De Smet Relies on SmartPlant® in Alternative Fuel Quest

With the growing demand for alternative fuels, DSEC must complete user-ready projects in a limited amount of time and with a pre-defined budget. The Belgium-based engineering company selected Intergraph's SmartPlant Enterprise family of products to meet this challenge.

The Challenge

De Smet S.A. Engineers & Contractors (DSEC) works on global turnkey projects involving the alternative fuel industry. With 150 employees, Belgium-based DSEC holds a project portfolio of about US$600 million.

The engineering company serves two primary markets: the sugar and bioethanol industry and the edible oil and biodiesel industry. For the sugar and bioethanol industry, DSEC performs its own process detail engineering.

With the growing demand for alternative fuels, DSEC faces the challenge of completing turnkey projects in a limited amount of time and with a pre-defined budget. That requires flexibility and precise planning.

The Solution

DSEC selected Intergraph’s SmartPlant® Enterprise family of products to meet these challenges.

In an effort to reduce erection costs and construction time, DSEC has its piping work pre-assembled, sometimes completed at great distance from the actual plant site, which creates another set of challenges.

"We felt that with Intergraph®, we could benefit from efficient and responsive technical support for software implementation," said Bernard Nokerman, project manager for DSEC. "We were also very interested in the integration of SmartPlant 3D with SmartPlant P&ID."

DSEC selected several products from the SmartPlant Enterprise suite for their project needs, including:

  • SmartPlant 3D
  • SmartPlant P&ID
  • SmartPlant Basic Integrator
  • SmartPlant Review
  • SmartPlant Explorer

The company’s primary objective was to improve productivity using software that was easy to use and that could easily import data from subcontractors. DSEC also wanted reliable software that would be supported in the future. The ability to share the software outside DSEC’s main office was also important.

DSEC implemented SmartPlant P&ID to use for schematics. That was followed by the implementation of SmartPlant 3D to improve productivity and offer the ability to integrate with third party products.

SmartPlant P&ID is knowledge-driven engineering software for creating intelligent piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). SmartPlant 3D is a complementary, full-suite solution that provides all the capabilities needed to design a plant and keep it as-built throughout its life cycle.

Using SmartPlant Enterprise, DSEC manages several projects in production including about 650 pieces of equipment and 3,500 pipelines distributed among 15 main process buildings. All implemented licenses are used on a daily basis and distributed concurrently.

Nokerman said the main reasons for choosing Intergraph solutions were:

  • The ability to seamlessly integrate data between SmartPlant P&ID and SmartPlant 3D
  • Importing and exporting documents in common formats (SAT, DWG, XLS)
  • Quality of technical support
  • Ease of training

But he is confident that the company will meet its objectives in terms of productivity improvements.

"In the future, we expect faster startup on projects based on currently developed backgrounds, including equipment models, specifications and working procedures,"Nokerman said.

Intergraph France was closely involved in the startup process, including training and piping specification creation. No data migration was required since DSEC started on a clean slate. Internal knowledge was used for data development, with only a few subcontractors’ models directly imported.

The time it took to begin initial production with Intergraph software was very brief. DSEC wanted to get started with projects quickly, so the software was used out-of-the-box without any customization.

"Employee training was completed in a matter of days instead of weeks," said Nokerman. "The Intergraph team showed superior knowledge, and their quick response time always surpassed our expectations," he said.

DSEC plans to evaluate SmartPlant Instrumentation for future usage. Depending on its workload, the company may also expand the number of users.

"We expect to use SmartPlant Enterprise’s worksharing capabilities where needed," said Nokerman. "The next step for us will be to improve and set up the collaboration process between our civil works and structural departments and related external engineering subcontractors with a relay to the workshops."

With DSEC expecting to meet its objectives using Intergraph solutions, Nokerman said that companies in similar situations should consider working with Intergraph to solve their own production problems.

"Independent of software implementation and user training," said Nokerman, "it is very valuable to invest in a well thought-out setup of working procedures in collaboration with Intergraph experts."