Magazine

This is one of my favorite free and informative magazine. It is delivered to me every month. You can subscribe it free too. You can learn and be updated with new pipeline and gas technology which is normally in the oil and gas field. Check out the magazine below.
Check out Pipeline and Gas Technology Website HERE
Subscribe Pipeline and Gas Technology HERE


posted by zaki yamani @ 9:34 PM, , links to this post

Do I Enjoy My Job?

I received an interesting question (which is this post's topic) from anonymous in the comment area in my previous post. I shall answer them based on my current (oil and fats industry). In future post, I shall reveal what I feel being in the oil and gas industry.

In the oil and fats industry, I take care (with a senior colleague) of a big physical refining plant processing the likes of palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil. There are also fractionation, hydrogenation, effluent, neutralizing, acidulation, packing and shortening plants. It's a huge responsibility to take care of a big plant.

I like

- It's enriching. I learn, practice and enjoy it. A lot of unit operations, process control and instrumentation. Some fluid mechanics and other subjects as well. I enjoy the learning curve.
Everyday, I will always learn new stuff. New interesting chemical engineering knowledge and practical experiences too.

- I can be the expert in certain fields. I'm gradually establishing myself in certain areas like heat exchangers/transfer, cooling tower, process control, control system, etc. There's a lot.

- Fantastic bonus and increment.


- Sometimes there are too much job to be done. Huge responsibility. Must be 24 hours alert of the production/operation (because I'm under production dept.)

- When something goes wrong in the plant, and the production target is not met, I have to answer my boss.

- I don't like too many meetings. Either with my superior or supplier. A few meetings are OK.

- One problem is I live very far from my working place. It's basically geographic problem. The distance in between is 50 km. Therefore, I've to travel at least about 100 km daily.

- Managing manpower/down line is another challenging tasks. This requires good communication and social skills. I'm still learning and improving myself in this area.

Bottom line, there'll be some pro and cons in our job. For the time being, I'll continue serving my present employee and I'll still enjoy exploring and learning.

Check out my related posts to this subject "Some Comparisons of My Jobs"


posted by zaki yamani @ 8:46 PM, , links to this post

Another Tragedy

Year 2007 started with a tragedy of me getting hurt during the shutdown. Last wednesday another tragedy occurred. I had a massive car accident. I'll write about it later. I'm too drained and tired. The whole story is in my wife's blog.


posted by zaki yamani @ 5:11 PM, , links to this post

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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