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Chemical Engineering Internship Experience

Chemical Engineering Internship Experience

Heather Robillard

During my ProSys chemical engineering internship, I was fortunate in that I was given the opportunity to join multiple engineering teams. By doing this, I was exposed to a considerable number of processes in different refineries and worked with several engineers with various years of professional experience. As I began working on these projects, I quickly concluded that to become great at alarm management, I needed to not only be intelligent, pay attention to details, and follow regulations, such as the ISA 18.2, “Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries,” but I also needed to be creative. Since every process is not the same, I had to look at each system with a unique perspective and a creative approach throughout a single alarm rationalization project.

For each alarm management project, I was assigned to assist one engineer at a time. During each meeting with my supervising engineer, the engineer taught me techniques, briefed me on the processes or procedures, or delegated tasks for me to complete individually. I primarily worked on a task that ProSys calls P&ID reconciliation, which required me to be competent in the ProSys work process as well as have an understanding of the chemical processes involved. Therefore, I spent a great amount of time reviewing and analyzing PFDs, P&IDs, DCS displays, HAZOPs, process or flow descriptions, EB files, DM Case Logic Schematics, Not To Exceed Documents (NTE), and other relevant documents that we retrieved from the client as a means of familiarizing myself with the systems in that particular refinery. I utilized the knowledge gained during this initial step to separate the refinery processes into autonomously operating rationalization systems and added essential information to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or Microsoft Access document, which contained Experion or TDC 3000 data that was provided by the client for that project.

I also managed several other aspects of an alarm rationalization project. For instance, I spent weeks working closely with the supervising engineer of the project on a large number of other tasks, which involved rationalizing every alarm in the master alarm database for that project while ensuring that the alarms followed the ISA-18.2 and were in compliance with the alarm philosophy that was either pre-determined by the client or determined at the beginning of the project by the ProSys team and the client. In addition, I was assigned to modify pre-existing dynamic case logic or to create new dynamic case logic for the work processes in the refinery on Microsoft Visio. There were several other challenges that were presented to me that I successfully overcame throughout this experience.

I am very appreciative that I was provided with this opportunity. The ProSys team, talented group of individuals, was very amiable and supportive throughout my entire ProSys internship. As I reflect on this summer, I feel that this internship has assured me that I chose the appropriate career path for me as well as provided me with important skills, necessary tools, and invaluable knowledge that will help me succeed in my career as a chemical engineer, and I am even more excited to see what my future holds.

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