Bulk Liquids Terminal Digital Transformations

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Industrial IoT, Operational Excellence, Services, Consulting & Training


Bulk liquids terminal operators have largely relied on a mix of automated and manual operations to perform their role in the liquids movement supply chain. This mixed mode of operations means there are holes or delays in data to aid in decision making, which makes the terminal operate less efficient, reliable, and more prone to operational risks.

The 2nd Tank & Terminal Tech Asia conference will be held November 28-29 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The focus of the conference is on embracing innovation to improve operations. Emerson’s Jonas Berge will present, Digital Transformation for Operational Certainty. Here is the abstract of his presentation:

Accurate inventory management and custody transfer with an accurate tank gauging system is fundamental. Beyond this, terminals and other sites with tank farms must ensure storage tanks, pumps, valves, and heat tracing systems are functional when product is received or to deliver. Pipe integrity must be ensured, overfills and spills often caused by wrong valve-lineup must be avoided. This must be achieved without stretching personnel. Manual data collection is too infrequent and therefore not very effective in preventing equipment failure, and it is very time consuming. Operators often have no visibility of safety shower activation or tank leaks.

Sites are addressing these challenges through Digital Transformation of how the tank farm is run and maintained. Manual and paper-based tasks are reduced by infusing digital technology. A central pool of subject matter experts supports a fleet of terminals and other plants.

Additional wireless sensors are installed on pumps, floating roofs, tank bottoms, breather and blanketing valves, piping, heat tracing, etc. Manual valves and safety showers are also instrumented. Motor Operated Valves (MOV) are digitally networked. Readymade, purpose-built, analytics software predicts problems in the equipment. Mobility solutions pass information to personnel even when they are away from the desk or even offsite. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions pass data through the cloud to experts in a central location who help plant personnel. Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) is used to automate mustering and to find missing persons. Wearable video lets the experts anywhere in the world direct a technician working at site.

As a result, personnel save time, maintenance cost and incidents are reduced, safety and productivity is increased. Even energy cost has been lowered.

Jonas Berge LinkedIn EssaysFor many processing facilities and tank farms, instrumentation has been limited to what is required for the control and safety shutdown systems. The costs associated with wiring and termination infrastructure has created a barrier for additional measurements required to improve safety, efficiency and reliability. With a decade of run-time, wireless instrumentation, as part of the rapidly advancing Industrial Internet of Things, has greatly lowered this barrier to provide additional measurements, analytics and remote expertise to address these business challenges.

As Jonas indicates in his abstract, he will provide specific examples in all these areas to provide conference attendees with some practical guidance on initial and next steps. If you’re not located in the Asia-Pacific region or in the bulk liquid terminals industry, you can check out Jonas’ collection of digital transformation-related essays in LinkedIn.

You can also connect with other digital transformation experts in the Improve & Modernize and Wireless groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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