FIELD ENGINEERS PERFORMING LIKE CHAMPIONS IN COVID-19 CRISIS – DEWA SITE, DUBAI, UAE

AIM Region

As the effect of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world, FieldCore’s field engineers (FEs) in the Middle East are showing their true spirit and fighting back with resilience to counter challenges the virus might throw their way.

A prime example of their determination is how – in the midst of the COVID grip on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – a group of FEs stepped out of their “comfort zone” to successfully complete a B-inspection while having to cope with travel restrictions, limited personal experience of the job at hand and the inherent risks associated with the pandemic.

It was imperative to complete the inspection of the Alstom DKE1-1N37RU steam turbine as it not only contributes to overall efficiency of the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) power plant, but it’s also essential for generating 220MW of electricity for use by the entire Emirate of Dubai.

FieldCore’s Ahmed Shahin, Egyptian-born commissioning FE, originally assigned to lead the two-day commissioning scope of the project – which included inspection of all bearings, valves, hydraulic equipment and actuators among other things, was barred from flying to Dubai from Morocco (his assignment at the time) as result of a COVID-19 regional travel ban. 

Anxious to bring the unit back to life quickly, both the customer and outage management team suddenly felt the mounting pressure.

Although highly trained and capable, and with many years’ collective field engineering knowledge among them, Siva Sankar Pendyala, a gas turbine commissioning FE, Tauseef Mangalwad, controls FE, and Josef Rohner, a mechanical FE, all had limited experience of commissioning this particular type of steam turbine.

“Having total understanding of the importance for what it is they are doing – for the company, the customer and ultimately the community at large – these engineers accepted a big responsibility and performed like only champions can.” – Husam Aljuwaiher, FieldCore Service Manager for UAE and Oman.

Determined not to let the customer down, the trio accepted the challenge. With support of their service manager and outage manager, and close collaboration of two customer service managers from the GE Gas Power P&L team, Babar Khan and Ijaz Mohammad, started the work. The team used WhatsApp, Skype calls and mobile phones to get the essential technical advice they needed from Ahmed. He also visually guided them through the operation by sharing pictures of jobs he had previously executed that were similar to this one.

Says Mudathir Nassir, FieldCore’s UAE Outage Manager responsible for DEWA: “We knew we could also draw on the technology of Help Lightning because we have used it very successfully before at this site. But with the photos Ahmed had shared and his expert technical guidance over Skype and phone, the guys coped extremely well.”

Tauseef Mangalwad and Josef Rohner getting remote technical assistance from their colleague Ahmed Shahin who was prevented from traveling to Dubai because of the COVID-19 regional travel restriction.

He adds: “I believe that these three guys on site stepped out of their comfort zone and went above and beyond to deliver for the customer. They acknowledged their limited experience with this model of steam turbine, but yet took it upon them to seize an opportunity during a time of crisis. They had to answer many questions to reassure the customer that they could execute successfully the first time around – and they did. A job well done.”

Husam Aljuwaiher, FieldCore Service Manager for UAE and Oman, says it is never easy for someone to tackle a task they had never attempted before and it “adds a great amount of pressure on them”. He says that more often than not people would not risk it and simply walk away from the challenge.

“However, having total understanding of the importance for what it is they are doing – for the company, the customer and ultimately the community at large – these engineers accepted a big responsibility and performed like only champions can,” Husam says.