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Water Plant Soft Water Piping

Using virtual reality (VR) in water plant piping replacement

  • California


Using the VR platform provided the unique ability to bring the team together while reducing associated projects costs.

As facilities and equipment age, the mechanical integrity of the components reaches its end of life and replacement is required. In oil field water plants—key components in distributing soft water for steam generation and enhanced oil recovery in California—carbon steel piping will eventually corrode to the point of needing replacement. At a recent project, our team was contracted to perform the detailed engineering and design of the replacement piping, required support structures, and related instrumentation.

One challenge with this project was that all piping replacements had to be installed while existing piping and high-pressure pumps stayed in service. It was critical to minimize any downtime. On top of operational challenges, we were faced with COVID-19 restrictions that forced the entire project team to work remotely.

Our solution? Using virtual reality (VR). Not only did the VR platform provide the unique ability to bring the team together during challenging times, but safety, ergonomic, and operational/maintenance elements were easier to identify and assess in VR. In one review, our client’s construction supervisor was able to detect a constructability issue that would have been missed in a traditional 3D model review, saving rework and construction delays to the project.

With this piping replacement project completed, the California oil field water plant system will have more reliable equipment, cutting down on the risk of spills or safety incidents.

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