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Cloud-based Air Separation Plant Monitoring

by | Oct 14, 2019 | Downstream Hydrocarbons, Industry, Services, Consulting & Training

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit, Emerson’s Pete Sharpe teamed with an air separation plant company leader on a presentation, Bringing Smart Manufacturing to the Masses. Here’s their abstract:

The Smart Manufacturing Institute has won a $70M grant from the Department of Energy to build a prototype of the Smart Manufacturing (SM) Platform and implement a number of test bed projects. The ambitious program covers a broad range of technologies, including digital twins, cloud-based advanced control, and data analytics applications…

Pete opened the presentation noting that the Smart Manufacturing Institute is America’s version of Europe’s Industry 4.0. CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and digital transformation and secure industrial technologies as national imperatives.

The U.S. Department of Energy funds this initiative. The goal is to create a smart manufacturing ecosystem (open, cloud-based marketplace) to create applications to improve operational performance.

The challenge is that data comes from many difference applications across the process from logistics to production to supply chain management. Global producers must coordinate plants across the globe and these enterprise initiatives can be overwhelmingly complex.

The 2013 testbed was done on a steam methane reformer unit with 96 burners with about 400 tubes. Higher temperatures improve the production of hydrogen. The challenge was to adjust the fuel valves to maximize the heat to the tubes to their metallurgical limits to maximize conversion and improve energy efficiency. Cameras and fuel flow meters were added to provide the data needed for the control strategy to optimize the fuel to the reformer.

The results were to significantly reduce the temperature distribution across the tubes, reduce this variability and push the mean closer to the metallurgical limits to optimize conversion and energy consumption.

CESMII vision is to build upon common communications protocols such as OPC UA, MQTT, and others with a contextualization data store and smart manufacturing (SM) profiles that defines a piece of equipment, process, or device profile. The architecture is to have an edge side at the manufacturer or producer site and a platform site with all the profiles (like an App store) hosted by CESMII. An SM marketplace is where suppliers can develop their SM profiles in Microsoft Azure.

For phase two, this air separation company is doing a project on a large, cryogenic process separating rare gases such as argon. This pilot project is to perform cloud-based monitoring on critical plant equipment on pumps and compressors. Wireless sensors monitor vibration, temperatures and other measures of the health of the equipment.

Visit the AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit section on Emerson.com for more on some the technologies and solutions for refiners and petrochemical producers.

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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.