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tkIS India - The Extended Workbench

Recognizing & Realizing the Potential

The demonstration of Uhde GmbH’s vision to fully equip its Indian group company tkIS India (then Uhde India Limited), started early. In the mid 80s, Uhde systematically began familiarizing the engineering teams of tkIS India with the UTE (Uhde Total Engineering) systems, codes and standards on projects in its fertilizer technology portfolio for Nitrates & Nitrogenous Fertilisers – namely Ammonia, Ammonium Nitrate, Urea Ammonium Nitrate & Calcium Ammonium Nitrate. Technology portfolio aside, the decision went well with vision Uhde GmbH had for the India region – a growing nation with an agrarian economy, the country would need fertilizer plants in the years ahead. The fertilizer sector therefore became the first to be selected for synergy with the group company.

The mid 80s to early 90s witnessed a number of engineering heads from Dortmund visit tkIS India to oversee the growing competencies of the Indian team.

Synergy Starts

In 1988, Uhde entrusted tkIS India with what would be the first in a long line of ‘Workshare Projects’ when the Detailed Engineering and Construction Supervision for a mega project for the implementation of an Ammonia-Nitric Acid-Ammonium Nitrate complex for Abu Qir Fertilizers in Egypt was awarded. The project was a harbinger for other important and mega-sized projects in field of Nitrate Fertilisers. In subsequent years, Uhde GmbH would call on tkIS India to support them by way of Detail Engineering for its projects in Thailand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Myanmar, Algeria, USA and Egypt (see timeline). Some of these projects, like the SAFCO project witnessed the mega task force being located in India, with a multi-cultural team of specialists.

How the workbench status was achieved

  • tkIS India acquires new projects based on group portfolio technology

  • Increases workforce to execute new projects. Within a decade of start-up, team strength raised to 350 in 1987 (seven-fold increase)

  • tkIS India engineering specialists assimilate expertise in Uhde GmbH systems, working methods – following deputations and training imparted to teams by parent company specialists. Indian experts work in coordination with experts from Germany in lead roles including EM, Area Manager, Lead Engineer etc

  • tkIS India adopts UTE working methods and tools, and achieves Quality Certification on lines of Uhde GmbH

  • Engineering software is introduced in line with customer requirements and industry trends. CAD and PDMS replace engineering drawings done through traditional methods like drafting

  • tkIS India initiates a Knowledge Management System for projects completed. Lessons Learned Sessions and exhaustive databases are put in place and encouraged

  • Standardisation is introduced for all major working processes

  • tkIS India experts participate in global engineering meets in lead positions

  • tkIS India develops expertise in engineering projects based on third party technologies, associating with world-class licensors

Landmark Projects - Fertilizers

SAFCO, Saudi Arabia

Ammonia-Urea Complex with Reformer Package

CF Industries Holdings, USA

Complexes for Ammonia-Urea-Urea Granulation & Ammonia-Urea-NA-UAN

Landmark Projects - Petrochemicals

Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company, Egypt

Propylene/Polyproylene Complex

QAPCO Petrochemical Co., Qatar

Low Density Polyethylene Plant

Landmark Projects - Caustic-Soda Chlorine

Qatar Vinyl Corporation, Qatar

Integrated grassroot Caustic Soda-Chlorine | EDC-VCM complex.

Tesenderlo Chemie

Caustic Soda-Chlorine Conversion to Membrane Cell Project

World’s largest single train Ammonia Urea complex with Reformer Package

Spotlight - SAFCO Saudi Arabia

tkIS India rendered Detail Engineering Services to main contractor (tkIS Germany). The complex was handed over to the customer in 2007.

Owner: Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company (SAFCO), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

EPC contractor: UHDE Gmbh, Germany

Engineering Contractor: tkIS India (Uhde India), Mumbai, India

Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Co, KSA: Customer

tkIS Germany: Main Contractor

tkIS India: Detail Engineering

This is the world’s largest Single Train Ammonia Plant of 3300 MTPD.  The Ammonia Plant utilized Uhde’s Dual Pressure Technology.  The complete Engineering for this mega Ammonia / Urea / Utilities & Offsites complex was carried out by tkIS India from their Mumbai and Pune offices together. 

The magnitude of the job can be summarized by the following highlights:

  • 360

    No. of P&Ids

  • 660

    No. of Equipment (incl. of steam turbines -25 Nos. & Compressors-15 Nos.)

  • 6,350

    No. of Pipelines

  • 9,000+

    Tonnage of Pipelines


No. of P&Ids


No. of Equipment (incl. of steam turbines -25 Nos. & Compressors-15 Nos.)


