Far From Quiet on the Wireless Front

From Power-Gen to Petrochem, Fiber Production to Gas Distribution, Wireless Field Networks Continue to Prove Their Process Automation Mettle

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wireless temperature and pressure transmitters
At Nu-West Industries in Soda Spring, Idaho, a series of wireless temperature and pressure transmitters enable more precise process control by measuring process conditions at various points in this vertical reactor.

Transmissions from the remote tank at Nu-West are received by a Smart Wireless Gateway and channeled via the PlantWeb digital plant architecture to the DeltaV automation system where the AMS Suite predictive maintenance software recognizes readings that are out of the norm, enabling operators to take action to control the reactions in the tank.

Safety and production improved at Chevron

At Chevron’s San Ardo, Calif., U.S., oil field, the company boosted personnel safety, has reduced wastewater discharge, and improved time and strategy for production by utilizing two Smart Wireless networks to monitor its steam injection process and measure down-hole well pressures.

Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters are installed at eight stations and on multiple steam lines leading to out-of-service wells undergoing steam injection at the company’s operations in the San Joaquin Valley. Chevron switched to wireless monitoring after a Smart Wireless demonstration on one well confirmed an operator’s suspicion that steam usage was actually much higher than what had been previously recorded.

“The Smart Wireless transmitter in the demo uncovered that we were injecting four times as much steam as needed into this particular well,” says Paul Kinne, Chevron head operator.  The over-steaming created more wastewater, which had to be pumped from the well and treated before being discharged into wetlands draining into the Salinas River. The over-steaming also meant the company used more natural gas than necessary to produce the steam.

Operator safety has been improved and maintenance and travel costs reduced at the oil field because of the wireless technology. Personnel no longer need to visit the injection wells to collect data from traditional chart recorders or to check instruments for proper operation. The robust, self-organizing wireless network includes a Smart Wireless gateway, which communicates reliable data to the oil field’s control room via an Ethernet network connection.

“In addition, operators no longer need to make and break high pressure and temperature connections, so their safety is improved,” says Kinne.

Chevron estimates that having the correct steaming measurements has saved the company 14 days of production four times each year, worth more than $100,000 annually. Smart Wireless also saved $60,000 in installations costs relative to hard wiring.

“The new wireless system is reliable and has passed our rigorous IT security review,” adds Mohammad Heidari, Chevron automation engineer. “Installation was easy and we haven’t had any problems.”

Environmental compliance enabled at Lenzing

At the Lenzing Fibers mill in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, a Smart Wireless network is enabling the company to meet local government regulations related to the temperature of water discharged into rivers and watercourses.
“The Emerson technology was both easy to install and integrate and has been extremely reliable in terms of data transfer,” says Wolfgang Gotzi, head of automation and maintenance. “When all the transmitters were in place the network offered us a communications reliability of 100%, which is very impressive.”

Lenzing Fibers, a winner of the European Business Awards for the Environment, is the world’s largest producer of Tencel fibers. The Heiligenkreuz fibers plant uses water drawn from a local river for cooling purposes. Local environmental regulations require that the water returned to the river must not be more than 3 degrees Celsius higher than the water extracted. The regulations also stipulate that the company must maintain a constant check and record of the water temperature at both inlet and outlet points.

“Because of the distance of the River Lafnitz from the control room and the fact people are free to walk by the river, we would have had to dig a trench for the cabling and this would have been very expensive,” said Gotzi. “The cost of installing wireless is much lower and has made this project possible.”

Prior to the regulation being introduced, Lenzing was already monitoring the water temperatures manually involving daily visits to the river. However to meet the environmental regulation there was a need to improve the reliability of the results and for these measurements to be easily stored and be made readily available for inspection. By implementing a solution that enabled online measurements, Lenzing Fibers reduced operations costs and streamlined reporting.

Pipeline upgrade streamlined at Bord Gáis

Emerson Smart Wireless technology is being used to help monitor an expansive natural gas pipeline distribution system as part of an upgrade to Bord Gáis’ Above Ground Installations (AGIs) in Ireland. New Rosemount wireless devices have replaced aging hard-wired devices as part of a trial to decide the future ‘specification’ of such sites going forward and for other sites that are due upgrades. Existing AGIs reaching the end of their lifespan are being upgraded with the latest instrumentation. One such site was at Middleton, near Cork, where a number of instruments needed to be upgraded with the latest temperature and pressure transmitters.

“Having adopted GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) as a “back up” communications technology for our RTUs we were very comfortable with wireless,”  says Frank Smiddy, communication & instrumentation engineer, Bord Gáis. “We like to think that we are very forward thinking and open to new ideas and we are always looking to improve our service using the latest technology.”

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