As part of the Sofis installation and engineering support programs, Sofis offers various practical training courses. These courses enable valve technicians to train basic skills on installing, setting and troubleshooting valve interlocks.
The ‘advanced interlock technician training’ is particularly beneficial to offshore facilities; small and relatively simple adjustments and repairs can be quickly carried out by local staff, eliminating the need for an external specialist who has to be flown in specifically for this purpose. This saves valuable time and money. In general, improving installation and troubleshooting skills will lead to smooth operation of valve interlocking systems and enables quick response to small malfunctions.
Training at Score A/S in Norway
Recently, Sofis organized a 2-day training course at Score A/S in Norway. As part of its ‘Total Valve Management’ program, the company performs overhauls, modifications and maintenance on valves of all types, sizes and from all manufacturers. The in-house training department ensures the development of qualifications and specialization among employees. The Sofis advanced interlock technician training allows employees of Score and their client BP to improve their technical knowledge on multi rotation and ninety degree valve interlocks and to gain experience in installing, maintaining and (re-)setting mechanical valve interlocks.
The training course at Score is a result of Sofis’ commitment to the BP Valhall project. Nearly 750 Netherlocks valve interlocks were installed on 5 offshore locations of this giant oilfield in the North Sea, both on green and brown field projects. With a wide range of process interlocking solutions, BP ensures safe valve operating procedures for dangerous applications such as pigging and PSV switch overs.
Gaining on-the-job experience in a hazard free environment
The training was well received by the technicians of Score A/S and BP, who particularly valued the opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience on installing and adjusting interlocks. As a Score A/S technician puts it: “In order for valve interlocks to function properly, it is of vital importance that they are installed and set the right way, according to the guidelines of the manufacturer. This course taught us all the ins and outs of installing valve interlocks and revealed many valuable tips and tricks when setting and resetting them”. In his view, the two day course was very useful, for it allowed to practice installation skills extensively in a hazard free environment. “I gained confidence and I know that I will do a better job next time. I highly recommend this course to any technician involved in installing and maintaining valve interlocks.”
Valve interlock installation training also valuable for operators
In the opinion of the Score A/S technician, on-the-job valve interlock installation training on installing and setting interlocks would also be very useful for operators. “As an installation technician, I only focus on installing and setting valve interlocks, whereas operators are confronted with complete interlocked operating sequences on a frequent basis. This training course enhances general understanding and appreciation of process interlocking as a safety concept and its vital role in maintaining safe operating standards.”
Proper installation of interlocks is of vital importance
According to Kevin Knetsch, Senior Service Engineer at Sofis and course leader of the valve interlock installation training, proper installation and setting of interlocks are of vital importance. “Offset can result to keys being stuck, preventing them to be inserted and released”. As an expert engineer, having installed thousands of valve interlocks on numerous applications, Kevin is well aware of the added value of hands-on installation and troubleshooting skills. “For this reason, practical training is the most important aspect of this particular course”, says Kevin. The training was well received by the technicians of Score A/S and BP, who particularly valued the opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience on installing and adjusting interlocks
Positive reactions from participants
All 12 participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire in which they could indicate whether and to which extent the course provided valuable insights and practical knowledge. Without any exception, all of them stated that they had clear objectives and that these were fully met by the course. Overall, the impact of the training was rated ‘very good‘ to ‘excellent’, being very relevant to the participants. All of them would recommend this course to fellow technicians and operators.
Better appreciation for process interlocking
Sofis training programs are aimed at operators, valve technicians and all other employees involved in process safety. Better understanding and practical know how on installing valve interlocks saves valuable time and effort and will also help creating a positive attitude towards process interlocking as an effective means to eliminate human error.