In 1972, Rubicon LLC completed construction of its MDI-1 Unit with the latest technologically advanced control system available at that time. The system controlled all of the facility's major chemical processes.

Then in 2012, ISC Constructors was tasked with completing all electrical and instrumentation work associated with converting the now-antiquated instrumentation and control system in Rubicon's MDI-1 Unit to a new Foxboro Invensys System at the firm's Geismar, La., facility.

This conversion involved the installation of a new distributed control system (DCS), which is used to control production in an industrial facility. The new system enables a single senior technician to operate the entire plant from one control panel station, rather than the intricate process of multiple workstations each manned by a senior technician.

The schedule was comprised of three separate phases: pre-turnaround, turnaround and demolition.

Because of the age of the MDI-1 Unit and outdated drawings, the demolition came with its own complex issues. Demolition of the old control system could not stop production of the unit, and a majority of the existing instruments that were being demolished did not have proper documentation from Rubicon.

Also, multi-pair instrument cables and enclosures were not originally dedicated for shutdown instruments, but both shutdown and non-shutdown instruments were scattered throughout. However, through coordination between ISC and Rubicon's electrical and instrumentation coordinators, ISC was able to take advantage of small windows of opportunity during various shutdowns.

The ISC project team developed a detailed tracking system to provide accurate costs and to support productivity and scheduling. The system enabled the team to provide up-to-date project status and statistics at any given moment.

Rubicon's project team completed the $3.3-million project in October 2013 below budget, on schedule and with zero recordable incidents.

Throughout the project's turnaround, ISC installed more than 148,000 ft of wire, 20,000 ft of conduit, 80 junction boxes, 4,140 terminal blocks, 330 intrinsically safe barriers, 70 instrument stands, 415 instruments, 1,100 ft of tubing and 16,000 wire terminations, and performed loop checks on 1,343 tag items.

Key Players

General Contractor/Owner Rubicon LLC, Geismar, La.

Engineering R&D Consulting Inc., Baton Rouge, La.

Electrical ISC Constructors LLC, Baton Rouge, La.