Why we need Subject Matter Experts

By David Sear
This interview was originally conducted for Valve World India and Middle East.

Seasoned industry expert Mr. Mrinal Das kindly discusses his new role with specialty chemical manufacturer Dorf Ketal and looks at some of the valve challenges currently being faced. Along the way, he highlights the huge potential for young engineers to develop rewarding careers in flow control, and encourages them to become Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

Mr. Das is a busy man. A very busy man. When VWIME caught up with him, for example, it was already late in the evening in Gujarat yet he had only just checked into his hotel. By way of explanation, he says he would be visiting a project site on the following day – just one of three projects he is currently running as Senior Vice President with his new company, Dorf Ketal.
Quickly zooming in on the typical valve requirements of new-build plants for speciality chemicals, Mr. Das indicates that his organisation makes full use of a wide range of categories, such as manual and actuated on-off valves, control valves and pressure relief valves.
“Globe valves, check valves, quarter-turn models like ball and butterfly valves, you name it, and we will have it at our plants.”
Asked about his main valve challenges as regards project activities, Mr. Das noted that good quality standard valves are readily available. Nevertheless, challenges can crop up.
“One hurdle for example is finding items such as bellow seal valves, ethylene oxide valves, cryogenic valves, etc, in the right quality. Next challenge is in ensuring long-lead items such as engineered valves but also heat exchang-ers, reactors, pumps, etc, all reach the project site at the arranged time. This takes thorough advance preparation as nowadays projects are almost invariably run on a short timescale.” Interestingly, the ongoing Covid situation has also thrown up some unexpected issues for Mr. Das to deal with. “The general expectation was that the pandemic would cause the economy to shrink, but in many sectors, such as specialty chemicals, business really is booming. Hence it is hard to find skilled people which is a major challenge for new projects. And whilst we have all adapted to virtual meetings, some issues – especially technical matters, are much easier to resolve face-to-face.”

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