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Jean-Charles Guilhem's interview

The importance of sharing experience to pass the baton


A check into the rear-view mirror is a surprising experience when you meet with PCIC committee members. You enter the rough cycles of an industry characterized by harsh environments and non-negotiable safety and security requirements.

Jean-Charles Guilhem missed the first PCIC Europe conferences, since the launch in 2004, but has caught up since. As Chair of PCIC Europe from 2013 to 2016 he doubled the attendance at PCIC Europe and launched PCIC Middle East. Currently in the role of General Assembly Board Chair, he consolidates the organisation of PCIC Europe for further development and helps the committee to take over new challenges and facilitate decision making.

For those who didn’t know, PCIC is about volunteering. The prerequisite for success is the discipline of all committee members and sponsors to avoid any commercial bias. Then, reciprocity applies and end-users, EPCs and manufacturers can share lessons learned from the field.

“This continuous and mutual share is crucial”, says Jean-Charles and mentions the revealing example of the variable speed drives. “Imagine standard equipment with up to let’s say 80MW motors. All of a sudden you have the VSDs and can increase the capacity in a revolutionary way.”

“Everything and its contrary was said - and also done”, he recalls.

This is a typical metamorphosis where PCIC, by sharing best practices and analysing failures, gains insight and can clarify the situation thus facilitating the integration of innovation in the industry.

Jean-Charles takes another example: “When the offshore took the dive and subsea became hot, every manufacturer began to develop their in-house design for connectors. Just imagine the mess for the deployment of a project where the main challenge consists in connecting the incompatible.”

“It is our responsibility to take into account project budgets by introducing common standards”, Jean-Charles adds. “This is the way we prevent accidents, avoid downtime and ultimately save money in the industry”.

He mentions the ATEX directive as another example. “We work in hazardous environments and the explosive atmosphere reaches far beyond the industrial site. How do we protect employees and residents in these areas? What is needed to comply with the very latest updates?”.

“Our role also is to demystify rules and regulations”, Jean-Charles says. And it is necessary to do it together, all stakeholders gathered around the table.

The digital age again requires understanding of new concepts, transformation and adaptation.

“This adventure is never-ending”, says Jean-Charles Guilhem. That is why the annual events PCIC Europe and the PCIC Middle East on-board more young engineers at every conference - to consolidate the current and jointly assist innovation.

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