Ali Vezvaei President & CEO Bilfinger Middle East.jpg

Digitalisation at the heart of productivity and cost

Jun 23, 2019
4 min read
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Ali Vezvaei, President & CEO, Bilfinger Middle East speaks to Pipeline Magazine about how the company is involved in the Industry 4.0 


Could you share some of Bilfinger’s Middle East developments in the digitalisation business?  Bilfinger has been at the forefront of the digitisation efforts in the process industry. From AVR enhanced integrated design and engineering during the CAPEX phase, the Dome, all the way to enabling end users create the digital twin of an existing brown field asset utilising our innovative AI-powered PIDGRAPH, or leveraging the vast amount intelligence through structuring and understanding the data lakes associated with an operating facility, using our state of the art BCAP® solution, Bilfinger is in a leading position to increase the overall equipment effectiveness of an asset(OEE) while reducing maintenance costs and unplanned downtime.

As we build a smart bridge between the IT and OT, there are also interesting and intelligent solutions that we introduce to the industry, aiming at fostering collaboration, enhancing safety and increasing productivity. A good example here is Bilfinger’s Industrial Tube.

What is your outlook for digital solutions in the coming months?

Innovation cycles are accelerating rapidly and the use of data, AI, deep learning and much more have become an integral part of the industry. Thanks to accelerated innovation cycles, creating the next product, a new business model or adopting new features take a lot shorter than it used to.

Digitalisation is no exception given the pressing need in the hydrocarbon industry to find internal sources of profitability and productivity on the one hand and global markets volatility on the other hand. This will drive connectivity and digitalisation to the next level, unprecedented in the process industry.

While the ultimate outlook would be the autonomous plant of the future, the journey has begun with several milestones along the way such as process intelligence, connected workforce, predictive and these days the prescriptive maintenance. It will further continue to optimise the value chain to remove a large part of inventory from the asset balance sheet.

Is the Middle East ready for digitalisation?

It is already happening… and this time around, the NOCs are taking charge. ADNOC and Saudi Aramco for example have been very active in driving a coherent digital strategy across their operations and have shown a great deal of openness to collaborate with other industrial players to drive these efforts efficiently and successfully. That said, the degree of maturity in each asset and location varies, resulting in a spectrum of solutions to be rolled out. However, they all start with connectivity and target enhancing productivity.

What are some key components of a successful digital strategy for process plant owners?

Success may be different for each end user and in each plant. However to ensure an efficient and coherent digital transformation strategy, the following are to be addressed one way or another:

  • Executive Vision, translating the inevitable disruption to the organisation as a motivation for survival and thrive
  • Strategy before technology selection to ensure a coherent approach conducive to the organisational maturity, its needs and objectives
  • Embracing new norms and ensuring the organisation that considering all the unknowns, in the digital transformation journey. The solution to address this is to pilot, verify and then expand
  • Re-imagine the value chain with customer right at the beginning. It results in two things: a) productivity to be the most valuable outcome and b) reliability as a license to operate
  • Collaboration and co-development is key to a successful journey

What is the implementation process for a digital solution such as the BCAP in a process plant?

Depending on the maturity, availability of the data and the existing infrastructure, a pilot (taste) approach could be implemented in a reasonably short period of two months providing foresight and highlighting the potential. The next step, would be the roll out that can take up to six months. After this you are live (BCAP-LIVE). In harmony with its intent, our digitalisation solution roll out is quick and efficient.

What other digital solutions does Bilfinger offer?

In addition to BCAP®, we provide very distinct and value adding solutions to the industry, addressing the main issues. In the brownfield optimisation, the issue is the as-built documents, especially the P&ID. Our AI powered PIDGraph bridges that gap by converting those paper documents into a digital twin, faster and cheaper than otherwise could be done.