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12. Paperless safety lifecycle at the R.STAHL Plant & Engineering Center

30 January 2018

Stefan Hack - Business Development Manager, R.STAHL. 
Weds 15.30 – 16.10: Seminar room

For the protection of people, the environment and the plants themselves, the process industry uses different kinds of safety systems in its plants. To ensure the functionality of these systems, maintenance is required. Plant operators are obliged to perform inspections, evaluate the results and archive the protocols. These inspections lead to a huge amount of effort for all affected people due to many different issues.

Inspection plans and intervals vary deeply depending on the kind of equipment, the legal basis and the standards that are taken into account. Safety systems concerning process control engineering have to fulfil a certain safety integrity level (SIL) and are considered as safety integrated systems (SIS). This determines the proof-test interval according to IEC 61508, with the scope of the test itself dependent on the equipment type.

Another big effort lies in providing equipment data and in filing the inspection protocols. To perform inspections, data from different fragmented IT systems is required. The design of the safety system is the result of a risk analysis in the beginning of the plant lifecycle. CAE-systems are used to create flow diagrams and equipment registers.

The Plant & Engineering Center offers a modern application that comes with a holistic approach to optimise periodic inspections and to make life easier for all the people involved. Its three modules – PEC-EX, PEC-FS and PEC SQ – provide paperless inspections for hazardous area equipment, for safety instrumented systems and for all other required inspections concerning operational safety and quality.

Instead of replacing the established CAE-, ERP and document management systems, PEC can be connected to them with automatically, bidirectional interfaces. This provides a high data quality, reduces data errors and saves a lot of time by offering the possibility to interact with all three systems through one application.

Within PEC-EX, inspection plans can be generated automatically. PEC-FS and PEC-SQ provide an inspection plan generator, which enables its users to work with individual inspection plans for each equipment that can contain standardised, reusable test blocks. An integrated Scheduler helps to keep track of deadlines. Inspection results can be evaluated to make sure standards can be met.

By offering an app for Android and Windows based tablets, PEC greatly reduces the amount of time spent on performing inspections. Protocols can be signed electronically and archived directly in PEC as well as being transferred to document management systems.

PEC is currently in use at several plants in the Niederrhein area of Germany and has already proven that it can help to save time, to be fully compliant with standards and to help improve data inspection quality.

After studying for a bachelor and a masters degree in industrial engineering, Stefan Hack worked at the University of Applied Sciences Jena, Germany, as a research assistant in the fields of software engineering and explosion protection. In the context of explosion protection, he worked on product development as well as solutions to manage the inspections of ex-equipment.

In 2017, he joined R. STAHL to work on the management of safety systems, especially explosion protection and functional safety. He is now working with companies from the chemical industry to optimise the documentation and inspections of their plants’ safety systems.

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