Continuous Quality Surveillance Scheme to minimize the Cost Of Poor Quality in the construction of hydroelectric powerplants - IDRA 2012


Courtesy of Inspecteam Hydro

During the construction of hydroelectric plants, poor quality can have a hugely negative impact on construction time, on plant performance and on safety. We propose a method of keeping under control the manufacturing of the most critical components, such as pressure parts, rotors and valves, with a view to minimizing the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ). This method is known as the Continuous Quality Surveillance Scheme (CQSS). It can be effective when used in a systematic manner, as it occurs in some industrial sectors (mainly nuclear and oil and gas). It requires the formalization of some main elements: the Pre-Inspection Meeting (PIM) at the start of construction, the Inspection and Test Plan (ITP), with specific witness points for all critical manufacturing phases and the use of Xotification for Inspection (NOI), to formalize the intervention points.

We will show examples to clarify' how discovering poor quality at a late stage can add an exponential increase to the costs, with dreadful consequences for the client and the development of the whole plant. On the contrary, by using the proposed method of work, there is a chance to discover poor quality as soon as it appears, thus allowing for immediate solution.

Hydroelectric power plants need strict requirements with regards to the safety and productivity of the plant. Non-quality revealed during the construction, commissioning and operation of the plant may lead to huge costs with regards to safety (loss of human life), as well as productivity (in a few* days loss-of-production costs may overcome the single component cost). The sooner manufacturing defects (dimensional, non-conforming raw material. NDT detectable defects) are found, the less overall quality and delivery time will be affected.

Introducing a follow-up method specifically intended to minimize the Cost of Poor Quality during manufacturing can considerably reduce safety risks and failure costs, keeping general extra costs down. Such methodology, not unknown in the hydroelectric industry, requires a systematic approach in order to achieve the highest effectiveness, as occurs in other industrial sectors (in particular nuclear and oil and gas), and the formalization of fundamental elements. These are: (1) the continuity of interventions carried out by the appointed inspector (typically leaning on independent inspection agencies), (2) the Pre-Inspection Meeting (PIM) at preliminary stages of manufacturing. (3) the Inspection and Test Plan (ITP). detailed with specific witness points for each critical production step, (4) the formalization of interventions by means of Notification for Inspection (NOI), (5) the expediting activities to verify the effective progress of works, detecting and avoiding bottlenecks.

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