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Smart Wireless Innovators Make the Connection

Sept. 29, 2009
And the Winner Is... Emerson Process Management Announces the Winners of Its 2009 Smart Wireless Innovators Application Contest

To recognize creativity and business value from applications of its Smart Wireless solutions, Emerson Process Management announced the winners of its 2009 Smart Wireless Innovators Application Contest at the 2009 Emerson Global Users Exchange in Orlando, Fla. A cross-industry panel of end-user judges selected CalPortland's rotating cement kiln monitoring as Most Innovative, and CHS and Severstal Wheeling as co-winners for Best Business Results.

The award for innovation went to CalPortland, a manufacturer and distributor of cement and concrete in the southwestern U.S., for its application to monitor a rotating 540-ft-long, 13-ft-diameter cement kiln at its plant in Glendora, Calif. The wireless devices rotate with the cement kiln at almost two times per minute and help the company meet nitrogen-oxide emissions regulations. The rotation, extreme temperature, cement dust and location of the kiln made using a wired solution impossible.

"CalPortland had a problem with noxious emissions and needed to put monitoring on a rotating kiln," explained Bob Karschnia, Emerson's vice president of wireless Rosemount Measurement. "It's extremely hot, and there's a lot of dust in the area. Plus it's rotating."

CalPortland's innovative application of wireless to monitor temperature distribution in a rotating kiln nearly two football fields in length helped the company meet nitrogen-oxide emissions regulations—and bag the top prize in Emerson's Smart Wireless Innovators contest this year.The co-winners of the business-results award demonstrated dollar savings in operations, installation savings compared to a wired approach, time savings with wireless implementation and safety or environmental-impact improvements.

Steelmaker Severstal's extensive wireless installation included applications to protect assets, prevent production loss and improve safety. Smart Wireless applications enabled Severstal to gain $300,000 by preventing production loss. Valuable assets that cost $200,000 to replace are protected from damage. Severstal was also able to update its fire safety system to meet insurance requirements at 60% savings compared to a wired solution, which was estimated at between $60,000 and $100,000. CHS uses wireless to improve monitoring of several tanks. The installation cost savings was $500,000 compared to a wired solution. This solution will prevent tank over-fill and tank repairs and the resulting repair/remediation efforts.

"The project I was tasked with was to find redundant level indication," said Ken Paulson, refinery process engineer, Laurel energy operations, for CHS at its oil-refining facility in Laurel, Mont., where the diversified energy and agricultural products company, processes 60,000 barrels per day of sour, heavy crude. "We started with a plan to implement the wireless solution on 63 tanks in the refinery. Having this redundancy brought another facet of reliability. You'd be able to monitor multiple tank levels across the facility. Previous tank-gauging technology was maintenance-intensive and unreliable. And we'd had several incidents over the past few years with significant financial impacts."

CHS split the refinery into three areas—east, north and south. The solution CHS implemented included 14 Rosemount WirelessHART 648 transmitters used with a Saab Pro gauge for primary level. "THUMs were not available at the time, so we went with the 648," explained Paulson. "Everything comes back to the DeltaV system."

Because the wireless solution was implemented over the whole refinery, other projects were able to piggyback. "We use about 50% of the city's water in this town," said Paulson. "They could only report on monitoring levels once a month, and we wanted reports on capacity at critical times. We were able to get a real-time measurement by adding an intermediate transmitter between the flow element and the city's transmitter that transmits a 4-20 mA signal to a wireless 648."

The wireless system also allows for safety monitoring of flame and gas detectors. "Flame and gas detectors originally were set up to locally actuate a deluge system," explained Paulson. "We now have DCS indication if the deluge system activates. And we have remote pressure indication from the butane storage section of the refinery, which gives an indication to notify operations of excess propane in butane storage or fire monitoring."

With the wireless implementation, CHS has been able to monitor multiple tank levels across the facility, as well as improve fire safety, system monitoring and water-consumption data.

"This has helped us get a lot of reliability," said Paulson. "Many of the operations people told me the accuracy also is better. We've been able to get this redundancy in a very cost-effective manner. Because of the devices, it's around $500,000 savings over the wired solution. In the end, it probably will be around a $700,000 savings. And it reduces chances of tank over-fills, and helps us with our relationship with the city and its needs."

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