A Safe Tent for the Pilgrims

To supply fabric for a 200-acre tent, one manufacturer had to nearly double material output, revamp automation in three locations, and start production within four months. The project—conceived to prevent disaster—could have been tragic for business if timelines were missed. In spring 1997, a fire occurred in the huge Tent City erected annually to house Muslims making the holy...

12/15/2000


To supply fabric for a 200-acre tent, one manufacturer had to nearly double material output, revamp automation in three locations, and start production within four months. The project—conceived to prevent disaster—could have been tragic for business if timelines were missed.

In spring 1997, a fire occurred in the huge Tent City erected annually to house Muslims making the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. More than 200 pilgrims died in this disaster. To ensure that this would never happen again, the King of Saudi Arabia decreed that a totally fireproof, permanent tent standing over two hundred acres in size be constructed to accommodate pilgrims during this important religious obligation. A worldwide search commenced to find a company with the capacity to furnish the material for this massive project.

Chemfab Corp. (Merrimack, N.H.) was selected to furnish materials. Chemfab, a world leader in the manufacture of architectural fabrics, supplied fabric to the Denver International Airport and London's Millennial Dome.

To meet the stringent delivery requirement, Chemfab had to nearly double its manufacturing capability for this type of material. To this end, the company's corporate engineering manager, Michael R. Smith, sought help from control systems integrator TVC Systems (Portsmouth, N.H.) in mid-June 1998. TVC was asked to meet tight delivery requirements to design, build, ship, install, and start-up a number of critical control systems in three plant locations. These simultaneous start-ups were to be in Merrimack, N.H., North Bennington, Vt., and Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland. Production was to start by the first of November 1998 to meet the Tent City's project production schedule.

Given an order to proceed with implementation during the first week of July, TVC Systems:

  • Produced Functional Specifications, Sequences of Operations and P&IDs (piping and instrumentation drawings). These documents were reviewed and approved by Chemfab's process and production engineering personnel.

  • Produced shop drawings, ordered material and programmed the PLCs and HMIs required in the control systems.

  • Performed factory acceptance tests in mid-August for the first control set, destined for shipment to Ireland. Remaining systems were tested late that month then shipped to the other two plants to meet and be connected to the production equipment being erected at these sites.

  • Traveled to each site in early October to install the systems.

  • Performed system check out and start-up at mid-month.

  • Followed with documentation of each system and continued technical support.

Advanced work completed prior to shipping and close teamwork between Chemfab and TVC Systems helped ensure success during start-ups.

Comments? Send e-mail to: amcbride@cahners.com

For more information on Chemfab, visit www.chemfab.com or go to www.controleng.com/freeinfo ; for TVC Systems, www.tvcsystems.com , or visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .





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