Rotating equipment like pumps, turbines or compressors often constitute the very core of a plant. These machines run 24 hours, seven days a week. Bilfinger offers its customers in the process industry a comprehensive, worry-free package for rotating equipment that includes everything from experienced technicians and engineers to one-stop services and loanable equipment.
“The requirements of the process industry tend to be extremely high where the productivity and availability of rotating equipment are concerned,” explains Bernardo Sequeira, responsible for business development in Europe at Bilfinger’s Rotating Equipment service field. “It’s all about striking the right balance: The machines must be operated in an economically efficient fashion, but not at the expense of their availability.”
This is why the Bilfinger services cover the entire lifecycle of rotating equipment: From manufacturer-independent consulting to maintenance, repair and ongoing optimization.
Sequeira sees a strong demand for services in this field, given that today, many enterprises lack the technical knowledge their rotating equipment requires: “We are able to close this gap. Bilfinger’s advantage over the service personnel of the OEMs is that our specialists have cross-manufacturer expertise and are independent.” In the region of Continental Europe alone, Bilfinger currently deploys roughly 500 experienced technicians and engineers to serve its customers in the chemical & petrochemical industry and oil & gas industry.
A large rental pool for different equipment
Along with these manufacturer-independent services, Bilfinger customers can take advantage of a rental pool comprising 20,000 pieces of equipment. The ability to rent pumps, electric motors or frequency inverters allows them to save the investment costs that would be required to purchase these systems. If the rented equipment should fail, Bilfinger will ensure that it is quickly and conveniently exchanged with a replacement from the pool – often in a matter of hours, depending on the location.
The Value Performance Contract offers additional benefits: Customers are given an availability guarantee for a fixed price, along with contractually assured, progressive reductions of the maintenance costs. Sequeira points out the model’s benefits: “We provide our customers with optimal equipment for their requirements while also offering ancillary services. Usage, engineering, repair and maintenance – it’s all included. Essentially, it’s a comprehensive, worry-free package.”
Optimizations throughout the entire lifecycle
When it comes to optimizing pump operations, energy efficiency is key: 80 percent of the lifecycle costs of many pump systems are attributable to energy consumption. Yet up to 60 percent of these costs can be saved, given that pumps are often placed into service at sub-optimal operating locations. As Sequeira explains it, “In addition to analyzing the pump itself, our technicians also check its installation as well as the plant systems upstream and downstream of the pump. In the process, we draw on Bilfinger’s decades of experience in the process industry. This means we are able to identify areas with potential for improvement and to directly perform the optimizations should our customer so wish.”
The services for all types of rotating equipment also make due allowance for the innovations associated with the Industry 4.0 concept. Here, the most important aspect is predictive maintenance. Sequeira explains how this works based on one of Bilfinger’s current contracts: “We’re already successfully performing prescriptive maintenance by measuring bearing vibrations, for example at a hydroelectric power plant. Before, the plant’s turbine bearings would just fail, resulting in unexpected downtimes and causing huge production losses. So we analyzed and evaluated the data volumes stored by the installed vibration-measurement sensors, which documented these failures. Now, when certain vibrations drift outside of the target range, this will trigger a signal instructing maintenance personnel to replace the bearings. This allows the operator to intervene in a timely manner and to avert impending damage.”
In one specific application scenario, Bilfinger deployed cognitive sensors in the pumping systems. They allow unusual operating noises to be evaluated, traced back to their cause, and remedied as needed through appropriate measures. Such condition-based maintenance thus serves as an additional way to prevent unexpected pump failures.
An international network
As a globally active industrial services provider, Bilfinger is able to provide targeted solutions addressing the needs of its international customers. A network of technicians and engineers spanning the entire corporate group allows the various Bilfinger companies to assist one another and to regularly exchange their know-how and their experience with local requirements and peculiarities. For example, pumps are one of the focal points in Germany, while in Norway turbomachines have a greater role to play. When all is said and done, however, the customer needs to hire only one service provider: Bilfinger will see to it that everything runs smoothly, without regard to national borders.