IHAWK UNLOCKS FULL PROJECT VISIBILITY AT SHELL PENNSYLVANIA CHEMICALS
In June 2016, Shell took the final investment decision to construct a world-scale petrochemicals manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The plant will consist of an ethylene cracker and three polyethylene derivatives units. In November 2017, Shell completed an extensive site preparation program and the multi-billion-dollar project entered the main construction phase. Commercial production is estimated to begin sometime in the next couple of years. The plant will use locally sourced ethane from the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene each year. Polyethylene is used in many everyday products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components. The facility is being built on the banks of the Ohio River in Potter Township, Beaver County, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north-west of Pittsburgh. The plant is strategically positioned close to both feedstock and the customer base. More than 70% of the North American industrial polyethylene demand originates in the North-East, within a 1,100 kilometer (700-mile) radius of Pittsburgh. The plant’s Pennsylvania location offers the customers a short, dependable supply chain. The project’s scale is impressive with 300 miles of pipe, more than 1,600 items of manufactured equipment (the largest lift – 1,400 metric tons), and 294 pre-assembled modules. The construction workforce reached its peak in 2019 and into early 2020 with up to 8,500 workers on site, including more than 30 contracting companies. 600 permanent jobs will be created after the project is complete.
Due to the intense level of construction activity, careful planning and constant information sharing have been critical in maintaining project schedules. Managing Pennsylvania’s largest construction project for decades has demanded new ways of working, and state-of-the-art tools to facilitate them. As the project team discovered in 2017, some of the demanded functionality did not exist in the marketplace at the time and had to be innovated. The project team needed a digital approach to manage the flow of information in this construction project, to make informed decisions, develop and adjust execution plans, stay on top of progress and costs, ensure quality, and above all, keep people safe. The team sought to contextualize multiple layers of information in an interactive, map-based platform taking the digitalization to the next level, enabling full progress visibility, operational efficiency, and stakeholder communication at all levels.
“Since the introduction of iHawk to the project back in 2017, we have seen an exponential increase in the usage of the GIS information across critical execution activities such as field engineering, site coordination, environmental monitoring, construction management, and workforce planning, materials management and many others." View the PDF Version of this Case Study
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In 2017 Shell Polymers selected Cyberhawk’s iHawk visualization platform as the foundation digital tool for managing the construction site. The two companies started to collaborate to develop a set of unique, differentiating capabilities to meet a wide range of challenges that the project team was facing.
iHawk, a cloud-based, IoT-enabled visualization interface, enables a community of 700 active users from Shell and 40+ execution contractors to work off the same baseline – in the office, in the field on mobile devices, and remotely. 45 interactive, touch-enabled screens have been deployed around the construction and in the future operation team’s offices, in meeting rooms and to collaboration areas. Everyone on the team has a direct, on the spot access to iHawk. The easily accessible smart screens foster collaboration and teamwork and have made iHawk an integral part of all planning and coordination meetings on the project.
Today iHawk combines visual data gathered by the UAVs (drones), ground 360 cameras with data from a myriad of field sensors and IoT devices enabling real-time equipment location tracking and performance monitoring, locating construction materials across five laydown areas using RFID technology, and more into a single visual interface for site planners, contractors and executives. According to the Shell IT director on the project, “iHawk has become an inseparable part of what we do, it is now part of the landscape for Pennsylvania Chemicals, and for all future Shell projects.”
Visual data management is not limited to drone imagery. Site inspection imagery, for example, taken in large volumes by quality inspectors and construction engineers, is notoriously difficult to gather, catalog, and manage centrally. On this project, Shell and Cyberhawk developed a simple self-service workflow for this kind of content to be captured, uploaded, linked to an equipment tag and assigned keywords in a few clicks, or screen taps on a mobile device. The images can then be instantly shared across the project team, for example, to report the need for remediation action.
The Site Master Plan module was developed in response to the needs of the main EPC contractor managing the site. The joint owner and EPC project management team relies on the high-resolution GIS data, developed from drone imagery, and enriched with layers of contextualized information, to plan heavy equipment moves and oversized deliveries, organize equipment staging, and to manage congested laydown area space across the busy 380-acre construction site.
Historically difficult to manage offline with Gannt charts, space planning clashes and constraints can be instantly detected and resolved in a visual domain. The ability to assign a physical area for a specific task and purpose, assign a responsible individual, and publish this information to the stakeholders, is crucial. Not only does iHawk put hundreds of real estate assignments on the timeline and make them visible to everyone on the team, but it also helps to drive personal accountability for the success of every task.
