Marathon Petroleum's Instrument Management Journey

Field Device and Asset Manager Software Helps Realize Predictive, Proactive Maintenance Strategies

By Jim Montague

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Everyone wants to see into the future, but it can be a little disorienting when you actually do.

In the world of process instrumentation, this means moving from reactive instrument maintenance to predictive/proactive maintenance and using software packages like Honeywell Process Solutions' Field Device Manager (FDM) and Asset Manager (AM) to help make these new practices a reality, according to David Parkhurst, project manager at Marathon Petroleum Co.'s Michigan Refining Division refinery in southwest Detroit. FDM and AM are time machines that let users access the future performance of their equipment and systems, Parkhurst says, so they can fix them before they fail. However, securing these gains also requires moving from a traditional reactive mindset to a new proactive one.

The Detroit refinery's instrument maintenance staffers used to be notified of device problems and breakdowns among its 10,000 instrumentation devices, reacting with the usual work orders and repairs. Now, as part of its control system reliability (CSR) initiative in 2010 to replace its aged DCS with Honeywell Process Solutions' (HPS) Experion Series C controls on crude blending, boiler feedwater and other systems, the refinery just added FDM to its servers and is preparing to implement AM as well.

"Marathon's core values include continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental stewardship, and our CSR program with FDM and AM are helping us achieve them more effectively," said Parkhurst. "Our goal is to be a completely needs-based and predictive-maintenance organization." Parkhurst presented "FDM and AM—Continuous Improvement at Work" this week at the Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas Symposium in San Antonio, Texas.

Two Tools, Two Perspectives

Conceptually, Marathon is lumping FDM and AM into a joint "Instrument Management System." The FDM side enables better commissioning, more efficient technicians, safety, reduced call-ins, improved troubleshooting and greater process reliability by identifying problems before they get too big. Soon, AM will provide better organized data, maintenance planning, reporting, health monitoring, needs-based preventive maintenance and integration with the plant's computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

In practice, FDM provides remote access, setup methods and diagnosis of smart instruments and process control devices. It also delivers current alarm states of devices and provides an audit trail for actions performed. In short, Marathon's instrument maintenance goals are possible because FDM acts like an Internet browser, Parkhurst says, allowing users to access device description (DD) and electronic device description (EDD) files.

Meanwhile, AM is a process-centric, advanced performance monitoring tool. It gathers information about the condition of plant assets from Experion PKS through industry-standard OPC protocols; monitors, tracks and reports on the reliability of assets; applies sophisticated fault models to detect impending failures; categorizes faults and prioritizes assets. The upcoming AM project will develop custom fault models; rank the asset criticality of more than 10,000 devices; optimize the refinery's work practices; deploy the application to end users; and develop future recommendations for the maintenance organization, including CMMS integration and needs-based, predictive and preventive maintenance.

"To implement FDM and AM, we also knew our approach would have to include reevaluating our workflows from detection to action," explained Parkhurst. "So we also developed an FDM lab to test devices for fieldbus capability, make sure devices report what their users want, and deploy and install FDM where needed. About 60% of our project costs were lab development, engineering and training, while 40% went to FDM software, licenses and computer hardware."

Troubleshooting Streamlined

Besides preventing operational problems, breakdowns and downtime, FDM is reducing the Detroit refinery's troubleshooting time by more than 50%, driving unproductive time to near zero and only requiring field time to implement specific fixes. It's also improving process reliability and output by helping ensure the correct device is being used, such as when monitoring process ranges, and is enabling remote and advanced valve diagnostics with a needs-based turnaround scope.

"In the past, when problems were detected, instrument technicians were sent to troubleshoot. However, they didn't have enough of the right device information and risked wasting their time," added Parkhurst. "Now, FDM detects and shows specific information about pressure transmitter failures, level transmitter calibration problems and other issues, so our instrument group is armed with the right knowledge, knows what equipment to bring to the field, and can even correct problems prior to failures.

"One of the best returns is that FDM empowers our instrument group," Parkhurst said. "So where they used to just react and repair, now they're data-driven and can help the company take preventive action that improves operations."

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