The transparent pipe: iTAC supplies MPC with new tracking and tracing system

From production through to loading and transport: Software supports pipe quality control on pipeline projects

Montabaur, 12 June 2017 – Offshore pipelines are often found up to 2,000 meters deep in the sea. Faultless pipes and perfect logistical processes are vital, as is the case on the current Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. MÜLHEIM PIPECOATINGS GmbH (MPC) supplies pipes that meet the high demands of transporting natural gas safely from Russia through the Baltic Seat to Europe. iTAC Software AG is supporting this project with a new Material Traceability and Quality Control System.

MÜLHEIM PIPECOATINGS GmbH (MPC) is part of the EUROPIPE Group - a global player in the production of longitudinal and spiral seam-welded large diameter pipes in almost every dimension imaginable - and is the competence center for coating processes. 

“The specifications for coating pipes are becoming increasingly complex making constant product quality ever more important,” explains Rainer Grabowski, Factory Manager at MPC. This is why the company decided in the course of a tender to use a Material Traceability and Quality Control System based on the iTAC.MES.Suite from iTAC Software AG. 

This solution takes complete control of production and loading processes. It records the whole lifecycle of a pipe and is informed about the release status and storage areas as well as transport by truck from EUROPIPE to MPC. Staff can access all the data at any time, for example via a handheld PDA. 

With a high quality product and uninterrupted quality control we can rule out exorbitant consequential damages. Possible faults have to be found during production or the testing process. This is guaranteed with the Material Traceability & Quality Control System. As a rule, a maximum of just 0.5% of the pipes need to be recoated,” Mr Grabowski continues.

Process and quality control in every detail 
Dirk Klingbeil, MPC’s Managing Director explains: “The solution offers much more than a standard system. The uniqueness lies in the numerous individual adaptations and programming based on the Business-Rule-Engine which is an integral part of iTAC.MES.Suite.” He goes on to say, “Sometimes the pipes go back and forth a number of times between MPC and EUROPIPE and they may have to be shortened and taken to the bending plant. This is just one of the daily yet complex demands.”

iTAC and MPC have been working closely together to program various interfaces: for dispatch, transport/rail, MPC’s own shop-floor developments and a BI (Business Intelligence) portal. iTAC.BI.Portal allows documentation on a daily basis as well as final documentation for the customer. For continuous transparency and process safety, EUROPIPE is always kept updated about the status of the pipes. Documentation was docked onto the system with MPC’s own programming. 

In practice, the software delivers on its promise: The system started in October 2016 when the Nord Stream 2 project began. There were significantly fewer problems with the first kilometer of pipe than anticipated. This is a great success for the launch of such a complex IT system. The solution will be used by MPC for all other projects in the future.