The team uses iHawk to track the position and usage of construction equipment – in this case, the dozens of heavy cranes deployed across the site by seamlessly integrating industry-leading IoT solutions.
The cranes are fitted with vibration sensors that report uptime and other telemetry data, which is aggregated in iHawk for interpretation and analysis, helping the area managers to derive the most value from the investment in the equipment.
The collection of site imagery captured over time by 360-degree ground cameras and by drones has contributed to countless progress and cost reviews with the major contractors and subcontractors, making them factual, evidence-based, and ultimately transparent and fair.
iHawk empowers cross-functional teams to hold each other accountable every day, generating significant value. The monthly cumulative usage of the portal approaches 10,000 hours, exceeding the most optimistic targets and expectations. It is estimated, that every hour of iHawk’s usage translates in the equivalent, often even greater, efficiency gains in the field.
The FindAll module was developed to address one of the most significant challenges inherent to large, complex projects – finding the relevant information quickly. FindAll reaches across multiple databases and information sources, historically disparate, to locate and retrieve engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning documentation and data, up to 90% quicker than some of the traditional methods and tools, saving 3-5 minutes per search. Up to 50,000 searches are performed each month.
iHawk is a modular system that integrates with a wide spectrum of business and real-time systems via low-cost low-maintenance APIs. Amid 20 integration options available already, with the option to quickly deliver additional interfaces as the customer needs evolve, iHawk is strategically positioned in the heart of the IT architecture of this and future projects.
Commenting on the success of the project, Dmitry Gurevich, IT director Pennsylvania Chemicals at Shell, said:
“In the early days of the execution phase, we chose Cyberhawk to be our drone content management partner amid a rigorous competitive evaluation process, concluding that it was best in class solution for the needs of a multi-billion construction megaproject. The depth of knowledge and expertise the iHawk development team has, enabled Cyberhawk to provide a near real-time response to the evolving, challenging functional requirements, that the project team continues to come up against.
“Since the introduction of iHawk to the project back in 2017, we have seen an exponential increase in the usage of the GIS information across critical execution activities such as field engineering, site coordination, environmental monitoring, construction management, and workforce planning, materials management and many others.
“iHawk has enabled a digital revolution across the owner’s team and the contractor community. We see iHawk as a tool that offers opportunities for safety improvements through increased efficiency and improved visualization prior to work activities.
“The data collected throughout the execution phase is a resourceful legacy that will continue to empower the asset operations team for the entire plant-life.”
“It is exciting to see the platform has grown so much in capability in such a short period of time. We look forward to continuing our journey together with Cyberhawk. The strength of the team behind iHawk was the deciding factor that enabled Shell to install iHawk as the global standard for the project and asset visualization”
Cyberhawk is providing long term support for the construction of a multi-billion dollar expansion project in Central Asia, providing drone-captured site data which is allowing the client to monitor construction progress.
CYBERHAWK CONDUCTS FIRST INSPECTION IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
SectorOil Gas & Petrochemical
Cyberhawk was selected based on our previous track record working with this client around the globe, including the UK, Norway and the USA. The client recognised the safety benefits of using UAVs, which remove the need to erect scaffolding and work at height, and are up to four times faster than traditional visual inspection methods, negating the need to shut down production.
This project marked Cyberhawk’s first UAV inspection in the Caribbean energy sector and several further mobilisations are planned for 2018.
The client was extremely impressed not only with the UAV inspection itself, but also with the high level of quality and detail of Cyberhawk’s engineering reports. They were also impressed with Cyberhawk’s cloud based asset management software, iHawk, which provides digitisation of inspection findings. This allows effective management of large volumes of data, better planning of maintenance and a collaborative platform for multiple stakeholders.
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Cyberhawk was approached by a major thermal power generation company in the UK to conduct a non-intrusive, close visual inspection of one of its thermal power stations, including all elevations and roofs.
WORLD FIRST ASME CODE INSPECTION AT A US NUCLEAR PLANT
Although drones have previously been utilised in the nuclear industry this was the first time a drone has been used by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) according to the Section XI Code. The Code refers to several American Concrete Institute standards for completing an examination and this inspection has been recognised within the nuclear industry as a best practice based on these standards. Cyberhawk has built a strong reputation for conducting UAV structural inspections in hazardous industrial environments, where safety is paramount, which saw the team become the preferred provider for this challenging scope of work. UAV inspection was also favoured to provide accurate data as it meant minimal risk to personnel, versus the working at height issues associated with conventional inspection and access techniques.
