Contributing Re.engineer: Millicent Gilmore
Challenge: Sometimes, when a solution is needed, engineers can run towards the Cadillac when a Corolla will do! In my experience, improvements start with ideas but the ability to implement those ideas, tend to be driven by budget. This is why I advise the engineers who work for me to use Apollo Root Cause and when they are working on a sustainable engineering project, offer an ideal and a practical solution. When I say practical, I mean what can you do right now to achieve the goal using little to no money at all. Recently, there was a need to improve how we manage key fobs. There were elaborate ideas and some really simple ideas that were painful to manage. Key fobs had been getting misplaced or taken home mistakenly, leaving the site unable to restart our coater machines. It’s a new Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) safety project that has been implemented but no one realized that the keys would become an issue. Some of the ideas were to use a vending machine, RFID tags, using a sign in and out form with supervisors managing this from their offices while the key box was next to the coater, etc.
Solution: I asked everyone to think of our processes surrounding the coater and the access to the keys. Instead of making something new, let’s try to use something we have in a new way, even modify it if need be. The brainstorming session started to go downhill so I laid the following out of them:
What can we do with what we have to ensure no one leaves the building with a fob key in their pocket?
I’ve decided that the answer is to make it impossible to leave with a fob key. So the I.D. cards we use to gain entry and exit to our site can be used to stop anyone with a fob key from exiting by always sound the security alarm and preventing the gate from opening. Just takes programming and using what we already have in place. Those cards affixed to the fob keys will be programmed to always refuse exit and sound the alarm. Great way to manage the keys without spending much money!
Results: We have eliminated downtime altogether from fob keys…we usually have over 28 hours of downtime each month and one hour of missed production costs the site $20k, yes $20k! So were are saving $560k monthly!!
Impact: $560,000 per month
Challenge: The owner of a community center needed support in closing the gap on a $6.5MM capital project that was approaching three years of construction. In the first two years, the project had only progressed 30% and additional funding would be needed if the project continued to slip on its completion date.
Solution: Develop a Capital Project Methodology (CPM) to provide a standard method for scoping, design and construction of the new asset, which included not not limited to, detailed design reviews, weekly construction meetings and a change order work process. The CPM enabled a better partnership with the general contractor an design architect which also addressed he schedule delays for 30+ independent subcontractors.
Results: Project managed by General Contractor, 2 years at 30% completion; Project managed by General Contractor with support of CPM 8 months at 100% completion.
Impact: $1+ million
Contributing Re.engineer: Kate Scarcella
Challenge: The Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Plant in Ashalim, Israel has, as of April 2019, started commercial operations. this first of a kind unit is powered by 51m tall Solar Receiver Steam Generator which sits atop a concrete tower to create the world's tallest Concentrated Solar Power Tower. While similar units were assembled piece by piece on top of an existing tower, the height and technical difficulty of this design made that implementation impractical.
Solution: To meet the challenge, the SRSG was built at ground level while the tower and the rest of the plant were built alongside it. It then slid along rails into the tower and lifted to its final height, creating the massive 251m tall structure. Being the first of a kind design and the part of the project that was perceived as the largest risk from a technology standpoint, this Engineering team had a challenge ahead of it to meet the project schedule requirements, during both the design and construction phases. By creating a culture of collaboration, transparency, and personal ownership, the SRSG team was able to successfully navigate many technical issues which lead to a solid design and smooth construction and commissioning phases.
Results: The relationships and personal responsibility that were forged during the design phase carried over into site support, even with a 7-hour time difference, allowing the site team to work hand-in-hand with Engineering in the United States to resolve issues as they came up. In the end, the SRSG was ready early as compared to the rest of the plant and operates with a high level of performance, in many ways, exceeding the expectations of the original design concept.