Emerson Automation Experts - Connecting with the People behind the Technologies and Expertise - Emerson Automation Experts

Fostering Profitability through Digital Transformation

Doug White on Digital Transformation at 2019 AFPM SummitEmerson’s Doug White shares his expertise on how refiners and petrochemical producers can digitally transform their organizations to enhance profitability in a dynamic market at the 2019 AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit.

Doug opened showing the Gartner Group’s hype cycle and asking where Digital Transformation fits. Lot’s of hype and some disillusionment from some early products.

So what’s new about digital transformation? You can measure and collect data from almost anything. You can send data anywhere. Your can store all the data you want with fast/cheap access. You have access to sophisticated analytic algorithms for model development easier to implement. And finally, users have access to intuitive, convenient user interfaces.

These five changes have changed the way organizations can look at digital transformation and develop strategies to drive business performance improvements in many areas—safety, reliability, production, and sustainability/energy/emissions. Continue Reading

AFPM Summit Crude/Vacuum Distillation and Coking Q&A

One of the key parts of the AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit is the Q&A Panel sessions. I attended the Crude/Vacuum Distillation & Coking Q&A session with a panel of experienced refiner professionals.

2019 AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit

The first question was about meeting H2S specification in the vapor space in the shipping or receiving points in shipping intermediate streams from refinery to refinery. The one panelist noted that they were using a zinc-based scavenger to keep the levels within specification. Another panelist noted that metal-based and triazine-based scavengers have their advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed depending on specification requirements. Continue Reading

Improving Loss Control through Refinery Mass Balance

Emerson's Julie ValentineOn behalf of a South American refining professional, Emerson’s Julie Valentine presented a case study, Impact of Refinery Mass Balance and Loss Control on Operational Excellence, at the 2019 AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit. Here’s the abstract from this presentation:

Improving a refinery’s mass balance and loss control program for accounting, planning and scheduling, financial, and operational evaluation purposes, and having a clear understanding of the losses and where they occur is critical for performance… [they] reduced unaccounted losses from an initial 5-7% 20 years ago, to an average of 0.11% this past year—with an estimated annual savings of $25 million.

Julie opened describing the refinery and their journey with a mass balance program that began 20 years ago. Losses in the refinery come through flaring, evaporation and fuel consumed. Unaccountable losses are things you can’t measure and that was a focus area for reduction.

Mass balance matters for profitability, HSE [health, safety & environment] and process optimization. Profitability is affected by the accuracy of custody transfer, and accurate payments for what is bought and sold.

20 years ago, this refinery had high levels of losses, on the order of 5% of raw material. Problems were identified in the criteria for mass balance, monthly mass balances performed, volumetric flow measurement, and more. Continue Reading

State-based Control Case Study at AFPM Summit

At the 2019 AFPM Operations & Technology Summit, Emerson’s Dustin Beebe teamed with a professional with a global chemical producer. Their presentation was case study was on applying state-based control on one of their production processes.

Procedural automation addresses the various states in which a continuous process resides. Some examples include startup, upset recovery, planned shutdown, and emergency shutdown.

Procedure automation includes operational procedures and the automation of aspects of these operational procedures, typically at a unit operation scope. The operational procedure includes administrative control, a formal sequence of instructions executed by the process operators. This sequence of instructions is task oriented and helps to reduce the likelihood of human error.

Here’s an example of how the informational flow for an operational procedure when incorporated into procedure automation. Continue Reading

Cloud-based IIoT Heat Exchanger Fouling Monitoring

Emerson's Marcio DonnangeloAt the AFPM Operations & Process Technology Summit, Emerson’s Marcio Donnangelo teamed with a leader of a major refiner to present their experiences with cloud-based IIoT heat exchanger optimization and how it improved process performance.

Today, maintenance on heat exchangers has been performed on a schedule every 1-5 years or during scheduled turnarounds. Technology has now enabled a better way—a predictive approach. Wireless temperature monitoring on both the primary and secondary inlet and outlets can help determine how much fouling has occurred. Manual rounds could miss big changes that have occurred between measurements.

Traditional ways to provide continuous temperature monitoring were to shut down the heat exchangers, install the thermowells and add temperature transmitters at the inlets and outlets. Not only is downtime to do this installation a concern, but also leaks may develop over time.

The solution presented was to use clamp on, non-intrusive, wireless transmitters. These Rosemount X-well transmitters measure the external pipe temperature. Calculations based on the temperature gradient from the pipe away from the pipe coupled with thermodynamic equations accurately estimate the internal fluid temperature. Continue Reading