Eliminating Time and Expense in Instrumentation Approval Drawings and Documentation

The documentation that is required for automation projects can be quite time consuming to create, update, and maintain over time. I discovered an Emerson Exchange Anaheim conference presentation, Improve Project Productivity with New Documentation ‘Custom Standard’, by Emerson’s Mohit Bhushan and Michelle Hursh.

Their presentation’s abstract:

Your project requirements for vendor drawings and documentations are faster turns, electronic delivery, project specific and customized. A changing workforce, expanding responsibilities and limited resources means no time to modify drawing and documentation packages before delivery to your end user. Join us as we discuss the new documentation paradigm to best meet your requirements, while realizing the cost savings of improving documentation controller efficiency.

Their presentation looked at the process for approval drawings and documents around process instrumentation. Approval drawings are the instrumentation drawings specific to your order. They are typically delivered in a two-dimensional format and include device dimensional information, contain model option descriptions, and detail tag & calibration Information.

Documents are the detailed product information ordered for purchased products. They include manuals for the instrumentation, quick installation guides, manufacturing procedures, and certifications & approvals. These are assembled in a dossier along with the approval drawings as a comprehensive documentation package.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

For approval drawings, steps for approval typically include: receive approval drawings, make copies/one per tag, highlight each tag, review, and file. For process instrumentation documents, the approval steps include: receive documents, stamp by manual or electronic means, review, and file.

Mohit and Michelle noted that by applying documentation best practices, the number of steps and associated time can be reduced to: receive approval drawings and documents, review, and file. This revised process is the new documentation ‘Custom Standard’.

For their savings analysis, they made some assumptions on the size of the instrument order (1000), labor rates ($100 USD), times to copy/highlight tags/review 1000 instruments (50 minutes/100 minutes/3,000 minutes), stamp 1000 documentation front pages (50 minutes), and file one approval document every 5 seconds.

Graphically, here are the costs associated with the typical way the approval drawing and documents process is performed and the associated cost:

Drawing and Documentation Process

In the spirit of taking a human-centered design (HCD) approach to eliminate steps in the process, Mohit and Michelle came up with a number of best practices. The first is to have single tag drawings, which can reduce filing time up to 67%. This eliminates making copies of tag table approval drawings and eliminate highlighting tags. The savings is 150 minutes or $167.

The next best practice is to use single page approval drawings, which can reduce review time by 66%. All information comes on one page, comes standard in order to reduce the time to review and approve, and enables the information to be found faster. 2000 minutes and $3,333 can be eliminated.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The third best practice is to have approval drawings arrive populated to eliminate stamping. They should arrive ready to file with the information populated by the instrumentation supplier. This will ensure legibility, which can sometimes be an issue with manual or electronic stamping. 50 minutes/$83 of time stamping can be eliminated.

The forth best practice is to have approval drawings with checklists to eliminate stamping time. The approval drawings are ready to be reviewed. This eliminates manually stamping approval checklists and ensures that the checklist is legible. 1 hour/$100 can be eliminated.

Adding these best practices together eliminates 37.7 hours or $3,683 in project costs.

The goal in human-centered design is to simplify, remove unnecessary steps, and reduce cost and time. Project drawings and documentation is one area that is a great spot to apply these best practices.

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