Moreover, the level of detail obtainable from traditional inspection methods is nowhere near what was achieved with UAV technology, capturing images of 100% of the dome surface to the ASME code standard with the results digitised into a 3D point cloud, that will allow direct digital comparison for any future inspections. Work was completed quickly, efficiently and according to the ASME code examination requirements, with an experienced pilot and inspection engineer working around the plant’s scheduled projects, without causing any interference. Furthermore, the magnetic interference of the nuclear plant meant that GPS signal was non-existent, so the whole project had to be flown by the pilot completely manually to conduct a safe inspection.
The alternative method of inspection would have involved using a man basket with a huge crane, which could take up to a week just to set up. In contrast, it took just one week for Cyberhawk to inspect both domes using UAVs, and generated cost savings of 300%.
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It’s important to remember that drones collect a huge volume of data, however a high-quality engineering report can make all the difference. This allows the client to easily assess the condition of the structure and plan any maintenance based on the data. The final reports provided 100% visual coverage of the dome with exact sizing of defects and a 3D model of the structure. This was delivered to AEP through Cyberhawk’s cloud based iHawk visual asset management system.
As a UAV company that has extensive experience within multiple projects and sectors, Cyberhawk’s pilots and engineers have a varied and very experienced skillset. This allows them to successfully undertake projects of challenging nature, that no one has attempted before.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT AND WHAT AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER THOUGHT OF THE RESULTS IN INSIDE UNMANNED SYSTEMS MAGAZINE.
Cyberhawk was tasked by an oil and gas supermajor to carry out full internal inspections of 12 cargo oil tanks (COT) and two slop tanks, situated on tankers travelling between Alaska and Los Angeles, using data collected with drones.
INTERNAL INSPECTION OF 14 CARGO OIL TANKS IN USA
SectorOil Gas & Petrochemical
The project, carried out by a two-man team, saw Cyberhawk examine the quality of the entire internal surface of all 14 tanks in only seven days. Typically, this type of inspection is conducted using a technique called rafting. Rafting involves filling the tank being inspected with water, allowing the ship surveyor to use a raft or dinghy to view critical inspection areas of the tank, inaccessible from the tank floor. Rafting creates a large volume of oil-contaminated water which has to be decanted from the vessel at a port that can handle such waste. Using a UAV eliminated the generation of oil-contaminated water and the safety risks associated with rafting. UAVs were chosen as the preferred method of inspection primarily to reduce the safety risk posed to personnel working at height, as well as to save time. Cyberhawk was the first company ever to complete an internal inspection using UAVs and has worked in multiple environments and projects since the launch of this service.
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This technique allowed Cyberhawk to quickly and efficiently undertake a safe audit of the structure, which in turn meant the client could prioritise further contact inspection or maintenance work. The US coastguard (USCG) and a class certification body was there to witness the inspection as Cyberhawk was the only UAV inspection company that met the standards they set.
Utilising an internal UAV, Cyberhawk successfully completed the workscope delivering high quality inspection reports which enabled the client to understand the tank’s condition. The client reported the project was carried out efficiently, saving them standby time at the port, with over a million pounds in cost savings.
Cyberhawk was tasked by Siemens Gamesa to carry out close visual inspections of wind turbine blades located at the Clyde Windfarm in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Cyberhawk was selected to conduct the inspections thanks to our well-established track record, high quality results and framework agreement with Siemens Gamesa.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CHIMNEY INSPECTION IN WASHINGTON STATE, US
During the inspection, the stack’s downstream system was offline and open to the environment during turnaround maintenance activities. This allowed air ingress into the stack, creating vortexes inside the confined space, creating a very challenging environment in which to fly the drone. Furthermore low light, and the added challenge of zero GPS signal inside the stack, meant Cyberhawk’s pilots had to work with an extremely high level of precision during the inspection to ensure a successful end result.
Traditionally, this type of inspection is conducted using a manned basket attached to a large mobile crane, with a technician in the basket lowered into the internal part of the stack. Using this method would have incurred significantly higher costs. In addition, the crane would restrict other work activities in the refinery during a turnaround, creating a negative impact on timescales and potentially extending the shutdown.
