Large-scale metrology for oil industry production

Introduction of dedicated metrology tools brings quality and efficiency improvements

Situated approximately 15 kilometres south of Singapore in a free-trade-zone on Batam Island, Profab has for 20 years been building a reputation as a leading producer of large-scale parts for the global oil industry. A part of National Oilwell Varco since 2015, the company manufactures everything from subsea structures, turrets and wellhead platforms to mooring systems and pressure vessels.

Nov-Profab-Batam-Case-Study_4This level of large-scale construction involves a host of complex industrial processes, including rolling, cutting, assembly, welding, cladding and weld overlay, post-weld heat treatment, painting and coating, loadout support, hydrostatic testing, fitting, packing and sea fastening.

Ensuring client projects are completed properly at the first attempt is a core goal at Profab, requiring the employment of the latest technology and equipment and a highly trained team. Their 27 500 square metre workshop was purposedesigned to provide the most efficient fabrication lines by minimising handling interference within the production process. Profab can handle the production of equipment weighing in at up to 4000 tons, which can be loaded out directly onto barges via a roll-on-roll-off system using selfpropelled modular transporter trailers.

The manufacture of pressure vessels and mooring systems are key areas where accuracy is becoming more and more critical for Profab. A key example of this was in the creation of the Sergipe floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), where precisely measuring the angles, position and length of the umbilical support structure was of great importance, with measurement essential in the reporting and positioning of adaptor plates.
Being able to get an in-or-out-oftolerance check on the spot has been a game changer in terms of increasing efficiency.The accuracy requirements for such tasks are at the submillimetre level for the machined parts, which was beyond the capabilities of the quality assurance equipment previously employed in Batam. It was clear that something more was needed to satisfy these requirements.

Nov-Profab-Batam-Case-Study_1“We did consider a High-Definition Surveying system, but with accuracy at just about two-to-three millimetres, such a solution was just not workable for us,” said Mr Rajesh Moehamad, Quality Control Manager at Profab. “Some of our customers require better accuracy than this, even for very big parts.”

After consultation with a Hexagon representative, it was clear that the Leica Absolute Tracker AT403 delivered a range of features and capabilities that perfectly aligned with Profab’s production needs in Batam.

“For sure accuracy is one reason,” said Mr Moehamad. “The weight and the size are also an important consideration, because the system is required to move around the plant frequently.”

“The big measurement radius of 160m is another vital factor that distinguished the AT403 from competitor products, as the measurement system has to be placed far away from construction on our site to have a line-of-sight to the top of the object.” The AT403 is one of the few metrology-grade measurement devices in the world to offer such a large measurement volume.

Nov-Profab-Batam-Case-Study_6It was more than just the hardware that sold Profab on the importance of introducing Hexagon equipment into their production processes: it was the integration of this hardware with leading metrology-focused software that is widely-used across the world in high-standard quality assurance.

“Compared with a Total Station, the AT403 used in conjunction with SpatialAnalyzer Pro allows for much faster data processing and the delivery of immediate results,” said Mr Moehamad. “Previously, measuring the adapter plate and calculating the deviation took up to half a day! Being able to get an in-or-out-of-tolerance check on the spot has been a game changer in terms of increasing efficiency.”

Since 2017, Profab have employed a Leica Absolute Tracker AT403, paired with a Leica B-Probe and Leica Break Resistant Reflectors, powered by the SpatialAnalyzer Pro software platform. They have received “very close support”, including training, from representatives of Hexagon based in Singapore.

The AT403 and its accessories have become central quality control tools at Profab, and will only grow in importance as more and more Profab’s customers recognise the value, both in productivity and quality, of high-accuracy production. Nov-Profab-Batam-Case-Study_3