In recent years, the role of process simulation in the downstream oil and gas sector has grown immensely – and with good reason.
Process simulation is a powerful software tool that allows refinery owners, operators, and engineers to virtually model a process in extreme detail without having to spend the time, manpower, or money physically testing their design in a real-world environment. It’s often performed during the design phase or before a plant becomes fully operational to see how changes in equipment specifications, scheduling, downtime, and maintenance can affect a process throughout the duration of its life cycle.
Although simulation techniques vary depending on the size and complexity of the process, along with the software being used to perform the modeling, there are two main types of refining simulation.
The first type is known as steady-state simulation, whereby engineers can model different scenarios by “tinkering” with design parameters. This type of simulation is typically done during the conceptual phase of a project in an effort to gain a better understanding of how a design can be altered to get the most out of the process from both a business standpoint and an engineering perspective.
The second type is known as dynamic simulation, which differs from steady-state simulation in that it allows operators to virtually run a process (that’s already been designed) under a number of different conditions to see how it performs. The goal of this simulation technique is to ensure that the process will remain safe under stressful or abnormal conditions.
Texvyn provides a full spectrum of customizable training to deliver top-notch, cost-conscious solutions to complex downstream challenges, including process simulation. Our design professionals provide unparalleled project support for the execution of small- and mid-capital projects in the refining and petrochemical industries, increasing plant efficiency, improving safety, and maximizing client return on investment.
Engineering colleges have been springing up like wild mushrooms in India in the last few years. Their number has gone up from a not too modest 1,511 colleges in 2006-07 to an astoundingly high 3,345 in 2014-15. The state of Andhra Pradesh alone has more than 700 colleges.
If these figures are anything to go by, it would be easy to be led into believing that opting for a degree in engineering would be a wise career move in India. The fact, however, remains that 20-33% out of the 1.5 million engineering graduates passing out every year run the risk of not getting a job at all, points out EconomicTimes. For those who do, the entry-level salary is pathetically low, and has stagnated at that level for the last eight-nine years, though the prices of everything from groceries to vehicle fuel have shot up during the same period.
Whether it is the below-par quality of education provided by private colleges or the stagnating (if not shrinking) demand for the number of engineers, the huge number of engineering pass outs – which, incidentally, is more than the total number of engineers produced by the USA and China combined together, face a bleak future.
A large percentage of the ‘fortunate’ ones who do end up getting a job after an engineering degree take up jobs which are well below their technical qualifications, since the supply far outnumbers the demand. They do not get jobs for which they are qualified or ‘suitable’ jobs, which makes the matters worse.
“In that case, there is both unemployment and underemployment,” says E Balaji, former CEO of manpower consulting firm Randstad. “Several engineers end up working as sales executives, so there is no link between what they studied and what they do.”
All the more threatening is the fact that the two key industries which hire engineers in India- the IT and ITes and the manufacturing sector- are also hiring a lesser number of them than before.
The IT industry in India, which grew by as much as 30% up till five years back, has slowed down to a 10.2% growth rate at present. The demand for qualified professionals in the field has understandably gone down too.
The rapid growth in the number of engineering colleges can be attributed to an ecosystem built around feeding the $110 billion outsourcing market and the huge demand for engineers in the IT sector in India itself.
Sadly however, the demand for IT related jobs in India fell sharply due to non-linear growth models of IT companies and lesser number of men required to handle the same jobs as before due to a higher degree of automation.
Making matters worse is the fact that the start-up salary offered to fresh engineering pass outs is expected to stagnate at more or less the same level in the next 3- 5 years, said LiveMint last year. Entry level salary package for a software engineer which has hovered around Rs 2.75 lakh to Rs 3.25 lakh ($4,600- $5,400 per annum) since the last eight-nine years should not, therefore, hope for a turnaround or for better days.
The two biggest recruiters in the IT sector, TCS and Infosys, do not plan to hike their entry level salary for fresh recruits and they are quite clear about it.
“At the moment we are giving campus offers where we have not changed anything as far as the salary component is concerned. It (entry-level salaries) remains stagnant for a while…We are going with the same structure as we have. There is no change. And we are getting good talent,” said Ajoy Mukherjee, global head of human resources, TCS to a leading Indian daily.
