In this article, we looked at delivering capability and the major shift in the approach of many process companies to performing maintenance and upgrades of electrical process control systems at their plants.
Today, many manufacturers do not have enough electrical engineers or instrument technicians available internally. Consequently, they can face difficulties in keeping their equipment and plant operational.
The issue can become particularly acute when staff take holidays or are away from work due to illness. Furthermore, should there be a regulatory audit, for example, the pressure on engineers (even the whole company) ramps up accordingly. Having just enough staff available to keep the plant running can expose a severe lack of capacity when there are periods of increased activity. For example, when carrying out regular maintenance works during shutdown periods. This can be especially true if the shutdown includes a project to upgrade/replace old equipment or build new plant.
Being focused on the existing plant, in-house staff can find it challenging to stay up to date with newer technologies. As a result, they might miss opportunities and benefits. New ideas and new kit are increasingly designed to deliver more centralised control. These ideas could, in turn, allow for more efficient running of the automated systems with fewer people.
End to End Support
In recent years, Denca has become increasingly aware that the Scopes we are provided with for quotation purposes are often not as detailed as they used to be. Sometimes there is no scope at all. Consequently, Denca engineers spend time speaking with the customers’ staff and managers building up an understanding of what the customer wants their project to deliver. We can then scope and quote the project which Denca then delivers.
To assist in this process Denca has made a significant investment to extend the qualifications, experience and aptitude of our staff to enable us to offer support right from the outset. We can work with a customer to establish their requirements in order to achieve their objectives. Denca’s experience lends itself to advising engineers and managers alike.
Denca’s advice extends not just equipment alternatives. We also consider the planning, timing and staging of each step of a project according to budgets and needs.
New Technologies Bring Benefits
New technologies are available that deliver insight into what is happening on a production line in real time with data being available on a laptop or portable device. Denca has designed and installed several Business Energy Management Systems in recent years. These systems check and monitor energy use on an ongoing basis. This is but a first step in a system capable of providing information instantly, in real time.
Manufacturers can identify efficiency improvements, differences in shift performances and pinpoint opportunities for best practice across manufacturing processes. Analysis can focus either on individual process stages or look at the whole production system. For example, scheduling processes with high energy demand to operate off-peak helps a company become more cost competitive. These ideas also help to narrow the productivity gap with our overseas competitors.
Denca has carefully assembled a capable and competent team of nearly 100 engineers that work together with customers site engineers and managers to deliver quality technical solutions. They are experienced in designing and installing modern automation systems – including BEMS and beyond. Denca is geared for the future and the new levels of support our customers will expect and demand.
Practical In-House Development
In preparation for the future, Denca continues with its internal apprenticeship and postgraduate programmes.
Currently we have 5 apprentices working their way through our carefully thought out scheme with two new apprentices due to start in September. In addition, Denca employs 3 postgraduate trainees.
This total of 10 trainees represents 10% of our workforce. Each trainee will benefit not just from achieving a nationally recognised NVQ qualification such as BTEC or HND/HNC, but also the real-world training and hands-on, practical experience we give our young colleagues supervised by our experienced engineers.
Naturally, Denca demands competency, aptitude and professionalism above all from its staff. The next generation of professional engineers is on its way down Denca’s own production line.