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Electromach in Brazil

(by our Senior Field Engineer in Brazil, Jan Willem Gerdingh)

From his first 'field job' Electromach’s new Field Service Engineer, Jan Willem Gerdingh, has kept a travelogue. This is his story:

It has been almost 5 weeks since Electromach colleague, René Mikkers, and I boarded the plane towards Brazil. My first trip in that direction and also my first field job for Electromach. René will support me how to act with ATEX installations, the specialization of Electromach, and I will support René with the PLC control and communication with various monitoring and control systems from other vendors.

Electromachs new Senior Field Service Engineer

A brief introduction of myself:

As a Senior Field Service Engineer I will mainly deal with the testing and commissioning of the systems which the System Solutions department designs and builds. Originally I am a mechanical engineer, but in the past years I have focused my activities on control systems and everything related to it. I have spent my professional career mainly in the field, nationally but more often internationally.

The project in Brazil

It is a big project at the Petrobras refinery (at the REPAR site). The company Thomassen Howden Compressors from Rheden has supplied 10 compressors for compressing hydrogen for desulfurization of diesel to several refineries.

Since hydrogen is a highly explosive substance, Electromach supplies the explosion protected junction boxes, local control panels and cabinets.

The REPAR site is just outside Curitiba. It concerns the construction of a new refinery and about 14,000 employees are assigned to the project. All this people are transported with many buses, every day. The main contractor has build a small village on site (Village do Conpar) with a huge canteen where thousands of employees enjoy a hot meal every day.

There are several office buildings on site for anyone who has anything to do with the project (we also get our own office space assigned). All these buildings are by definition temporary. If the project is completed, most buildings will be demolished.

Also Jan Willem and René get their own office space

The project, in terms of Howden Thomassen Compressors (HTC) and Electromach, consists of 4 compressors in two separate buildings, two HTC C35 and two C85.4 machines. The latter two are in the final stage of electrical installation and thus the operations of the contractors can be inspected. This is why Electromach is on site: cables, cable glands, junction boxes, etc. must comply with the ATEX regulations. Parallel all kinds of piping and utilities work is executed. All the systems have to meet the high demands. The final pressure of the compressor is about 143 bar, so leaks from welding or connectors can not be afforded.

An initial inspection shows that there is some additional work for the contractors when it comes to ATEX regulations. However, most of the cables are connected, so the control panel in the sub-room can be switched on. We focus particularly on the communication modules and redundant PLC.

Testing of the I/O (loop checks) can begin and the communication with the DCS (Distributed Control System), Bently Nevada (health monitoring system for the compressor), Hoerbiger (capacity control), MCC (Motor Control Centre) etc . can be tested.

The control panel of Electromach receives and transmits data and/or hard-wired signals from all systems and provides not only the basic control of the compressor. It also serves as "Data Hub" for various systems.

The installations are inspected

Due to the revised planning I’m not in Brazil any more when the machine will be started-up for the first time. For me, the first 5 weeks are coming to an end. In these first 5 weeks I have gained much experience with the systems Electromach designs, builds and eventually, in cooperation with various suppliers of systems for this sector, takes into operation. I’ll probably be travelling again back to Brazil soon, as at least another five of these compressors have to be put into service.