Piping & Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)

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P-ID scanned
Industry: Manufacturing – Chemical Plant

Project Overview
Recent laboratory findings suggest that product from a distillation column within a manufacturing unit, though slightly off spec, is within the acceptable production range for end user consumption.  Though it is no cause for immediate concern, if left unresolved the off spec product could easily escalate into a larger issue forcing the entire unit to temporarily shut down.  Shutting down the column would not only adversely affect daily production goals (and ultimately profit), but would also directly impact the production of other units dependent on its product as a source of raw materials for its production.  A Process Engineer is needed to examine pressure (P), volume (V) and temperature (T) data to pinpoint the source within the unit leading to the column’s off spec product.


Process Work Scope
As the lead Process Engineer for this particular unit, I requested laboratory data from the distillation column’s samples for the past month.  My first task was to figure out the exact date and time when the sample began to show increased concentrations in percentage of byproduct.  Once I had that date and time, I entered that information into an Excel spreadsheet.  Next, I exported PVT data from the process’ control system, added it to the data in the spreadsheet, and created an x-y chart to investigate potential areas of correlation.  I noticed the date that a low pressure alarm continuously activated but would be ignored since it did not reach the control’s threshold for immediate troubleshooting.  This coincided with the date that the column’s sample became off spec.  This information enabled me to tell the unit’s Technicians to isolate the line by shutting off the valves leading to and from it and run product temporarily through a bypass line.  I then went to the unit’s master copy of Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) and placed a redline cloud around the area to be addressed.

Next, I coordinated a date and time with the unit’s Supervisor to assign Technicians to access the now isolated pipeline.  We noticed extreme corrosion on the pipe’s inner wall.  I then initiated a project to replace the pipeline within 60 days and assembled a cross-functional team to include myself as the Process Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, several Technicians, the unit’s Accountant and Piping Fabrication Vendor.


Once the Mechanical Engineer designed the new pipeline, I recorded the dimensions and materials information onto the marked P&ID and accompanied the redline with a note in the legend area.  Afterwards, I included this information into a Request for Quote (RFQ), submitted it to several Piping Vendors and made a final selection based on the Accountant’s budget figures.  When the new pipeline arrived, the Electrical Engineer worked in the unit’s control room to monitor the alarm system and other electrical controls as the Technicians worked to replace the pipeline.  The pipeline was replaced within 45 days and successfully tested by the 60 day deadline.  The project was completed with zero injuries and zero downtime while meeting the daily production goal.


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