TCS, however, will continue to scout the various engineering colleges in its bid to hunt for the best talent in the industry and look forward to hiring 35,000 professionals in 2014-15 as compared to 25,000 the previous year.
A worrying trend that has come to be observed is that not only students from some of the lower rung colleges, but also some of the best brains that cleared the tough entrance tests to reach the 10 exalted Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
As against 76% of the 1,389 IIT Mumbai pass outs getting campus placements during the 2011-12 session, only a little above 66% out of the total 1,501 could find campus placements in 2012-13, as per sources.
The situation is grimmer for Tier II and Tier III colleges. The huge disparity between start out salary for top colleges and the not so highly sought after ones, which has already been highly pronounced, is expected to widen further. While average startup salary for an IIT pass out is Rs 9-10 lakh ($15-16,000) per year, that of a second grade college pass out is barely Rs 1.80-2 lakh ($3,000-3,300) a year.
Students who come from humble economic backgrounds and whose parents had to arrange study loans to be able to give their wards a decent education and ensure a bright future are worried too.
The numbers are alarming. Most of the engineering graduates who fail to grab an employment in their respective industry, end up joining call centers or BPO units in MNCs that could be disastrous for them in the future. However, the promising and flourishing growth of the startup ecosystem in India is emerging as a rescuer for those who are hard working, but still fail to get through the stringent interview process in MNCs, said Subhendu Panigrahi – Founder & CEO, Venturesity
Engineers who used to dream of working in swanky offices, living in penthouses and driving luxury cars are now concerned about finding ‘decent’ openings as they get into their final year at college.
Not surprisingly, engineers are taking up taking up jobs for which they are not qualified. The logical Indian, a huge Facebook community which started their own website some time back, wrote about a mechanical engineer who is driving an auto rickshaw in New Delhi because he has hungry mouths to feed and a family to look after.
Now, while that is a sad pointer to the grim scenario, it is pertinent to point out that only a small percentage of those who ‘pass out’ from engineering colleges do possess any skills worth the name at all. Most of them are not ‘employable’ and/ or ‘trainable’, feel the employers, a tragic reflection of the state of our training and academic institutions. The engineers produced by the huge number of private engineering colleges which have come up after the government sanction for them add up only by way of numbers, in the absence of sound infrastructure, well qualified staff and no emphasis on imparting quality education.
EPC contractors are traditionally those people who handle a single or multiple EPC contracts. Efficient project handling along with organized arrangement of control measures is some of the key responsibilities of an EPC contractor. Maximizing production output while minimizing defects in production and quality are the two main goals of an EPC contractor. As a part of the EPC contractor, EPC contractors confirm to deliver EPC. EPC is a popular method of handling contracting projects in the vast construction industry. As an EPC contractor, he has to design the installation procedure, obtain the required raw materials to build the project in hand. EPC contractors accomplish this task either by handling it all by themselves or outsourcing some part of the work to an outside contracting firm. EPC contractors may also subject the contract to a risk of budget and schedule in exchange of a pre-determined price. This is termed as a lump sum or even LSTK based on the mutually agreed amount of work.
EPC contracts are generally those where EPC contractors have to be in charge of almost every process associated with the contractual work. If there is a price variation at any phase of the contractual project, both parties involved in the contract face major risks, however, EPC contractors are at a bigger risk of incurring losses. Any EPC contract is a highly complicated process since it involves too many players like consultants, M & E technicians, designers as well as sub-contractors. Due to the global nature of some EPC contracts, they are subjected to several cost variations due to the volatile global economy. An efficient EPC contractor should be well-skilled to handle price fluctuations that arise at any stage of the contract work execution and also look after changes in labor and material costs owing to the corresponding change in the project location.
After signing an EPC contract, the EPC contractor automatically becomes responsible for ensuring the contract project is completed on time and all tender conditions are adhered to during its executions. EPC contractors often hire the services of sub-vendors of sub-contractors who accomplish different tasks associated with the project execution. However, while hiring a new sub-contractor, the EPC contractor needs to ensure that the costs do not escalate beyond the stipulated budget. Many EPC contractors have now acquired Six Sigma training to enhance their performance in the construction industry.
