Emerson wireless network keeps bitumen pipeline hot

  • November 10, 2008
  • Emerson Automation Solutions
  • Case Study
November 10, 2008 – Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless solution was chosen by Terminals Pty Ltd to monitor temperatures in a 900-meter long 8-inch (200mm) heat-traced pipeline used for unloading bitumen from ships at its Geelong Terminal in Australia. It is necessary to make certain the electric heaters are operating all along the pipeline to keep the bitumen hot (160o C) and fluid. If a heater fails, a cold spot could form causing the bitumen to solidify and plugging the line with expensive consequences.“We needed to monitor the bitumen line,” according to Bitumen Terminal project manager Joe Siklic, “to make the operators aware of cooling anywhere in the line from the ship to the storage facility, which could result in an emergency shutdown. Any delay in unloading could keep a ship at the pier longer than planned with demurrage costing up to $30,000 US per day.”The wireless technology was selected, Siklic said, for its lower initial cost and minimal maintenance as compared with hard wiring. Eight Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters are evenly spaced along the pipeline, sending temperature readings on one-minute intervals to a Smart Wireless Gateway on shore that channels data to the AMS Suite predictive maintenance software used for instrument configuration and performance monitoring. The collected data are also forwarded to a SCADA system in the terminal control center via fibre optic cable.Due to the self-organizing nature of this technology, each wireless device acts as a router for other nearby devices, passing the signals along until they reach their destination. If there is an obstruction, transmissions are simply re-routed along the mesh network until a clear path to the Smart Wireless Gateway is found. All of this happens automatically, without any involvement by the user, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct, line-of-sight communications between individual devices and their gateway. This self-organizing technology optimizes data reliability while minimizing power consumption. “This is an ideal application for wireless,” Siklic said. “Since numerous paths exist to carry the transmissions, the network would easily compensate for a transmitter failure, and the operators would be warned. This wireless network has proved to be reliable, compatible with existing control equipment, and cost effective. The amount of structure on the wharf is minimal, and that is another benefit.”About Terminals Pty LtdTerminals Pty Ltd is Australia’s largest independent bulk liquid terminals company. The unloading, storage, and shipping facilities near the industrial port city of Geelong include the 900 meter pier and 16 or more tanks. At this location, the company imports and stores bulk vinyl chloride monomer and other hazardous and non-hazardous combustible and corrosive liquids, fats, and oils. The hot bitumen storage facility is part of a recently completed expansion project.About Emerson Process ManagementEmerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp & paper, power, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, and project management, and maintenance services to help customers achieve the potential of their operations. Emerson brands include PlantWeb, Fisher, Rosemount, Micro Motion, Daniel, DeltaV, Ovation, and AMS SuiteAbout EmersonEmerson (NYSE:EMR), based in St. Louis, is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Learn More

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