Essential Asset Monitoring: The Gateway to Improved Process Reliability |

Essential Asset Monitoring: The Gateway to Improved Process Reliability

September 262012
September 27, 2012
ISA 2012 Automation Week
Track: Asset Performance
By Nikki Bishop, Emerson Process Management
The session “Essential Asset Monitoring: The Gateway to Improved Process Reliability” started out with an illustration of how unplanned shutdowns affect nearly all critical business challenges. This includes efficiency and throughput, safety and environmental, personnel and financials. Improvements in reliability mean an improvement in your bottom line.
“Essential” assets are defined as any asset whose outage can cause a process disturbance, shutdown or slowdown. These assets may not be deemed critical enough to have monitoring and protection systems already in place, but a failure will have a significant process impact. Essential assets may be classified as “low probability – high impact” assets. These include assets such as pumps, heat exchangers, blowers, heaters, and simple compressors. Wireless technology provides an easy and cost-effective means of monitoring essential assets.
While there are a variety of asset management strategies available, automated monitoring provides online insight into asset health and increases reliability while reducing maintenance cost. Advance warning allows repair of assets before failure. Additionally, automated monitoring can warn of process conditions that may be causing a fault on your equipment. Condition based maintenance means that staff services assets that actually need it rather than searching for issues through untargeted manual rounds.
A good asset monitoring strategy is not just about collecting data. In order to be effective, the strategy must provide analysis of the data, generate a meaningful alert, and inform the proper personnel to take action. Adding a monitoring strategy doesn’t mean adding all new measurements. You should take advantage of existing measurements and add missing measurements where necessary. Monitoring algorithms should aggregate process and equipment data to determine overall asset health.
As an example, a pump monitoring strategy can detect cavitation, strainer plugging, high vibration, seal fluid faults, hydrocarbon leak detection, and high bearing temperature. Wireless measurements are available for nearly all pump monitoring inputs. One unique measurement available is PeakVue vibration. PeakVue measures the peak value of impacts when metal impacts metal. PeakVue is great for detecting cavitation and bearing and lubrication issues. PeakVue provides early warning at the onset of the condition so that action can be taken before the fault causes asset damage or failure. Analysis of vibration data can generate alerts for both high vibration and an increasing trend in vibration. For variable speed assets, determining a baseline vibration value allows alerts to be set for deviation from baseline.
Improvements in asset reliability can add up to major savings. For example, for a 200,000 barrel per day refinery, savings associated with increased production capacity and reduced maintenance cost can add up to almost $2M per year. While the savings calculation for every site will be unique, increased reliability means both reduced maintenance cost and increased production capacity. Wireless technology provides an easy means of adding missing measurements and pre-engineered monitoring solutions can be plug-and-play solutions that provide meaningful asset alerts. Implementation of essential asset monitoring solutions offers a strong positive return on investment.
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