Justifying projects to improve reliable operations can be difficult. Projects driving increased revenue are often prioritized over those that reduce costs.
In a Chemical Processing article, Build An Effective Condition-Monitoring Program, Emerson’s Shane Hale shares his thoughts on the economics of increased reliability, where to look for improvements, specifics on how to apply Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based condition monitoring, and a case study of proven results.
It’s important to realize that increased revenue is possible from unplanned downtime avoidance or minimization.
On where to look for opportunities to justify a reliability improvement project, Shane offers these questions to ask:
- How many times in the last year has one of the pumps failed in operation?
- How much more did it cost to repair the installation after a failure than it would have cost to fix the problem before the breakdown?
- How frequently has following a maintenance schedule led to taking a pump out of service only to discover that it doesn’t need work?
- How often has a failed pump remained sidelined for an extended time because the required parts to repair weren’t available?
He cites a 2013 Solomon Associates study, International Study of Plant Reliability and Maintenance (RAM) Effectiveness, which looked a refiners’ and petrochemical producers’ comparative maintenance costs and mechanical availability and divided these producers into performance quartiles. The study found that for:
…maintenance costs, first-quartile companies spent less than one-third of those in the fourth quartile and less than half of third-quartile plants. More-effective maintenance planning based on gathering of performance data certainly pays off.
As for mechanical availability, top-quartile performers had 4% higher availability than average performers. What is the value of increasing plant or unit output by 4% without a major capital expenditure project? Probably quite a bit.
Shane highlights specific equipment where to consider adding condition monitoring:
- centrifugal pumps — vibration, bearing temperature, differential pressure and seal-pot level sensors, and discharge pressure transmitter;
- heat exchangers — inlet and outlet temperature sensors, and flow meters;
- piping and vessel integrity (corrosion) — ultrasonic metal thickness sensors;
- pressure relief valves (PRVs) and rupture disks — acoustic transmitter and wireless pressure gauge; and
- steam traps — acoustic transmitter.
The traditional way to add instrumentation—wiring, junction boxes, field termination, rack room terminations, control system I/O etc.–has been a barrier in terms of expense and complexity for many to add condition monitoring to these types of plant assets. But today, using:
…WirelessHART networks removes the need to run cables or terminate I/O. Many plants already have these networks installed and operating. Because these monitoring data aren’t directly process control related, you don’t have to integrate or even pass them through the plant process automation systems. Instead, they can go directly from the WirelessHART network to asset management applications.
Read the article for specifics on each of these plant assets in getting started and claiming early successes and return on investment. Also see how a refinery and ethylene plant applied these wireless, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based instrumentation to establish condition monitoring and drive improved reliability, availability and reduced maintenance costs.
Visit the IIoT: Pervasive Sensing section on Emerson.com for more on ways to gain real-time insights to drive Top Quartile business performance. You can also connect and interact with other condition monitoring and IIoT device experts in the Asset Management and IIoT & Digital Transformation groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community and/or at the September 23-27 Emerson Exchange conference in Nashville.