The Collaboration Enabler

Tighter Integration Has the Potential to Increase Both Efficiency and Productivity

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ABB's System 800xA SIS solutions comprise not only the 800xA HI (High Integrity) logic solver, but the entire safety loop of SIL-rated field instruments, controllers and I/O modules, valve positioners and actuators. Highly scalable, System 800xA SIS solutions provide the flexibility to match specific safety functions with actual plant needs. 800xA HI systems are delivered and supported in accordance with the strictest current standards. Among others, System 800xA HI complies with IEC 61508, IEC 61511, EN 954, NFPA 85 and NFPA 72 standards.

Electrical Integration Boosts Performance

While the potential benefits of a unified approach to process automation and power management have long been recognized, past integration efforts often were made both painful and expensive by a hodgepodge of communication protocols as well as barriers among disparate plant departments and supplier organizations. The end result typically was two separate systems awkwardly tied together through complex, custom gateways or hard-wired signals used to bridge the gap for a few select parameters. This methodology had high integration costs, high project risks and high lifecycle costs as well.

Today, however, standardization of process electrification and power distribution systems around the IEC 61850 communication standard has opened the door to using an integrated, collaborative system to accomplish both process automation and power management tasks—and to do them both more effectively.
ABB, an innovator in both power and process worlds, is leading the way with its approach to what it calls "electrical integration." And a growing number of energy-intensive industries already are using this approach to improve plant uptime, increase energy efficiency and even lower capital project and lifecycle costs relative to separate, un-integrated systems.

"Electrical integration," explains Mats Pettersson, ABB product manager for electrical integration, "doesn't replace power distribution SCADA systems, but complements them on the plant site. It provides a common platform for unified operations and allows extended asset management and additional applications like power management to be included in the plant control system."

"Electrical integration saves electrical and installation cost, reduces the possibility of blackouts and minimizes operational costs by non-duplication of systems and staff", Pettersson asserts. "It can reduce investments cost by as much as 20% over the non-integrated, two-control system approach," he adds.

With an integrated approach, energy efficiency can be gained through improved visibility into power consumption as well as through faster plant start-ups. Shell Oil, for example, has reported a 20% productivity improvement through better operator visibility of plant assets. Plant upsets can be resolved more quickly with a plant-wide SOE list. And a smaller combined system footprint can reduce spare part inventories, lower training time, and make for a simpler overall system design with fewer wires but more connectivity.

New energy savings opportunities also can be explored, while existing energy reduction programs can be enhanced. For example, an increase in power consumption by a unit or in an area can indicate equipment malfunction or wear. A recent ARC Advisory Group report indicates that in many cases the potential energy savings attributable to increased visibility can equal 10% of total energy consumption.

"Tighter integration between power and process systems has the potential to increase both efficiency and productivity," adds Peter Terwiesch, ABB chief technology officer. And in this day and age, it's hard to imagine a process manufacturer that couldn't use a generous dose of both. 

Electrical Integration Pays for Petrobras

Faced with the need to expand and modernize the power substation infrastructure at its Repar refinery 400 km south of Sao Paulo, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras recently implemented ABB's integrated process and power architecture. The combination of the substation automation system with the System 800xA process automation system has brought benefits to Petrobras in many arenas—starting with project execution and continuing with daily operations and maintenance.

For starters, simplification of the overall system design resulted in a 25 to 30% reduction in overall project execution time. Critical data is now shared between the DCS and the substation automation system via Ethernet instead of using hundreds of hard-wired signal cables. Operationally, the use of a common, integrated platform already has allowed Petrobras to reduce training costs by 20%. Next up is the integration of maintenance practices among instrumentation, motors, power devices, and IT systems to yield further productivity improvements. The ultimate goal is to reduce unscheduled downtime and increase availability through online monitoring of critical assets using both real-time and historical data collected via the integrated system.

Petrobras has a long-term vision for energy efficiency and is looking to improved visibility to help it deliver. The top areas of concern are motor systems, combined heat and power systems, steam systems, and energy recovery systems. Integrated process and power automation systems as well as high performance drives, advanced controls, emission controls and modernization are key elements of the company's efficiency improvement strategy moving forward.

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