Petrochemical companies must identify every weld seam and all associated data so they can demonstrate compliance and offer traceability in the event of a weld failure. The
effort to accomplish this task used to take days. Now, as one company found out, it can take just a few clicks.
Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, Braskem is the largest petrochemical company in Latin America, the eighth largest worldwide and serves customers in more than 70 countries. The growth and internationalization strategy supported by innovation has made Braskem an industry giant. To continue to grow, the company looks for new ways to streamline and monitor its many operations. It supports technology and innovation to achieve sustainable development, so using cloud-based applications to manage weld quality, procedures and documentation fits well with its core strategy.
Although welding is not a main activity at Braskem, the company’s sheer size and the equipment it uses command a lot of attention be paid to welding. As such, Braskem employs a team of welding engineers and inspectors to monitor its processes as well as maintenance companies in the area to provide additional welding services. From the welding procedure specifications (WPS), the procedure qualification record (PQR) up to the actual weld and non-destructive testing (NDT), the company and its subcontractors need to document their work, and that takes time and money.
By implementing WeldCloud Notes from ESAB, the company has freed up thousands of hours for value-added tasks, optimized project and operator management, and eliminated mistakes. WeldCloud Notes is a standalone software application, or it can be used as a bundle with ESAB’s WeldCloud suite, which includes WeldCloud Productivity and WeldCloud Fleet.
Ideal for quality control managers, WeldCloud Notes streamlines the documentation and reporting process on a dashboard accessible by computer or mobile device to efficiently and consistently complete four essential tasks:
- Maintain quality and compliance while managing PQR and WPS documents in one place
- Efficiently review all PQR, WPS and welder performance qualification (WPQ) information with a quick and easy search
- Generate a PQR or WPQ with all the essential variables
- Avoid a missed qualification deadline or wasting resources requalifying welders
Braskem initially purchased 20 licenses for the software and has since increased that to 32 licenses to manage activities in two locations. The company plans to expand to additional plants around the globe because it receives the following five primary benefits:
1. Faster responsiveness
“Before WeldCloud Notes, generating a data book of 600 welds for the customer would take one to two days to gather all the information, and now it takes 5 to 10 min.,” says
Arthur Scofano, a welding engineer at Braskem.
A data book compiles all weld data related to a project and is especially helpful for traceability. It takes time to produce because all documents need to be printed, signed, scanned, saved, merged into a single PDF and then sent as a digital file. The process now takes two or three clicks using the WeldCloud Notes application.
WeldCloud Notes also generates a specific document for the Brazilian industry called the IEIS (Instruction for Welding Execution and Inspection) that combines the WPS with NDT and other data.
2. Greater visibility
To monitor operations of its subcontractors, Braskem pays for the licenses and gives them to its subcontractors. This way, the company can control the weld activities without interfering in the process. Each subcontractor can only view its own data, and only Braskem personnel have access to project- or company-wide data.
The pilot project for replacement parts on a pyrolysis furnace during a scheduled maintenance shutdown is one example that proved the value of the software. Two subcontractors were initially scheduled to make 107 welds. The reality of working in the field, however, required modifications that led to a total of 297 welds completed and documented. By using WeldCloud Notes, Braskem and its subcontractors identified which joints required extra effort, developed a more accurate repair schedule and calculated costs much more accurately.
3. Better project management
WeldCloud Notes provides project managers with dashboards to monitor four states of weld production: fit-up, welded, tested and processed. Users can instantly identify the status of a weld seam from any location (with no need for field reports), quickly identify bottlenecks and deploy resources to remove them. In the previous example, seeing the scope of welding repairs nearly triple the original estimate, Braskem and the contractor realized that keeping to the original repair schedule would require additional resources. With WeldCloud Notes, they could easily justify the expense to management.
Online applications further improve productivity and “weld it right the first time” success because managers can accurately communicate weld procedure and NDT methods and documents to field teams without ever leaving their office.
4. Qualification management
Tracking welding operator qualification and managing certifications is a time-consuming but critical task. WeldCloud Notes provides a clear schedule so that the company doesn’t miss a certification expiration date or waste resources unnecessarily requalifying welding operators.
The software can also target underperforming welding operators to determine those who need additional training or reassignment. By providing managers and engineers with a multitude of functions, it eliminates tedious manual tasks and human error.
5. Easy to learn
No matter the task, the solution must be easy to learn for company-wide success. As a global company, language is always an issue. Braskem requires a digital solution that can be easily learned, translated and communicated to each of its facilities and subcontractors.
With WeldCloud Notes, there are no servers to install – everything is stored in the cloud. It is as easy to install as Microsoft Office and all that is required is an internet connection. And, if internet connection is lost, data is stored and uploaded when the connection is reestablished.
ESAB created a modern and intuitive user interface for WeldCloud Notes. This makes for a faster learning curve. Its customer support and training are unmatched in the industry and by taking its customers’ feedback, ESAB implemented changes and improvements that provide user success every step of the way.
Welding engineers are scarce and are responsible for an enormous number of tasks. Using PQR, WPS and WPQ application software reduces the time spent on compiling paperwork and frees them to focus on value-added tasks. Overall, companies such as Braskem have strategic vision, in this case to become the world leader in sustainable chemistry. Innovative digital solutions like ESAB’s WeldCloud Notes help attain these goals faster.