In 2002, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a company known for its experience and achievements in many plant construction projects both in Japan and abroad, introduced Tekla Structures software to achieve a higher level of efficiency in work processes from design to fabrication. Particularly with plant construction projects in Japan, MHI has been striving to improve the efficiency of the design and fabrication processes in cooperation with steel frame fabricators.
In 2006, MHI concluded a contract on participating in a coal-fired power plant construction project in the Republic of Chile, South America, in which EDYCE, the largest steel frame fabricator in Chile, was to supply the steel frames. The two companies are successfully conducting this cross-national plant construction project by making use of Tekla Structures.
Overcoming communication barriers of time difference, distance and nationality
The Power Systems Headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) conducts engineering, manufacturing, construction and installation of a variety of power system products, including diesel engines, for the power generation, industrial, marine and consumer sectors. In recent years the company has strengthened its commitment to new themes such as energy saving, oil alternatives and new energy sources as well as environmental preservation.
The coal-fired power plant, constructed for Empresa Electrica Guacolda S.A. (a power generation and transmission company in Chile), is currently under construction in Huasco, located about 700 km north of Santiago, the capital of Chile. The plant is being built with components such as boilers, steam turbines, generators and condensers. The entire plant, including the steel structures for supporting the boilers and coal bunkers, requires 2,226 tons of steel. The planning for this project started in February 2007, the naming and numbering rules for drawings and component numbers were agreed upon between MHI and EDYCE in June, fabrication drawings were completed in July, and construction began in January 2008. The plant commissioning is scheduled for September 2009.
Chile, the project location, is located diametrically opposite to Japan on the globe. Time difference, geographical distance and language barriers could be great hindrances to the smooth exchange of information required in the course of the design and fabrication processes, as well as for the management of such processes. In view of this, MHI decided to make use of Tekla Structures to store and manage information on all processes from design to fabrication using a single 3D model. By doing so, MHI ensured consistency of information between the engineering site in Japan and the fabrication site in Chile, successfully preventing inconsistencies and corrections in the design and fabrication processes.
Improved communications and data consistency in design and fabrication
The construction of this large coal-fired power plant, with a total generation capacity of 152,000 kilowatts, involved design activities in Japan and fabrication activities in Chile. Differences
in time, language and manufacturing procedures between Japan and Chile were expected to have a great impact on the efficiency and quality of all work processes in the project. Higher complexities in the process of information exchange and negotiations, which had to be frequently repeated among the designers, drawing producers and steel frame fabricators during the construction project, could have caused various inconsistencies in the fabrication process.
The aim of using Tekla Structures for 3D modeling was to eliminate such problems. By using Tekla Structures as a common platform for storing all design information and using the 3D model like “a common language with sophisticated features”, MHI and EDYCE were able to achieve significant improvement in interprocess communications among the designers, fabricators and process control personnel, realizing unitary control over all the information on the plant construction, as well as over all work processes in the project.
Tekla Structures allows designers to build a 3D model while defining the materials, dimensions and positions of structural components, and to store all engineering information in the 3D model. Since the drawings, component lists and other data are automatically generated from the 3D model, Tekla Structures successfully prevents various inconsistencies that may arise from variations in the styles of producing drawings or in the interpretation of descriptions in the drawings among the designers, drawing producers and steel frame fabricators. Furthermore, the 3D model not only enables easy representation of the whole picture of the building but also allows progress into the next step of the work while maintaining all the information attached to pipes and structural components in the model.
Linkage with structural analysis and MRP software
In the Huasco coal-fired power plant construction project, MHI, in charge of designing and drawing preparation, achieved significant improvement in engineering efficiency by combining Tekla Structures with STAAD Pro. By making use of the linkage between Tekla Structures and STAAD Pro. in the initial design phase, MHI was able to transfer data on load, boundary conditions and so forth, improving engineering efficiency by applying a consistent engineering approach to all processes from structural analysis to preparation of fabrication drawings. Since this enabled maximum incorporation of data on modifications during the planning phase, the time spent on the work processes between planning and structural analysis was shortened.
Furthermore, due to the exchangeability of high-precision data with PDS, MHI successfully achieved unitary control over all information on the entire plant. EDYCE, in charge of fabrication, was able to pursue advanced automation by combining Tekla Structures with FabTrol. The company converted numerical data on each component into DSTV-format data for feeding to the manufacturing tools. While this required high-precision data on component details, the company achieved significant improvement in fabrication control efficiency by outputting numerical data on each component as an NC file.