An Owner/Operator Perspective

Handover remains one of the biggest challenges for owners and operators.

Once a new or upgraded plant is deemed ready for production, owners and operators need to start ramping up production to “nameplate” levels. This takes considerable time and effort, as engineering and construction firms need to hand over the plant and related documentation, and operators need to be trained on its unique components and characteristics.

Typically, the biggest bottleneck in the handover and ramp-up process is the transfer of information from the engineering and construction firm to your operations and maintenance teams. A $1 billion plant – which is not huge by today’s standards – may have a million associated documents that must be handed over and detail the as-built design and the thousands of different physical objects (such as pipes, valves, pumps, compressors and instruments) used in its construction. Moreover, the information comes in many formats because it is created by different vendors using potentially hundreds of different proprietary tools and data standards.

Because of the lack of integration and interoperability between these systems, owners receive much of this information as paper documents and digital files that must be manually inputted – and in many cases, “translated” into data values that make sense for their own operation and maintenance systems. This is typically a slow, costly, and error-ridden process. Much of the information received may not even be relevant to operating the plant, and the process of identifying, converting, and entering the data required to operate the plant often takes months to complete. And all of this work must be done before the plant can be productive, which impacts revenues and return on investment.

ISO 15926 is a universal data standard that vastly simplifies – and accelerates – data sharing.

ISO 15926 is intended to solve this data interoperability problem for the industry – permanently. Much like the interoperability solutions adopted by the automobile and airline industries, which streamlined their respective supply chains, this universal data standard is being adopted by EPCs, equipment suppliers, software vendors, and owner/operators so that everyone involved in the supply chain for large capital projects has a universal way of defining and exchanging data over the network.

Once all of the players can “talk the same talk,” everyone will have streamlined data movements throughout the infrastructure asset supply chain. Asset owners and operators will be able to receive plant data at handovers in a form that they can quickly flow into their operational and maintenance systems to accelerate plant production to design levels.

What will this look like – and how will you benefit?

When your EPC hands over project data that follows the ISO 15926 standard, no one will have to give data handovers any thought. Project participants will be able to focus on executing your design. Any information exchanges during the design process – for example, between EPC contractors and equipment suppliers – will be easier. Construction planning will be able to start earlier and be kept up to date more easily.

And once a project is complete, you’ll receive comprehensive electronic data about your assets in a form that’s indexed to equipment and in a form that your asset-related software can readily consume. In addition, with broad adoption of ISO 15926, you’ll benefit by being able to:

  • Have lifetime data availability with complete access to historic engineering and asset data – and more easily manage and update this information electronically across the life of the plant
  • Simplify procurement and lower costs by eliminating paper processes and automating repetitive tasks through use of reliable, electronic B2B transactions across a network
  • Be free of lock-ins to proprietary hardware or software, or to any single supplier for modifications or facilities management
  • Gain access to plant information that will reduce “dead time” in design and maintenance, bring plants on-line quicker, reduce asset downtime, and lower asset maintenance costs
  • Decrease “wrench time” because workers spend less time looking for information
  • Improve worker safety by centralizing information about maintenance procedures, equipment hazards, and hazardous substances and making it readily accessible
  • Ensure information about design changes and modifications are instantly available for maintenance
  • Load information into new software more quickly and easily
  • Eliminate integration problems resulting from changes in organizational boundaries
  • Enforce effective ways of maintaining mandatory plant records

What you can do to get started?

As an owner/operator, you are in a unique position to accelerate adoption of the ISO 15926 standard across your infrastructure asset supply chain. To start, require that your software suppliers deliver systems that are compliant with ISO 15926. When you aren’t limited to a proprietary format or a particular software vendor to ensure interoperability, you can select the best tool for the job, which increases agility and reduces unnecessary expenses in software purchases, training, and infrastructure support. It also enables you to use more data effectively across the life cycle of an asset, leading to safer plants for people and the environment. And you’ll enjoy greater business agility.

You can also require the EPC designing and constructing your facility to deliver project and asset data in an ISO 15926-compliant format. Doing so will encourage the EPC to require design firms and equipment suppliers they work with to follow suit. And finally, you can encourage the use of iRING solutions among peers and vendors to accelerate interoperability and development activities.