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In-House or Cloud-Based Asset Monitoring

Asset condition monitoring versus performance monitoring—what’s the difference? And, analyzing and forming decisions on the data from this monitoring—should it be done within the company or in the cloud?

Control Engineering: Should assets be monitored in-house or in the cloud?These questions are the subject of a Control Engineering magazine article, Should assets be monitored in-house or in the cloud? Emerson’s Brian Joe opens the article describing how Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based sensors have made monitoring both for asset condition and performance more doable than was previously possible.

With the example of a pressure relief valve (PRV), Brian defines asset condition monitoring and performance monitoring.

Condition monitoring looks for valves leaking slowly without closing fully.

Performance monitoring:

…evaluates the frequency and duration of releases.

Both type of monitoring can provide a significant return on investment from operating improvements and regulatory fine reductions for manufacturers and producers. Continue Reading

Reducing Level Detector Proof Testing Complexity

Whitepaper: Reducing the Complexity of Proof-Testing with New Generation Point Level DetectorsEach safety instrumented function (SIF) including its sensor, logic solver and final control element must be periodically tested to make sure it will perform as designed in the event of a safety demand. These “proof tests” help to uncover and failure conditions which may have developed since the last proof test or safety demand.

A new whitepaper, Reducing the Complexity of Proof-Testing with New Generation Point Level Detectors, compares the traditional and modern approaches for proof-testing critical point level and overfill prevention instrumentation.

In the whitepaper, proof tests are defined as:

…operational tests conducted in accordance with the safety manual of an individual installed device to evaluate its ability to perform its safety function and to uncover random hardware failures. These are failures that prevent the device from performing its primary function and which would otherwise remain undetected by its built-in diagnostics during normal operation.

Global safety standards such as API 2350 for overfill prevention and IEC 61511 for safety instrumented systems (SISs):

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Avoiding Low Voltage Electrical Asset Outages

Early in my career as a freshly-minted electrical engineer in the mid-1980s, I worked on projects on offshore oil & gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These platforms required turbine or reciprocating engine gas generators with diesel engine backup for when gas was not available from the production stream.

Low voltage (LV) distribution systems, typically at 480VAC were used to power the pumps, compressors, motor control centers, lighting, communications and other electrical needs for the platform. The corrosive moist and salty air from the Gulf caused failures in the distribution systems every so often.

I mention all this because of a Power Magazine article, Temperature Monitoring Protects Low-Voltage Assets, by Emerson’s Jay Ganson. Technology has come a long way from back then and continuous monitoring is now available to help avoid electrical failures. Jay opened the article noting:

LV electrical distribution has a history of under-investment, which leaves companies exposed to an ever-increasing risk of failures and unplanned outages—events that could be prevented with available monitoring technologies. Asset failures always prove costly to operators and are far costlier than implementing technology to provide continuous monitoring.

Costs of unplanned outages not only includes financial costs, but:

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Radar Level Measurement for Cryogenic Tank Storage

If you are unfamiliar with cryogenic processes such as those found liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, then you may be unaware of some of their unique challenges. One big one is overfill prevention and inventory measurement for cryogenic storage tanks. A cryogenic tank is not opened during operation and normally not accessed for maintenance purposes during its entire operating lifespan.

A 4:35 YouTube video, Inventory Measurement Solutions for Full Containment Cryogenic Storage Tanks highlights some measurement challenges and how radar level measurement helps to solve them.

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Diagnosing Gearbox Defects

In earlier posts, Emerson’s Robert Skeirik highlighted how PeakVue impact detection analytics technology can provide early warning of bearing failure in time to plan and schedule maintenance before unplanned downtime occurs. These analytics help drive overall reliability improvement key performance indicators (KPIs).

I came across a recently published whitepaper, Confirming Gearbox Defect Using Waveform & PeakVue Technology, which highlights another issue with rotating machinery that this diagnostic in combination with time-series waveform analysis can help identify.

Gearbox defects may not exhibit repetitive, periodic defects like ball bearing defects exhibit. Analyzing vibration in the time domain helps provide insights beyond the typical frequency spectral analysis.

Here is some case study information from the whitepaper:

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