As early as 2013, a total of 40 process diaphragm pumps were delivered to two large offshore platforms on the Persian Gulf for the purpose of pumping approx. 70 million m³ of natural gas per day and producing about 50 million m³ of gas that is ready for sale. The order, worth around 30 million euros, was the largest in the history of Lewa at the time–and then the follow-up order was placed in the summer of 2017: A total of eight LGB2 Boxer pumps and 12 LDH5 series process pumps have been ordered for transferring monoethylene glycol (MEG) from the Tie In Platforms (TP) to the Well Head Platforms (WHP) and on-site MEG injection. This injection is intended to prevent the ice formation in the drill hole that can occur during the formation of methane hydrate. The project will be completed in 2019.
The plant, which was built in 2013 and has been the largest of its kind in Saudi Arabia ever since, has now been expanded to handle having its daily gas flow of 70 million m³ increased by another 56 million m³. “A fundamental goal of the client is to gradually convert the energy utilities of the country from crude oil to gas in order to make more crude oil available for the global market” explains Klaus Figgle, Engineering Project Manager at Lewa.
The eight LGB2 Boxer pumps with the corresponding M9 pump heads were installed on the Tie In Platforms (TP). They are responsible for transferring monoethylene glycol (MEG) to the Well Head Platforms (WHP). The LGB2 pumps operate with a relatively low pressure of about 205 bar, since they only have to overcome the drop in pressure in the supply line between the platforms. The LGB modular drive unit, which has already been used as an LGB3 model for the preliminary project, stands out for its compactness and very high power density.
WEG Germany was acquired as a cooperation partner for the project. The order was processed as the first major project involving WEG as a powertrain manufacturer. The custom-designed powertrain solution consists of energy-efficient motors and complete control cabinet systems with integrated frequency inverters–ideal for offshore applications. WEG, one of the largest global electric motor manufacturers, has the necessary approval of the end client for its plant in Brazil.
The twelve LDH5 series injection pumps, with corresponding M8 pump heads, consist of five coupled single powertrains. “Similarly to the preliminary project, the MEG continuously circulates between the platforms and the glycol regeneration units in the onshore preparation plants,” Figgle continues. “In the process of preventing methane hydrate accumulation, our injection pumps inject the MEG at the necessary points to eliminate ice formation in the drill holes. In addition to the pressure drops in the lines, these pumps must also overcome the back pressure from the source, which is why pressures of up to 600 bar must be expected.”
The M8 pump heads installed for this purpose are equipped with PTFE diaphragms, which can handle even high pressure without problems, and offer further advantages when compared to the originally required metal diaphragms. Since pumps with metal diaphragms are usually larger and heavier, Lewa offered the PTFE diaphragms to provide the client with a solution which–in addition to space and size advantages–also resulted in a reduction in the production costs of the entire platform. Lewa is the only company in the world qualified to supply pumps with PTFE diaphragms for the end client in Saudi Arabia, which are designed for a pressure of over 350 bar.
“This solution, developed specifically for the application, was completed smoothly by all parties involved and delivered on time,” Figgle says to summarize. “On the whole, all sides have been very pleased with the project. It will be handed over to the client in 2019.”
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Bilfinger to become a DFKI shareholder
Bilfinger, through its subsidiary Bilfinger Digital Next, is joining the group of shareholders of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). The DFKI is an industry-focused research institute in the field of innovative software technologies incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and is considered one of the most important “Centers of Excellence” in the international scientific community. The purpose of the stake is to develop innovative solutions based on AI for the process industry. Bilfinger is the first industrial services provider in the DFKI shareholder group, which also includes companies like Google, Microsoft and SAP. Franz Braun, CEO of Bilfinger Digital Next: “Artificial intelligence technologies give companies in the process industry groundbreaking new opportunities to manage and maintain their plants with a greater degree of efficiency and effectiveness. Plant operators can generate substantial competitive advantages using AI. We want to demonstrate these possibilities to our customers and support them with future-oriented solutions based on the broad range of advantages delivered by artificial intelligence”.
