3D scanning offers a solution for critical timeline replacement

To ensure a quick replacement of installation parts, you want to be certain in advance that the new part can be seamlessly integrated. When in doubt whether the dimensions of the old and new part are the same, a 3D scan provides the solution.

Identical Replacement of Scrubber
At one of the tank parks at Chemelot, a so-called scrubber needed replacing. “This device ensures that gas is stripped of certain substances, so that the exhaust gases comply with the norms,” explains Maintenance Manager Joëll Stassen. “A new scrubber was ordered based on the old drawings combined with measurements in the factory. For the continuity of the loading activities, the replacement time needed to be as short as possible.”

3D Scan for Exact Dimensional Comparison
After the new scrubber was delivered, there was doubt about whether its dimensions were identical to the old one. “Due to the critical timeline of the replacement, our colleagues from Maintenance wanted to be sure of this in advance,” says Marco Jasper, 3D Engineer at Sitech Plant Information. “That’s why they came to us with the request to make a 3D scan of both devices and compare them. Based on the 3D scans, we created a model of both the old and the new scrubber. When we overlaid the models, it turned out that there were indeed differences of several centimeters at the flange connections.”

Less Time, Costs Recouped
Guidance & Control Technician W Matthy Duisings was involved in the execution. “Because we noticed in advance that a few crucial connections were not right, we could respond to this in time. By loosening the piping, the difference could be compensated. This approach allowed the replacement to take place over one weekend and the cost of the 3D scans was more than recouped. Had we discovered during the execution that the flange connections of the new scrubber did not fit, we could not have welded and grinded without making new WGDA’s. In that case, the rebuilding would have taken more time.”

Added Value in the Engineering Phase
3D scanning also has added value in the engineering phase. Matthy Duisings: “We recently did a project where new electrical cable trays had to be laid. By scanning the factory at the places where we wanted the cable trays, we found that adjustments in the engineering were necessary. Had we discovered this later, we would have been deep into the winter. Due to the low temperature, you can then no longer pull electrical cables. So here too, good preparation saved time.”

Future of 3D Scanning
“The demand for our 3D scanning services is increasing,” confirms Marco Jasper. “We recently scanned parts at a customer’s site that will be dismantled in a few years. In the future, I expect that we will scan entire factories and put them in the cloud, so that everyone can access them for maintenance.” Joëll Stassen adds: “As far as I’m concerned, documentation about factory parts will also be linked to it, so that planners can go through the digital factory to gather information for, for example, work preparation and scaffolding construction.”

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