Professor Javier Blasco: A practical and accessible master for a world in constant evolution

The coordinator of Master in Rotative Equipment at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, reveals Predictiva21 the details from this high studies proposal which has been so well accepted worldwide.

Rotative equipments happen to be one of the most important aspects of the industry in general, and their applicability and use is present in almost all the activities inherent to production. These equipments are, within the industry, the ones in charge of managing the pressure change in any oil, gas or water system, hence the vital importance of studying and understanding them.

Regarding this, the University of Zaragoza, Spain has created a Master in Rotative Equipment, whose virtual character has made it a reference in international studies. It coordinator, Professor Javier Blasco, talked to Predictiva21 about this pedagogical initiative and the impact it has had among the fourth level students.

P21: How and when is the Rotative Equipment post-graduate born?

Javier Blasco: In the summer of 2012, Engineer Daniel Méndez, Head of Department of Rotative Equipments from INITEC – Técnicas Reunidas, contacted me to assess the possibility of implementing a post-graduate course at the University of Zaragoza (UZ), destined to rotative equipment engineers. We met in Madrid and immediately connected and gave the go to a proposal well received by the UZ. This allowed the first edition of October 2013.

P21: What event or market need boosted the creation of this studies segment? How have the studies of rotative equipments evolved in time?

JB: Engineer Rafael Méndez commented that in Spain it was complicated to find engineers trained on rotative equipments. Daniel knew other internationally known Masters but they didn´t work on line. Rotative Equipment technology has evolved rapidly since the development of airplane turbines, which has made the need of understanding this world more necessary for any engineer who would like to specialize in this area. Studies in this field were originally proposed on a regular attendance mode; however, with the globalization of internet we have considered offering a worldwide masters online. Our main difference with the rest of the other masters is that ours is very practical and each instructor is specialized because they regularly work on the subject they teach.

P21: How has this masters been received? What is the impact you consider it may have among the new professionals in the field?

JB: The first edition (October 2013) had two hundred followers. From this group, we selected the best fifty. Finally, 36 engineers enrolled. We thought that the engineers formed by the UZ will have an excellent preparation to perform with great confidence in the Department of Rotative Equipments from any engineer, refinery, petrochemical or related field within the Oil & Gas Renewable Energies.

P21: What is the maximum amount of students you allow and where do they mainly come from?

JB: The maximum number of students is 40. We have engineers from all over the world: from Canada to Malaysia, including Spain, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, India and Lybia.

P21: Doesn´t the fact that the Master is offered in the on line mode represent and inconvenience for real-scenario study cases, like those at the companies? How do you give it a practical/ experimental character?

JB: This has not been a problem at all. The students have the possibility of establishing a high degree of interaction with their professors. Two meetings are arranged via web conference for each module. Also, the professors are always available to clarify the doubts during the forums. The masters has a predominantly practical focus since its beginnings: the majority of the professors are engineers with vast experience in different engineering and petrochemical areas. Besides, the students face practical exercises based on real cases at the industry.

P21: This Masters has incorporated enterprises like SIM and Hitachi to enrich the educational process. How has this experience been? What can the students expect from this interaction with such highly qualified professionals in this area?

JB: The participation of enterprises like the ones mentioned has been very beneficial for the students since it allows them to know the last advances in engineering of rotative equipments first hand.

P21: You were part of the supporting team at the Rotative Equipment, Reliability and Maintenance Conference which took place on April this same year. What did this experience mean to you? What can you tell us about the conference, its development and impact among your audience?

JB: For Engineer Daniel Méndez and me, it was a real honor to be chosen for this position. Our job was to select the topics to be discussed during the conference and suggest specialists who would talk about each one. This conference allowed us to be in touch with many professionals and companies from the field.

P21: Just as you have incorporated expert enterprises to enrich and raise the quality of the Master, have you thought about the possibility of having exchanges with other universities that possess specializations in the field?

JB: We know that these collaborations would be very enriching for the professors and alumni of the master as well. For this reason, we don’t discard establishing contacts in the future.

P21: Within the chain of value of a service company, rotative equipments are considered highly critical for being exposed to extreme conditions, although not being the most expensive, and shutting them jeopardizes any operation. How do you view this particularity of the rotative equipment (and their role in the chain of value) in your pensum?

JB: Within the pensum, there are two subjects considering this aspect: Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Reliability. These two modules give the students the necessary criteria and the tools that enable them to evaluate the impact of rotative equipment in real situations within a process plant.

Rotating Equipment

Javier Blasco:

University professor with research background (1993 -2004) and a profile oriented towards the industry (2007 – now). Currently: Associated Professor, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza (Spain). School of Engineering and Architecture. Masters in Piping Engineering, since 2013. Masters in Rotative Equipment, since 2013. Consultant at the International Institute of Plan Design and Engineering, Holland. Masters in Problem-Based Learning, University of Aalborg (Denmark), 2012.

Text: Alimey Diaz Martí
Translation: Richard J. Skinner
Photos: Courtesy of Prof. Javier Blasco

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