Prof. Dr. Antonio Krüger, CEO and Chairman of the DFKI Management Board: “We are pleased to be taking the next step towards a lasting partnership on the basis of the success we have enjoyed in our joint project work to date. Bilfinger’s commitment attests to our cooperation and underscores the industrial relevance of the work DFKI researchers are doing. DFKI’s circle of shareholders will be strengthened by the addition of an ambitious industrial services provider, with whom we plan to continue implementing the results of AI research into products and solutions for the process industry”.
Bilfinger has been collaborating successfully with the DFKI for some time on the development of digital solutions for the process industry. Joint developments that have been launched on the market include PIDGraph, a software for the digitalization of plant documentation. Through the application of AI methods, the software is able to digitalize piping and instrument flow diagrams (P&I diagrams) that are only available in paper or PDF formats. The symbols, texts and lines of the diagrams are converted into a digital format with the help of neural networks trained to recognize patterns. The software records the corrections made by the user and thus continuously improves itself. The digital formats created by PIDGraph can be processed by any modern engineering and asset management system, thereby forming the basis for creating “digital twins” of industrial plants, for example. The digitalization of P&I diagrams is not only significantly cheaper with PIDGraph, but also much faster than conventional methods.
“The AI algorithms recognize the complex elements in the plant diagrams, analyze them, assign them semantically, making them readable for the computer. PIDGraph shows how mature AI methods can comprehend complex corporate knowledge and make it available for digital use,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Dengel, who started the cooperation with Bilfinger and leads the research area Smart Data & Knowledge Services at the DFKI.
Merck, a science and technology company, will hold its Annual General Meeting this year in virtual form on May 28. The company is thus making use of the possibilities afforded by the German legislator in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Within the scope of the Annual General Meeting, a resolution on the dividend proposal of € 1.30 per share will also be voted on. Payment is planned for June 3.
The Annual General Meeting will be publicly webcast in its entirety on the Internet. Physical participation is not possible. The invitation will be published by May 7, in keeping with the official deadline. Notes on exercising shareholder rights and further information on the virtual Annual General Meeting will be available as of May 7 on the website www.merckgroup.com/agm and in the invitation.
Merck had already announced back in March that it would postpone its Annual General Meeting originally planned for April 24 and hold it in virtual form as soon as possible in order to protect the health and safety of employees and shareholders.
Lab Inventory, Safety and Compliance Management System
System to Improve Scientists’ Productivity in the Lab
Merck, a science and technology company, today launched its Lanexo Lab Inventory, Safety and Compliance Management System, a new digital laboratory informatics solution designed to drastically reduce1 time in labs and improve data quality and traceability.
“Today, 85 percent of labs are using paper or Excel to manage consumables data, and 25 percent of time is spent managing these data — taking scientists away from bench research,” said Jean-Charles Wirth, head of Applied Solutions, Life Science at Merck. “Lab efficiency is critical as it gives scientists more time to focus on their research and analytics work and less on administrative tasks, which ultimately leads to faster drug development. Our Lanexo System — with first-to-market features — underscores Merck’s commitment to advancing and commercializing laboratory informatics.”
Laboratory informatics is the application of data using a platform of software, data management tools and equipment that allow scientific data to be captured and interpreted for immediate use, and then stored for future research and development purposes. The laboratory informatics market, which accounted for $2.4 billion in 2018, is expected to reach $5.45 billion by 2027, according to a recent Research and Markets global market outlook report.
Merck is the first to offer radio-frequency identification (RFID) labels which auto-register open dates and calculate expiry dates. Through this digital data capture, the Lanexo System rapidly documents lab reagent data in real time. Digitalized inventory, expiration and storage monitoring reduces human error and safety risks and improves the reliability and traceability of compliance documentation. Ultimately, each reagent, including in-house preparations, can be instantly matched to a full audit report. Within an experimental workflow, the system allows for easy reagent identity checks and provides automatic alerts, helping scientists to avoid using expired reagents and minimizing experimental error.
The cloud-based Lanexo System can be easily set up and rapidly integrated into existing lab workflows. It includes mobile (Android) and web applications and is designed for use in highly regulated analytical and research labs in pharmaceutical, quality assurance / quality control and industrial testing markets.
Merck last year launched Milli-Q Connect, a cloud-based service portal for its water purification systems, and also acquired BSSN Software, a lab informatics company that makes data more readily accessible for ease of integration, collaboration, analysis and long-term archiving.