No. of Pipelines


Tonnage of Pipelines

  • 1,800+

    No. of Civil & Structural Drawings

  • 9,300+

    I/O Count

  • 1,300 km

    Electrical Cables

  • 50,000 m³

    Quantum of Concrete


No. of Civil & Structural Drawings


I/O Count

1,300 km

Electrical Cables

50,000 m³

Quantum of Concrete

Major Units and Their Capacities

  • 3,300 mtpd

    Ammonia plant (dual pressure)

  • 3,250 mtpd

    Urea Plant

  • 3,600 mtpd

    Urea Granulation plant (single stream)

3,300 mtpd

Ammonia plant (dual pressure)

3,250 mtpd

Urea Plant

3,600 mtpd

Urea Granulation plant (single stream)

  • Special requirements addressed involving innovative working

  • First time Piping, electrical and instrumentation bulk procurement engineering handled from tkIS India. tkIS India assisted tkIS Germany with technical bid, and order requisitions via SAP MM.

  • First time implementation of ICAPS for MC systems. tkIS India assisted tkIS Germany for providing inputs from various engineering application e.g. Comos EQ, Comos EI, IRP etc.

  • First time handling of voluminous documents through DMS.

  • Typical engineering day (control room meetings, LE briefing, customer-tkIS team meeting, project review meeting etc

  • Project execution was in Task Force concept. Every day started with a brief overview meeting in the morning of all the key Managers from the Task Force to share critical issues closure followed by detailed meetings / resolutions as the day progressed. Meetings were very focused and  open to find options / solutions to meet project commitments.

  • Task force size and composition

  • At the peak more than 350 engineering professionals were deployed for the job. It involved approx. 450,000 man-hours of engineering and project management from tkIS India.

  • Project milestones vis a vis schedule

  • From effective date contact in April 2003, it took approx. 20 month for completion of major engineering and total 36 months for commissioning of the plant

  • Commendations from customer

  • Model review with client were conducted successfully on 4th , 7th  and 10th  months from EDC at tkIS Germany with complete satisfaction of SABIC customer

Major Engineering, Site, Cultural Challenges

  • Project scope for tkIS India, included participation in Basic Engineering, Complete Detail Engineering, Procurement services (Piping, Electrical and Instrumentation Bulks), Construction supervision services and Commissioning services for the above mentioned plants.

  • Engineering for the complete complex was carried out using 3D PDMS Tool with various agencies across the globe being integrated using state-of-the-art communication tools and systems.

  • Engineering for such a Mega Complex of very large capacity poses several challenges in designing large-size equipments, such as - single reformer with high number of  tubes; high pressure equipments with design pressure 240 bar & temperature 350º C and pipelines with design pressure 235 bar & temperature 493º C, utilizing sophisticated stress analysis techniques especially for rotary equipments e.g. compressors, steam turbines, Semi lean solvent pumps etc.

  • The undergrounds posed huge challenge to engineering due to the laying of 72” GRP cooling water / sea water network amidst electrical cable trenches, foundations and other plant drain systems.

Special Synergy Between tkIS and Us; Roles Played by Indian Specialists

  • Approx. 65 engineers from various disciplines from tkIS India participated in Basic engineering at tkIS Germany with total deputation of approx.180 man months. Stress analysis ( Limit 1/2/3) for complex rotating equipment e.g. compressors, steam turbines etc. were completely handled by tkIS India stress engineers. tkIS Germany conducted review by specialist.

  • 10 Key specialist from tkIS Germany for engineering disciplines manly for Piping and Civil were deputed to tkIS India. Project Engineering Director was stationed in tkIS India. Specialists from other disciplines, stress analysis were on short term visits as required.

Safco-4 project execution brought out the very best of tkIS India capabilities and expertise to the forefront, in terms of Technical knowledge, RFC documents, sheer volume handling, critical interface management, IT tools & systems, procurement services and resource management for the project success. With the continual support and collaboration of tkIS AG as a global team, tkIS India delivered the worlds first largest single train Ammonia plant with engineering excellence to the satisfaction of the customer.  The project execution also nurtured the competition to excel and deliver between the Ammonia, Urea and O&U plants for the project
S Gnanasekar
Engineering Manager for the SAFCO Project
To work on project like SAFCO-4 full of engineering complexities and challenges, is like a dream come true for any Piping Lead engineer in his professional career. Finalization of layouts during the initial phase of detail engineering, design and stress analysis for extensive high pressure and high temperature steam network including steam turbine drives, engineering of ammonia synthesis loop with dual pressure technology and handling of massive network of large bore sea water and cooling water piping were few of the engineering accomplishments in this project.
A.P. Kelkar
Piping Lead Engineer for the SAFCO Project

The Extended Workbench at work

Over 50 major path-breaking projects across the globe involving some of the largest plants in the most challenging conditions