The HART Communication Foundation (www.hartcomm.org) has selected the MOL Plc Danube Refinery, Százhalombatta, Hungary, as recipient of the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award showcases end users who have demonstrated creativity in the application of HART Communication.
In 2002, MOL engineers made the strategic decision to install HART-enabled devices throughout their operation and to utilize all the benefits of HART communication, both wired and wireless, in the broadest possible scope. This decision was part of a plant-wide refining maintenance strategy with an objective to increase operational reliability.
"We made the decision going forward to purchase intelligent field instruments that support the HART Protocol, and then to develop and use the in-depth and sophisticated communication options embedded in those HART instruments," says Gábor Bereznai, MOL's instrumentation and electrical department head. "Our directive became, 'Let's get connected—off-line and on-line—and put these HART instruments to work.'"
Connecting HART-enabled devices into an on-line diagnostics system has changed the way the MOL maintenance department runs its operation. On-line device diagnostics—instrument signals going directly to the plant maintenance and control systems—makes it possible to prevent unplanned shutdowns and plant slow-downs by allowing engineers to detect and resolve automation asset problems before they become critical.
According to MOL maintenance engineers, since the introduction of HART diagnostics at the refinery, the number of valves selected for repair during a planned shutdown has dropped from 60% to about 5%. In fact, the system works so well and has proved to be so beneficial that the company decided to set up a separate unit of three people to operate the applications and systems.
The use of HART diagnostics has resulted in MOL's saving an estimated $2 million USD in reduced maintenance costs and in avoided unscheduled shutdowns.
"On-line diagnostics provided by the HART instruments does something more than preventive maintenance," says József Bartók, automation engineer at MOL Danube Refinery. "It ensures the stable operation of the system and increases the precision of control. This is an aspect of the technology that comes directly to the bottom line, increasing the profit generating capability of the unit."
More than 30,000 of the plant’s 50,000 instruments are HART-enabled with 3700 of these HART devices—mostly control valves and instruments used in critical control loops—connected directly into computerized maintenance management systems.
The MOL Group is Hungary’s leading regional independent oil and gas company, and one of the largest corporations in central and southeastern Europe. The 162,000 bbl per day capacity MOL Danube Refinery near Budapest has 1200 employees.
The HART Plant of the Year award is given annually to recognize the people, companies and plant sites around the world using the advanced capabilities of HART communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability. Previous recipients include Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan); Petropiar PVSDA (Venezuela); StatoilHydro (Norway); BP Canada Energy (Canada); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); BP Cooper River (USA) and Clariant (Germany); Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (USA); and DuPont (USA).