Improving Control Valve Reliability through Valve Condition Monitoring

by | Nov 18, 2019 | Digital Transformation, Valves, Actuators & Regulators


An Asian refiner sought to improve reliable operations around their control valves a decade ago. I caught up with Emerson’s Sumitaka Ichiki who shared the story of their journey to more reliable operations.

Using the Fisher FlowScanner valve diagnostic software, they analyzed the dynamic response of many of their critical valves. Based on their findings, they decided to see if they could improve performance of a critical control valve using a Fisher FIELDVUE DVC6000 digital valve controller as a proof of concept in one of their refinery units.

The diagnostics provided by the digital valve controller coupled with the operational analytics in the AMS Valvelink application convinced them to install the DVCs on a broad range of critical control valves.

Later that year during a scheduled turnaround, the refinery staff installed around 70 DVC6000s and a digital network. Over the last several years, this number has grown to around 180 installed DVCs. This wealth of diagnostics had some drawbacks from too many alerts and too few in plant experts to assess the data and form recommendations on actions to take.

Emerson valve condition monitoring servicesTo better take advantage of the diagnostic information to improve overall reliability, this refiner contracted the Emerson team to provide valve condition monitoring services. This service enables Emerson valve experts familiar with the ValveLink diagnostics to remotely monitor the performance and provide recommendations on what valves require attention and which should be reworked during the next turnaround.

This connected service works by having the ValveLink application send valve condition and alert information to the cloud, based on Microsoft Azure technology, where further analytical processing can be performed and Emerson experts can review the information and offer actionable recommendations to the operations staff.

This data connection is made through a firewall where the Emerson experts have read-only access to the flow of data coming into the Azure environment. A data diode is being added for further levels of cybersecurity.

With the success in improving critical control valve reliability, this refiner is expanding the focus on reliability and safety to other areas outside of control valves using wireless sensors to monitor equipment, such as on-off valves using Fisher 4320 wireless position monitors.

This refiner has documented savings from loss avoidance to deliver a positive return on investment for the project and ongoing connected services.

Visit the Valve Condition Monitoring Service and Connected Services sections on for more on how to turn this wealth of diagnostic data into actionable information to improve safety, reliability, energy & emissions, and production performance. You can also connect and interact with other connected services experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation group 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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