Pinpoint Faults—and Opportunities
Improving efficiency and productivity isn't just about finding and correcting faults. It's also about identifying new opportunities: using the advanced diagnostic capabilities of high-performance instrumentation to gain deeper insight into asset capabilities and allowing the plant to run as closely as possible to its actual limitations.
If it's difficult to imagine how or where to start, Emerson instrument consultants can lend a fresh perspective, helping to identify what steps to take to increase productivity. They'll bring new ideas, technology and best practices and can even help train employees, making experienced personnel even more effective and getting new employees up to speed faster.
Wireless technology in particular, is enabling many process plants to think outside the box of "traditional" process instrumentation applications. In fact, wireless is creating whole new categories of instrument applications, such as the wireless monitoring of steam traps and pressure relief valves.
Barking Power Limited, for example, is using 35 Rosemount 708 Wireless Acoustic Transmitters to identify troublesome steam traps, as well as leaking pressure relief valves at its combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station in London. Barking Power Station, operated by Thames Power Services, is one of the largest independently-owned generating plants in the U.K., capable of generating 1,000 MW of electricity – about 2% of the peak electricity demand in England and Wales. To remain competitive in the deregulated UK power generation market, the plant makes continual improvements to increase plant availability and efficiency, which in turn help reduce overall unit generating cost.
"The margins are so small nowadays that finding all these small leaks adds up to substantial amounts of money over time, so we're looking to improve all areas of the plant" explains Tony Turp, control system technical specialist.
The plant installed 15 additional acoustic transmitters to monitor other problematic areas, including pressure relief valves that don't seat correctly. Previous manual monitoring was not only time-consuming but also failed to indicate exactly when a release occurred, increasing the chances of a safety, regulatory or environmental incident, and a potential fine. The new wireless devices enable precise monitoring and alert operators when valves have opened for as little as a single second.
Using the wireless networks already in place, additional devices can be added at much lower cost than if they had to be wired-in individually. This provides Barking Power with additional opportunities where monitoring was previously cost prohibitive. Barking also has used Emerson Smart Wireless THUM Adaptors on existing instruments in order to connect them into the network, liberating the stranded diagnostic capabilities of existing wired devices.
It's not just process efficiency that can benefit from the right instrumentation choices. People can be more productive, too. At Emerson Process Management, human centered design (HCD) principles are being applied across the company's products and solutions, with the aim of making them easier to engineer and procure, install and use—essentially over the entire lifecycle of an instrument.
Device dashboards, device diagnostics and local interfaces—all designed with a common, intuitive "look and feel" across the breadth of Rosemount products—ease calibration, configuration and troubleshooting tasks. Ease of installation and stable, reliable operation further minimize initial and ongoing field work requirements.
Help When You Need It
In addition to bringing to market products that ease user measurement tasks, Emerson continues to invest in people that can help along the way. In fact, Emerson Process Management has added more than 4,000 service personnel to its ranks since 2005 and plans to increase its global service staff at approximately twice the industry growth rate for the next four years. The rapid growth is part of a strategic expansion of project and support services to meet the growing needs of customers. These service professionals are trained according to global standards to ensure they provide the same high level of expertise anywhere in the world.
"Not only do customers require large amounts of engineering effort for design, commissioning and startup, but once they're up and running they need prompt, dependable support services to stay at peak efficiency," says Steve Sonnenberg, president, Emerson Process Management.
Indeed, Emerson realizes that managing all the moving pieces of a new implementation can be a complex job. Instead of assigning an internal project manager that may not be dedicated to one project, the Emerson Project Management Office (PMO) is available to help manage a full range of project logistics—from scheduling shipments to providing safety and compliance-related documentation.
"Our project managers will ensure your project is delivered on schedule and on budget, and that it will work to your specifications after deployment," Sonnenberg said. "We're committed to helping our customers close their performance gaps wherever we can."