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Process Improvement


systems, high pressure fluid control equipment, measurement solutions, and marine loading systems for the oil & gas indus- try. Its Production Control System (PCS) consists of topside controls, power equipment, a subsea control module, various sensors, and subsea electrical and hydraulic distribution equip- ment. Te entire system is configurable according to conditions and requirements, and provides engineers aboard oil or gas production platforms with precise control of the well. FMC has operations around the world near the major oil


& gas epicenters. Te company’s UK manufacturing opera- tion is in Dunfermline, near Edinburgh, where Craig Simpson


The Five Absolutes of Quality FMC Technologies is guided by what it calls the five


absolutes of quality, the second of which emphasizes the importance of prevention, rather than appraisal, as the “cause” of quality. “Quality control in the new cell is extremely thor- ough,” said Simpson. “Te finished part is 100% inspected and has to be precise and flawless before it can be shipped to assembly.” For example, since each SCM manifold block takes up


to 35 hours to machine, FMC engineers need to know that the Okuma machines in the machining cell are performing


When an SCM is installed in the seabed, it has to be reliable and safe for the production life of the well, which can be decades.


and Mike West are maintenance technicians with responsibil- ity for the service and support of 20 CNC machine tools of various types, makes and ages. Also in their charge is one of the company’s more recent investments, a $4 million purpose- designed-and-built subsea control module (SCM) machining cell consisting of two Okuma Space Center MA-600HB CNC horizontal boring machines loaded and managed by a Fastems automation system.


Four Primary Machined Parts A subsea control module contains electronics, instrumen-


tation and hydraulics for safe and efficient operation of valves and chokes on the well-top subsea tree. “Tere are four pri- mary machined parts in an SCM,” said Simpson. “One high- and one low-pressure adaptor plate, the manifold block itself and a baseplate. Tere is also a large number of small valves and electronic circuit boards that go into the assembly.” Wells can be as far as 75 miles (120 km) from the produc-


tion platform, in water up to 10,000' (3050-m) deep, and pro- ducing oil and gas safely and reliably under such conditions requires companies to make enormous investments. When an SCM is installed in the seabed, it has to be reliable and safe for the production life of the well, which can be decades. Hydrau- lically controlled valves must be free from defects and contam- ination. If a critical part malfunctions the potential cost can easily run to tens, or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Te automated cell is used to machine the stainless steel


hydraulic manifold block, a critical control element in an SCM assembly. Te 588-lb (265-kg) block is approximately 16 × 16 × 16" (400 × 400 × 400 mm) and is a complex of 350 drilled holes. Te plant will make more than 200 manifold blocks in 2014, when the cell is fully operational and capable of working “lights out.” Should a tool break occur during the machining cycle, a Renishaw NC4 laser-based toolsetting system will detect the tool absence and notify the Fastems system, which will reject the pallet and replace it with another.


68 Energy Manufacturing 2014


exactly as they should. Scrapping a semifinished or finished part due to an inaccuracy in the machine geometry would be very expensive. “Traceability is everything,” said Simpson. “We have to


keep precise records of our machining processes, and have to know if and when a machine is out of alignment for any rea- son, so we can put it right. Ten, when the problem is fixed, we have to be 100% sure that the machine is accurate again.” To ensure that its 20 machines are accurate, the mainte-


nance department services all of them up to three times a year. All machines are checked with a Renishaw QC20-W wireless ballbar. Te Okuma machines are serviced twice a year, at which point machine geometries are checked and rectified. Once a year the company also checks them with a Renishaw XL-80 laser measurement system and linearity is corrected. Every second year, at their annual service, all machines are leveled, aligned and checked with the XL-80 system. Data from both the ballbar and the XL-80 are collected


and collated using Renishaw’s CNC Reported soſtware pack- age. “During the routine service we check each machine in the factory using the ballbar,” said Simpson. “We keep those records so, should a finished or shipped part show a fault or a problem, we can prove whether the machine was accurate and aligned at the time the part was manufactured. In the event of an accuracy issue, we can also rerun the ballbar and compare the results with the records to see how the dimensional accu- racy of the machine has been affected. We use the XL-80 laser primarily to check linear dimensions. We also have Renishaw RMP60 touch probes on most of our machines, including the Okumas, so we need to know the linear movements are exactly right.”


Six Software Seats for Maintenance Operations FMC Technologies’ service contract with Renishaw in-


cludes 11 RMP60 touch probes with radio signal transmission, which are replaced annually or in the event one is damaged.


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