UAVs were chosen as the preferred method of inspection primarily to reduce safety risk posed to personnel working at height, as well as the challenges associated with working in confined spaces.
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Cyberhawk’s solution not only mitigated the risks associated with confined space and working at height, but also provided a detailed inspection report on the condition of the asset. This allowed the client to prioritise maintenance decisions and thus minimise costs. Finally, there was minimal disruption to other work activities in the refinery during the drone operations.
Thanks to the skill and ability of Cyberhawk’s pilots, the inspection of the critical components was successfully completed within two days. This compares with rope access which would usually take weeks to complete the same workscope.
GULF OF MEXICO FLARE INSPECTION
SectorOil Gas & Petrochemical
Cyberhawk was chosen due to its international track record, working with oil and gas supermajors for over eight years. An experienced team of two from Cyberhawk, including a flare inspection engineer and oil and gas qualified inspection pilot, was mobilised to undertake the work and spent two days offshore. However, the actual inspection took only four hours proving, once more, how fast and effective UAV inspections can be. The team managed to complete the project under extreme wind conditions, flying in 25 knot winds.
Alternative methods such as rope access or scaffolding would have taken weeks to complete, required a shutdown of the facility and would have presented significant dangers to personnel, such as working at height. In this case, it would also have been extremely dangerous to inspect this asset using rope access as the UAV captured data showed that the platform around the flare and the handrails were in very poor condition. Alternatively, a helicopter inspection would have been three to four times more expensive.
Cyberhawk recently completed an offshore project for assets previously owned by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. The workscope involved the close visual inspection of a 10-year-old flare stack while live and operational, on one of the largest spar platforms in the world.
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The detailed inspection report showed that the flare was in good condition, despite being in use for over 10 years. This helped the client to understand the status of deterioration, and avoid unnecessary maintenance costs.
Oil and gas supermajor, Shell, called upon Cyberhawk to conduct a live flare inspection at Moerdijk, one of the Netherland’s largest chemical plants. The site extends over 250 Ha and produces 4.5 million tonnes of product per year. The work scope involved the close visual inspection of an 80m high flare stack, while live and operational.
NORTH AMERICA OFFSHORE INSPECTION FOR OIL AND GAS SUPERMAJOR
SectorOil Gas & Petrochemical
The multiple workscope saw Cyberhawk inspect the live flare, the platform underdeck and the roof of the giant concrete gravity base, and conduct numerous thermal surveys in order to maximise the mobilisation.
Using UAVs for the inspection was deemed the safest and most efficient method. Due to the short weather windows available, the speed of UAV inspection and the ability to capture large amounts of data in a short time presented a significant advantage, while reducing safety risks posed to personnel in the notoriously hazardous, foggy conditions present offshore.
Cyberhawk was approached by one of the world’s largest oil and gas supermajors to complete an offshore UAV inspection in North America.
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Traditionally inspections of this nature would be complete by rope access, or if using scaffolding take months when considering set up and dismantling.
Cyberhawk successfully completed inspections over the course of two weeks, proving the speed and efficiency of UAV inspections and reinforcing that the technology can produce exceptional results in the harshest of offshore environments.
INTERNAL REFINERY INSPECTION FOR OIL AND GAS SUPERMAJOR
SectorOil Gas & Petrochemical
The purpose of the inspection was to understand how the coke had deposited in the reactor before cleaning so that process models could be verified or otherwise.
The nature of this project meant it was too dangerous to send in personnel to carry out the inspection, therefore Cyberhawk’s confined space inspection drones were deemed the safest option, as they mitigate the requirement for personnel to physically enter the coker.
Cyberhawk was asked by one of the world’s largest oil and gas supermajors to carry out an internal inspection of a coker unit at one of its refineries in the United States.
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The coker’s environment presented a whole host of operational challenges to the Cyberhawk team. A built up coker absorbs light which affects the pilot’s line of sight – not only is it extremely dusty but there is also a high risk that the UAV could become trapped.
Cyberhawk’s previous success of working within confined spaces, along with the highly skilled pilots employed, saw the team emerge as the preferred provider for this difficult workscope.
Utilising Cyberhawk’s UAVs meant engineers were able assess the condition of the asset prior to de-coking which had not been previously possible by human entry due to the potential hazard of falling slabs of coke and resulted in the project being successfully completed in just one day.