Engineering, Procurement and Construction is abbreviated for EPC and today the term has evolved to EPCM which stands for Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management. As the competition among different companies heats up globally, engineering firms become even more aggressive seeing the increasing for superior quality at lower rates. Engineering firms have to constantly improvise so as to make optimum utilization of available resources and efficient handling of projects.
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During a recent conference, a large manufacturing organisation shared its experience of making job offers to students in the first year of engineering, and then closely partnering with them to build their skills, attitude and understanding of what it takes to be successful in the corporate life. Most institutes have not yet established strong industry-academia partnerships and therefore lay emphasis solely on the core curriculum, which is fairly standard. The focus on building the skills to be job-ready requires a focus on skills that is normally not a part of a standard curriculum and can be easily built and delivered with the help of strong industry partners. There are several examples of large corporates that have initiated such interventions upstream – early into graduation as additional curriculum. The government’s role is key to skill-building. This process has been initiated in some form through the national skill building initiatives that we have been seeing in the last six-twelve months. These initiatives need to be strengthened and awareness of the same also needs to be strengthened through various industry bodies such as NASSCOM and others. Strong industry-based research and project-based associations of teaching staff help bridge this gap. Many institutes now absorb people with strong industry experience as teaching staff to help bring this understanding of what it takes to succeed at work.
The Indian MBA education system follows the pedagogy i.e. lecture mode with major evaluation weightage given to end-semester examination. The curriculum followed in many of the Indian universities is outdated, where curriculum revision happens once in four years. More often, the main focus is on knowledge-enhancement with less importance given to skill-development and attitude. The industry-academia gap can be bridged by regular industry and academia interactions, and collaboration. This is possible only when B-schools invite industry practitioners to deliver guest lectures, make them a part of the curriculum review and admission committees during the admission process. Hence, the industry–academia collaboration in B-schools should happen at the input, process and output stages. This will enable B-schools in getting guest lectures, summer internships and functional projects, which are essential for making our students job-ready. The government should start finishing schools in every state in association with the industry to provide personality development programmes to MBA graduates and make them job-ready. The revision of MBA syllabus should happen once in two years where the industry practitioners should be made a part of the board of studies committees.
A large number of institutes has been started in the self-financing sector that survive on the fees charged from the students. For generating revenue, these institutes strive hard to fill up the seats allotted to them by regulatory agencies and in the process, students with poor academic records are also admitted. A two-year theoretical MBA course cannot transform such students to become employable management professionals. The three key ways through which the industry, government and academia can work with each other are:
1) To attract good faculty in self-financed institutions, at least 50 per cent salary of the faculty members of those institutes that have obtained a high grade in an accreditation exercise conducted by an authorised agency should be contributed by the government;
2) The academia, industry and government should cooperate in making provisions for a mandatory professional apprenticeship in an enterprise for atleast six months as an integral part of the MBA programme;
3) The country needs a large number of high-level vocational institutes that can be started by the government or the industry under the public-private partnership mode. This will provide an alternative pattern of education. Provisions should be made, so that vocationally-qualified persons can acquire academic qualifications upto the highest level.
Indian graduates fall under a broad spectrum in their readiness for job – very few of them are job-ready, a few of them can acquire skills with additional training while on-the-job, most of them are not suitable for employment. Most of them do possess average technical skills but lack in other aspects such as good communication skills, an ability to work with teams, inability to persuade others with their ideas and/or build on others ideas, which are essential for jobs in corporates. Reasons are partly due to the fact that many public institutes have been corrupted with politics and poor standards while private institutes have become more of production facilities churning out degrees and have forgotten the essence of education. The government must play a role in making education independent of politics, encourage quality and penalise those institutes, which don’t comply with standards of quality in education. Funding alone is not going to solve the problem.
What according to you is engineering? While some believe it’s their way of earning money, for others it’s their passion. There are also people who take up engineering as a commitment to their parents, while some pursue it out of peer pressure and frustration.
There is not one but many reasons for anyone who tend to choose engineering as their career option. But remember, choosing this stream is quite an easy task but working hard to make a successful career out of engineering is not everyone’s cup of tea.
A lot of engineering aspirants explore the actual meaning of engineering only when they start pursuing the stream. However, there are a bunch of students, who already know exactly about what and how life would be at their chosen engineering college even before they start their journey.
