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Wireless lets users go into an existing plant and install the appropriate monitors. For example, at BP Bitumen near Brisbane, Australia, two wireless transmitters were deployed quickly to manage fuel delivery from temporary propane tanks that were rushed into service during a shutdown of the regular fuel system. The wireless transmitters allowed BP Bitumen to monitor the temporary propane system until the main fuel system came back on line.
Wireless allows systems integrators and end users to install temporary instrumentation and monitors in various parts of the process to check on developments during process start-ups or turnarounds, and for troubleshooting.
Heat tracing is used in the hydrocarbon industry to keep materials in pipelines and processes at the correct temperature. Wireless makes it possible to monitor heat-tracing temperatures quite easily.
Oil and natural gas wellheads typically are located in remote areas, where wiring and trenching are not practical because of long distances. Wellheads often operate unmanned, are rarely visited by maintenance personnel and are potentially hazardous. Wireless makes it possible to monitor these sites. One example is the more than 600 wireless Emerson devices currently on their way to the Morichal District oil fields of Venezuela. PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, will use the devices to monitor more than 180 wells, delivering pressure and temperature data.
“We need more reliable and accurate measurements for better wellhead control in order to increase production and meet our commitment to the government,” comments Euclides Rojas, automation and IT manager at Morichal. “Our long-term goal is to modernize more than 500 wells. Emerson’s wireless communications technology has proven itself in our rigorous field trials and is the cost-effective solution we’ve been seeking for this purpose.”
Consider a Wireless Field Network When Your Application Has…
While many users choose a wireless instrument network as their first wireless project because of the high ROI, recent advances such as this new Panasonic U1 mobile operator station for Emerson’s DeltaV system, will accelerate the adoption of worker mobility applications. This ultra-lightweight, ruggedized PC is Class 1, Div 2, and includes both WiFi and cellular network connections.
INEOS Köln Prevents Unscheduled Downtime
Emerson Smart Wireless technology is enabling polyethylene maker INEOS to detect blocked filters within polyethylene pellet transportation tubes that can lead to production downtime at its plant in Cologne, Germany.
INEOS produces polyethylene, which is used for a very broad range of products including pipes, packages, films and coating. Polyethylene pellets ready for customer use are transferred to the plants’ silo store through pneumatic conveying systems. Pellets are entrained in streams of air and effectively “blown” from one location to another. The in-coming air is filtered to prevent any pollution of final product. The filters become blocked over time and lose their efficiency, which in turn affects the quality of the end product.
INEOS could have established a preventive maintenance routine and cleaned the filters on a time-based schedule. However, this could mean that filters are cleaned when they don’t need it, or that filters could block between cleanings. Cleaning and unblocking the filters requires INEOS to stop the blowing and that is not good for the process. Should a blockage take place on a weekend, the maintenance costs are higher. INEOS chose to clean the filters on a predictive basis, before they become blocked and lose too much efficiency. By closely monitoring the filter condition the maintenance team can schedule the cleaning work at a time that will minimize the cost and disruption caused.
INEOS explored the possibility of installing an online system that would closely monitor the condition of the filter and ensure availability. Using differential pressure meters it is possible to monitor the condition of the filters online. However, because of the location of these filters, connecting the required measurement points back to the control system using a wired solution was not feasible.
“The filters are very hard to reach and the high cost of installing cabling to connect the devices prevented us from installing the online condition monitoring points we wanted.” explained Frank Mehlkopf, maintenance engineer, INEOS Köln GmbH.
Instead, they turned to wireless. “We found Smart Wireless so easy to use and we are currently testing it at eight filters in our logistic area,” said Mehlkopf. “These transmitters don’t even need to have line of sight to the gateway....We fully intend to take advantage of this.”
Technochem Troubleshoots with Mobile Measurements
“If I see a problem in some part of our process, it is fairly simple for me to take a pressure transmitter and move it elsewhere,” says Jan Huijben, incineration manager at Technochem Environmental Complex (TEC) Pty, Ltd., a provider of waste treatment, incineration and distillation services for pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies in Singapore. “I can often determine what’s going on in just five minutes, address the issue and quickly return the transmitter to its original application.”
Imagine pulling off this nifty troubleshooting trick using the wired tank farm instrumentation the company initially considered when Huijben arrived last year.
Then, an accurate tank level measurement system was needed, along with an automated method of moving that data into a computer database. In addition to using the data for tracking and managing inventories, it was needed to schedule incoming customer delivery and provide customers with order status, including assurance that their chemical wastes had been treated and destroyed.
Today, Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless field network is automating inventory management and monitoring levels in fourteen tanks at TEC. Among the benefits apparent since April 2008 are the elimination of “clipboard rounds,” more accurate real-time data for process efficiency, documentation to verify that specific chemical wastes have been destroyed, and access to the data via the company network. When management personnel are at another site, they can view the process data and order changes if necessary. Electronic connection of select data for customers is being developed.
In an unanticipated bonus, some of the fourteen Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters are moved from place to place to aid in troubleshooting and new process development in TEC’s continuous improvement culture. “The flexibility of Emerson’s self-organizing wireless technology makes it much easier to troubleshoot problems as well as evaluate new applications,” says Huijben. Indeed, TEC is planning further use of Smart Wireless. “At first, we thought this technology was too expensive for us,” Huijben adds, “but we now believe we are saving money with it.”
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