A term recently becoming more prevalent in the oil and gas industry has been “the digital skills gap”. In a nutshell, the industry has, for many years been behind in the digitization process compared to many others. Despite having a large manually skilled workforce, the global oil and gas industry has a distinct lack of people skilled in digitization. As the industry becomes more digitized, there is a huge amount of data produced which must be analysed, processed, and stored correctly. Training ones workforce to handle this data can be a lengthy and expensive process.
One niche sector within the oil and gas industry that has been particularly slow in catching up with this digital transformation is industrial bolting. For many years, brute force and paper-based work instructions and data collection has been the norm, but not anymore. Asset owners and operators in oil and gas exploration and production are now demanding tighter control of bolting operations, data collection and storage, and the only way to do it correctly and reliably is digitally.
So, how do we take engineers and technicians used to manual systems and procedures, and turn them into digital experts? One may consider this a lengthy, expensive, and difficult task, and in many cases it is. In the case of the Torq-Comm Commander XT process control, data collection, and storage system it is as easy as 1-2-3.
The secret to the success of the Commander XT system is in its user-friendly interface design. It comprises a rugged PDA attached to the technician’s forearm and a cloud-based software system, used by the supervising engineer to create work instructions and store data. The software will store extensive data on fastener sizes and materials, lubricants, bolting patterns etc. as well as acting as a basic flange management system. Software is also available to enable the Torq-Comm software to interface seamlessly with an existing FMS if required.
Step one of the process is for the supervisor to generate a work instruction on the cloud base software which downloads to the technician’s PDA. The process is completely paperless and very straight forward to use. If you can use a smartphone, you can operate the Commander XT.
Step two will see the technician being lead through the bolting process by the PDA, including the number of passes, the tool torque settings, and the bolting sequence. If the technician tries to tighten the wrong bolt, the system will stop them and not allow them to continue until they are on the correct bolt.
Step three comprises all of the data collected during the bolting process being uploaded to the cloud-based software and safely stored for future reference. At no point can anybody manually alter any of the data, ensuring the data that is stored, precisely represents the actual bolting process completed.
In every case during training, novice technicians have become competent users of the Torq-Comm Commander XT system in minutes,
Quite literally if you can use a smartphone, you can operate the system as easily as 1-2-3.