Below are some of the common Q & A
Q. 1- I heard that life at a plant is tough. Are there any benefits?
While life at a plant or factory site may not be as exciting as when you live in a city or at home, according to Micheal Baymiller, Director – HR at International Paper India, a global leader in packaging and paper, there are certain benefits of working at a plant. Modern plants, these days are equipped with latest state-of -the-art equipment that make work all the more exciting says, Sanjay Kumar who worked as General Manager at the Tata Steel Plant in Jamshedpur . Working in a factory would give you paid vacations, housing at the mills, regular job rotations, and an opportunity to understand the overall operations, manufacturing and product understanding. Ramesh Shankar, Executive VP and Cluster HR Head, South Asia, Siemens, which has over 21 manufacturing plants in India stresses that those who enter the manufacturing domain must be passionate about engineering and technology, and have an insatiable thirst to develop world class manufacturing processes and capabilities. Though, the initial years might be taxing in terms of the number of hours one puts in, the rapid promotions that it might offer in the long run makes it worthwhile.
Q. 2- What is the demand in the job market, today?
Recruitment portal Shine.com gives us a snapshot of the current market scenario. Sales Engineers top the list in terms of demand. Design/CAD Engineers also very much in demand, coming at a very close second. This is followed by Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers and then Maintenance Engineers. Others in decreasing order are Technical Support Engineer, Service Engineers, Testing Engineers, Site Engineers, Project Engineers, Production Engineers, Network Engineers and Quality Engineers. Two very unique profiles include Aerospace Stress Engineer in area of Occupational Health/Safety and Analog Design Engineer – in Research & Development and Product Design. Typically, an Aerospace Stress Engineer is responsible for working within the aerospace team, providing high quality technical input to aerospace projects, spanning both aero structures and aero engines. More over Robotics and lean manufacturing specialists are also in demand.
Q. 3- I’m told an engineering degree is not enough, we need soft skills, too. Why is this?
In 2011, the World Bank did an extensive survey to find out what skills employers seek in fresh engineering graduates. The survey found that employers perceive soft skills to be very important, and in particular communication seemed to be one of the most demanded skills by the employers. Thus it is not surprising that during campus placements, in many cases, English language proficiency is tested first, followed by group discussions, and then technical competency. As a result many students, especially from rural regions, lose out to a smooth communicator despite possessing sound technical knowledge. Why are English language skills so important so many years after independence from the Brits? ”We are a Global In-House Centre (GICs),” explains Vipul Singh, VP & Head of HR at ADP Private Limited. “So we have strong interactions with the business units in the US,” he explains.
Similarly, Paypal India’s GIC has 2,300 technologists, one of PayPal’s largest technology sites in the world. “We must be able to share our ideas and thought processes with people through multiple formats,” advises Anupam Pahuja, CEO of PayPal India. Both stress the need for soft skills as follows. Vipul qualifies basic English speaking as a soft skill. “It doesn’t come naturally to many whose mother tongue isn’t English. This is level 1. Level 2 is ability to comprehend what is expected by listening and Level 3 is to present the point of view, which is good, bad and ugly, to the business,” he shares.
Q. 4- Can I get a job after my degree?
While institutes try to attract recruiters to your campus, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring you get a job is yours, advises Shantanu Paul, MD and CEO of Talentsprint. “While you are in college you should start reading up about companies, and talk to friends and family who may be able to help you understand what companies look for in new hires,” says Shantanu. It is especially important for those who don’t get into the best college to differentiate yourself from your peers, so your résumé stands out in on and off campus interviews. Shantanu suggests some ways – writing a blog, taking on a project, working as an intern at a company or taking courses where you can improve your technology skills and possibly get a certification that is recognised by the industry.
Q. 5- How to go about searching for a job?
During your off-campus search, try to identify these companies and send your résumé to them. Target small and medium-sized companies that may not come on campus but are still looking to hire freshers. Most of these positions will be advertised online in various job sites or on their websites or newspapers. “During your engineering programme, improve your skills by joining a technology and soft skills course,” advises Shantanu. When looking for a technology programme, make sure it provides you with practical hands-on experience on the computer. Technology where they only teach you theory and don’t provide any computer time is useless. Generally taking a certification will also help. Above all be positive. If you are hard working, an opportunity must always come now or later.
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