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LUBRIZOL - Lay-Out CHECK &                                           OPTIMIZATION

Direct Savings: US$ 50,000 (1% EPCM contract value)

Losses Avoided: US$ 200,000 (4% EPCM contract value)

Other:    - Project Inertia

              + Lay-out Quality

              + Productivity

              + "Look-ahead"

              - Re-work

              + Responsiveness

              + Schedule Adherence



LUBRIZOL was founded in 1928 and today is a Berkshire Hathaway company, controlled by the North-American mega-investor Warren Buffet. LUBRIZOL produces high-technology chemical specialties which are essential to the fabrication of hundreds of costumer products. With a main office in US (Wickliffe, OH), LUBRIZOL has annual revenues of U$S6.4Billion, sell its products across more than 100 countries and employs 7500 workers.

In the beginning of 2014, LUBRIZOL decided to move on with an ambitious expansion project of its Belford Roxo Plant (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) that would add an entire industrial unity to the existing park in only 08 months. For this they hired as EPCM their traditional E&C partner the Australian company WorleyParsons.

To stand for the challenge WorleyParsons would have to reduce the engineering schedule by almost 50%. Basic engineering had to be approved in record time and there would be no time for FEED or any re-work at the detailed engineering. In a highly competitive market for small-scale projects, with shrinking margins, accelerating the project through additional personnel was out of question. It would be necessary something entirely new and revolutionary.

Invited to participate in the project, IATEC Plant Solutions thoroughly examined all available information and pointed that the first weeks of the project would be decisive for contract success, and all efforts should fall on the following areas:

  • Accelerate and increase the precision of lay-out analysis (extend the "look ahead" as far as possible);;

  • Eliminate the inertia and increase productivity at the piping team;

  • Being able to rapidly adapt to third-party changes (basic engineering and/or vendor).

In contact with its partners, IATEC Plant Solutions identified a tool capable of handling this challenge, the PDMS PIPE-ROUTER developed by ASD GLOBAL, specialist in intelligent systems.

However, the tool alone would not be able to tackle the whole challenge. It would be necessary an intense work of implementation, tests, and integration of the tool to the work process, what was in charge of IATEC Plant Solutions which counted on technical support from ASD GLOBAL and its representative in Brazil NA Tecnologia.



Initially, a very basic PDMS model was created based on the basic lay-out supplied by the client, containing only equipments, structures and reserved areas. This basic model needed to be simple enough to easily accommodate subsequent changes in the lay-out if required.















Simultaneously, line-lists and equipment lists were adapted to be inputs to the ASD PDMS PIPE-ROUTER. At this point, many TO/FROM inconsistencies were found and immediately corrected by the process team.














Once ready, those 2 inputs were loaded in the ASD PDMS PIPE-ROUTER and the first run was tried. The system created an optimal arrangement for all its 200 pipelines in approximately 10 minutes, work that would take at least 160 hours if carried by a experienced piping designer.  Of course, a small amount of pipelines could have been modeled in less time, however this way the "look ahead" of the project would be severely reduced hurting the ability of the piping team to anticipate lay-out problems and even though a considerable amount of time would be required.


Right at the first run several critical problems in the lay-out were detected. The amount of pipe-racks was severely underestimated and as a result the ground space available to the project was not compatible with client´s desired operational capacity.
















If ASD PIPE-ROUTER have not been used it would take at least 1 month to confront such incompatibility, wasting precious working hours and straining relations with the client.

Several adjustments in the processing capacity, in the process itself and in the lay-out were submitted to ASD PIPE-ROUTER until a optimal arrangement was reached within space limitations.


While lay-out adjustments were under discussion, the level of detailing information supplied to the ASD PDMS PIPE-ROUTER was progressively incremented. Information regarding valves, instruments, minimum straight lenghts and typical arragements were also loaded. Specific piping project criteria such as preferential paths, supporting points, piping stress parameters and material cost were also loaded increasing substantially the quality of the lay-out and of the piping arrangements calculated by the system.

In the end, different from the first run were pipelines were basically routed at level 1 (point to point routing), in the final runs pipelines were already found at level 2 (routed with elements) and thus ready for being checked (adjusted if necessary) and approved.




The result of IATEC Plant Solutions work impressed both LUBRIZOL and WorleyParsons. The combination of a well configured tool + correct work methodology not only reduced in 50% the time spent in lay-out design but also increased precision to a level that drastically reduced any re-work possibility. The piping design work advanced twice as fast than usual, even counting with less designers than forecasted. Many important engineering decisions that could take time to show up were anticipated eliminating the risk that such late adjustments escalated along the schedule. 


In general terms, IATEC Plant Solutions participation in the project represented direct savings of +US$50.000 (1% contract value) in PDMS licenses and man-hours. Not to mention the indirect savings arising of the losses avoided which depending on many factors could mount to -US$200.000 (4% contract value) in additional PDMS licenses, engineering re-work hours and stalled construction.

However, the most important result still is the reputational gain of achieving the deadlines and quality required which will allow LUBRIZOL and WorleyParsons to keep on doing business and extend their partnership for a long time and IATEC Plant Solutions is proud of being part of this challenge.