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Improving efficiency with calibration workshop solution

01 October 2008

Calibration is very important for the largest private sector company in India. Reliance Industries has been able to improve product quality and plant efficiency

Reliance Industries is a Fortune Global 500 company and the largest private sector company in India, with
businesses in the textile, petrochemical, refining, oil and gas, energy and materials value chain.

Calibration is very important and one of the success factors at the company’s Patalganga operation. According to Ranjan Bhattacharya, who is vice president of instrumentation at Patalganga ‘it ensures that the endproduct has high quality, as it is process control that ultimately determines the quality of the products produced’.

Calibration must also meet the plant’s ISO9001, 14001, 18001 requirements. Overall, calibration requirements are considered high, as they need to meet the traceability requirements of quality for final products and governing bodies.

In total, the Patalganga plant has around 20,000 instruments. Process parameters mostly calibrated include
pressure, flow and temperature. The Patalganga plant follows a calibration plan that determines the calibration frequency of each instrument.

Keyur Vora, general manager of instrumentation (PTA & PX) at the Patalganga plant explained: “The calibration frequency of most instruments is between one and three years. According to criticality, instruments are classified into three categories that determine the calibration frequency: vital, essential, and desirable. For the instruments classified as vital, the calibration frequency is one year. Some critical instruments, such as analysers, are calibrated as much as once a week.”

Approximately 30% of the installations are calibrated per year; these include mainly switches and gauges. Because calibration is considered a critical task at the Patalganga plant, its own engineers and technicians perform all calibrations. Calibrations have not, therefore, been outsourced to external service companies. They are performed in workshops and out in the field, and the results are entered and documented into SAP maintenance management system.

Reliance Industries decided to invest in calibration equipment. The number-one criterion for choosing their
calibration equipment was accuracy. The stability of accuracy is the second most important issue. Other aspects included the flexibility of calibration by choosing appropriate master instruments to meet Reliance’s day-to-day needs, as well as service support for recalibrating the master instruments.

“The task was to search, choose and install a top-of-theline calibration system that would ultimately work as a reference to other plants. Ideally, a similar system could be used in other Reliance Industries plants as well,” Bhattacharya remarked.

The Patalganga plant has been utilising several Beamex MCS100 Workstations for the last three years. Once installed and in use, the results have been very convincing and provided the opportunity to substantially improve the efficiency of calibration operations. The average time it takes to do one pressure calibration has dropped from two hours to 30 minutes using the Beamex MCS100 system, Vora and Bhattacharya affirm. This means that the calibration time required per pressure calibration has been
reduced by 75%. The automated calibration functionality of the Beamex MCS100 makes this possible. Performing calibrations is fast and efficient. In addition to this, the system is user-friendly and convenient, which means that no intensive training or unnecessary high skills is needed to operate the system. This is another way of achieving costsavings.

The overall experience with the Beamex system has been very good at the Patalganga unit in several plants. Still, there is always room for continuous improvement. That is one of the principles that have made Reliance Industries Limited a powerful corporation in the world. The future trends and requirements in terms of calibration at the Patalganga plant involve even higher accuracy instruments and maintaining the traceability, smart digital instruments with advanced features, as well as the need to automate and simplify all calibration procedures and tasks.

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