On the fifth floor overlooking Paris is Tebodin Peters Engineering France’s engineering design office (part of the German group Bilfinger). This team of engineers and designers works closely together under the supervision of Kai Erben. Together they have a great amount of experience, most of which within the company. One may ask: what exactly is a design office? Although it is hard to find a real definition, our engineers certainly have the answer to what they believe their work consists of. “An engineer’s design office is a team specialised in the applied sciences of converting theoretical studies to the actual conception of engineering solutions” they say proudly. The office manager even goes so far as to tell me: “To me, it is the concentrate of intellect, a very efficient machine capable of solving all our clients’ problems, be them simple or of the extremely complex”.
All these proud members of the team come from various educational backgrounds. With mechanical or civil engineering degrees, they have all worked in numerous positions. One thing is sure though, be it as a piping or industrial plant designer, calculation engineer or CAO administrator, they all work in the nuclear energy sector for the same reason: a conviction that there is where the future lies. “Indeed” they tell me “there is no other way of producing such an important and continuous source of energy with as little impact on the environment.” Each of them specialises in his own field and therefore complements the others, making a very efficient and high-performing team. However, this design office really specialises in CAD, 3D modelling and most of all piping design and engineering; all of which experience high demand.
Two major projects can be mentioned: Kuraray’s expansion of one of its biggest chemical plants and the development of an Ultimate Emergency Diesel for EDF as a part of their post Fukushima programs to bring the 58 French reactors to a new security standard. They also have many more long-time projects Laserscanning, a revolutionary time-saving technology allowing the precise scanning of a plant in its current state in order to be remodelled in 3D using an in-house developed software. Tebodin Peters Engineering has been using this technology for over a decade and has therefore acquired extensive knowledge in this field.
When asked if there were many challenges, Mr Erben laughed: “You have no idea how hectic the days get here, it’s like a roller coaster, everything is urgent, there are constant changes in the planning, there are always problems popping up and constant changes in the clients’ demands”. It is clear though that those challenges are the team’s “raison d’être”. What they enjoy the most and what they are the best at is taking up the challenges and solving the problems and you wouldn’t believe the unmeasurable sense of satisfaction at the end of each day when the work is done.
I asked Mr Erben how he saw the future of his team. “The way I see it,” he answered proudly, “there are four aspects in the development of our activities:
$1- Engineering services
$1- Becoming a unique specialist in Laser Scanning technology
$1- Becoming major actor in layout and industrial plant design
$1- A training centre, a bit like Parris Island in Full Metal Jacket. Indeed we know our clients and their needs more than anyone else so when engineers come out of our centre, they will be tailored to those needs and ready to work with our clients straight away”
“The quality and know-how of our team is our main key for success and the future is looking very promising. TPEF has an unquestionable experience in the nuclear field and we are experts and have a very good relationship with our clients (such as AREVA, EDF and Sofinel). We have worked together for years now and we know them all by their first names. They trust us and most of all know that we are always available. We are strategically implanted near them meaning that if they have any problems, even the slightest, they can count on us to be on site with them within minutes. Our daily priority is to deliver quality and to continue becoming better by the day in order to develop efficient and unique methods; thus becoming unavoidable partners within the process industry.