digiProjects has gone through 4 or 5 major phases in its 25-year life span:
- Material management, piping control and spool pieces – KnowledgeMan DOS based appGen
- Project control – FOCUS appGen DOS and cross platform
- Project controls and full EPCM – VB6
- digiProjects – C# .NET, SilverLight
The very early versions were specific to engineering projects material control and focused on the piping discipline, which is frequently difficult to control on engineering projects.
The subsequent versions added more disciplines and more features, until the system covered all the disciplines and functions found in a full EPCM (Engineering Procurement and Construction Management) system.
After the EPCM version was completed we added Project Accounting and the Works modules.
The latest version is a complete rewrite using the best of current technology.
PRODUCT CASE STUDIES
We have included a representative selection that illustrates the usage of the application.
The application included stainless steel and carbon steel piping, up to 1200mm nominal bore piping some spools with rubber lining. The spool pieces were fabricated in Wadeville, sent to the rubber lining sub-contractor and then transported to site for erection.
Our application created the drawing bills of material, summarised then and sent the requirement to procurement. We then calculated the fabrication requirements and loading. Finally, we tracked all the individual spool pieces through rubber lining and transport to site.
Our customer was awarded the design and construction of an entirely new platinum refinery on the site of an older plant. The contract was complicated by the fact that the large scale chemistry and production process was being worked out simultaneously with the design and construction.
The smelted ore, coming from the mines on the geologically complex Hans Merensky Reef, contains many “impurities”, starting with gold and silver that get in the way of the chemistry for refining the platinum and rhodium and other platinum group metals.
To handle this complexity, the project was split into four phases – gold, silver, platinum, rhodium and other exotics.
The project was managed and controlled by area, where Area A was Gold, … All the application features were separated so that everything worked by area, material summaries, everything. We imported bulk material list from AutoCAD 3D model and the traditional 2D system.
The drawing registers were massive and covered all the engineering disciplines working on the project.
There were nearly 200 employees involved in the head office engineering effort. The application managed the full cost control and man-hours, including budgets, forecasts and actuals.
The application also was used for full scale change control to ensure that the budgets were adjusted as each new change to the design was processed.
Procurement and expediting was especially complex as everything was split by area.
We used a modem to update the site data overnight and receiving, kitting and issuing was then processed on site.
Interesting project dynamics – contract in USD, engineering team split in three – Australian, South African and Americans, so man-hours were booked in three different locations and currencies. In addition, the Americans insisted on payroll based (as apposed to the more traditional resource based) billing of man-hours.
Full project controls with emphasis on material planning and control. Scary logistics transporting equipment to the Northern Botswana salt pans.
New chemical processing plant using existing feedstock:
In addition to the normal EPCM requirements the project required exceptionally complex material requirements due to the exotic chemicals and high temperatures. These requirements made the project technically challenging which in turn added complexity to the whole procurement and expediting functions.
In addition to the normal EPCM process MONDI insisted that their SAP system should be used for procurement. This required a separate process to extract and export the purchase orders to SAP via the internet and the system integration to provide the data in SAP readable format and then import the receiving data.
We had to add a number of project specific constraints to handle the dumbing down of the application to make the purchase orders compatible with SAP. Of particular note is a SAP requirement that eac supplier can only have a single currency. Our application allows different currencies per line item.
Proposals and estimating for fabrication and erecting projects working on bill of rates basis.
We have used the application on hundreds of projects, large and small, to control budgets, man-hours and forecast; perform contract and man-hour based billing across multiple currencies and companies.
HEAVY ENGINEERINGBuhler - Flour mills:
Project based construction and maintenance of factories and equipment.
We provided the application to a company building and refurbishing heavy equipment for the SADF.
Each main battle tank refurbishment was treated as a separate project and drawings and bills of material were prepared for each tank as it entered the refurbishment process.
Thereafter the material control and procurement was processed in a relatively normal fashion.
Costs and man-hours were accumulated normally.