How to handle brownfield projects more effectively – a digital refresh project at Eskom’s Matimba Power Station

In an ideal owner operator world, engineering information is fully integrated, managed, and maintained through the engineering work processes from the very beginning with strict management of change in place. In short, a trusted source of information for plant operations is available at all times.

CoverIn reality, many operators, as is the case for South Africa’s Eskom, manage plants that have been operating for 20 – 30 years, long before digitalization played a role at all. Most of the original engineering information was delivered in paper form, posing significant challenges to the efficient execution of operations, maintenance, and reliability work processes. This led to Eskom embarking on a special digital plant refresh proof-of-concept project for its Matimba Power Station, the world’s largest dry-cooled power station.  

The project was executed jointly by Accenture for the analysis and processing of documents, Leica Geosystems for laser scanning creation of photo realistic TruViews and Intergraph Process, Power & Marine/Intergraph South Africa for use of SmartPlant Fusion, the solution for capturing, organizing, linking, and visualizing large volumes of engineering data and documents.

The files and TruView images collected in the above first two steps were rapidly loaded into SmartPlant Fusion. Based on user-defined rules and templates, files were organized into a single, structured environment with rapid search and intuitive navigation. All files in SmartPlant Fusion are linked back to the originals, so no changes were made to original files or their storage locations.

With all the files now easily accessible, SmartPlant Fusion identifies copies and offers utilities to allow users to identify the master file that best represents the current plant configuration. Laser scans are referenced via TruView side-by-side with the drawings and documents, in many cases eliminating the need for a plant walk-down.

Once the masters have been identified, SmartPlant Fusion examines the contents of each file, extracts intelligence, and establishes further links and cross references to create a single point of access to all engineering documentation.

In brief

At the end of a four-week project, the document and data scenario for the scoped area at Matimba had changed significantly:

  • The documents that were previously stored in multiple silos were now integrated and linked
  • Information that was formerly locked within the documents was now accessible and searchable
  • Plant documentation could now be viewed and accessed via a photorealistic image of the plant

 Interested in more details? Take a look at the full case study here.