Process plants refine and more effectively use a particular resource. This same concept can be applied when designing, constructing, and operating these facilities. Technology can enable owners and operators to more effectively manage maintenance to save time and money.

However, while the savings of using technology can be very appealing, there are many other elements to take into consideration. For example, standards and mandates could play a key role in operations of large infrastructure facilities.

ISO (Intl. Organization for Standardization), www.iso.org, Geneva, Switzerland, 15926 is a standard for integration of lifecycle data for process plants including oil and gas production facilities. While this standard doesn’t directly dictate construction of buildings, production facilities, and equipment, instead it focuses on operations and maintenance. For the owner this means being able to move information from disparate systems during construction into one system for operations.

This standard specifies a conceptual data model is needed for computer representation of technical information about process plants. ISO 15926 activities include installation and commissioning of plant equipment, production and process operations, and maintenance and replacement of equipment.

In order to meet this need, iRINGUserGroup, www.iringug.org, is an open online community of users, companies, and organizations using or developing iRING protocols. iRING is a set of information interoperability and integration protocols and reference data that are compliant with ISO 15926.

iRINGTools is a set of free, public domain, and open-source applications, which allows users to browse reference data and map an application schema. The organization recently announced a new version of iRINGTools is available for download, which includes a new set of Java-based Web applications and services for centralized directory, reference data, comparison, and exchange.

Bentley Systems, www.bentley.com, Exton, Pa., OpenPlant is one such product that meets the interoperability goals of iRINGUserGroup. The technology captures, maintains, and presents key information to engineering, construction, and operations through the lifecycle. A new whitepaper from Bentley highlights how the technology can help leverage design data throughout a plant’s lifecycle.

Technology can play a big role in plant construction and operations. As more projects are coming to completion, the data gathered during construction will be turned over to owners for operations and maintenance. For construction companies, being able to understand the standards—from design through operations—is key to meeting the long-term needs of clients.