Maintenance & Reliability

Digital: How digital tools improve access to device information

Thompson, A., Emerson Automation Solutions

Welcome to the future! The plant runs fully automated; robots glide silently back and forth, ensuring an optimized process; and your maintenance technician—with a few keystrokes—can tell you exactly how each piece of equipment is running. The promise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been delivered.

Case study: Heat exchanger tube rupture and its impact on metal embrittlement

Dingankar, S., Mahulkar, S., Reliance Industries Ltd.; Schutt, M., Mahalingam, S., TechnipFMC; Banerjee, S., Technip India Ltd.

Process engineers strive to recover as much energy as is practically possible from the available process and utility streams within the constraint of the plant. To achieve this goal, traditional—and sometimes non-traditional—methods are utilized. In a steam cracker, light olefins are considered the highest-value products, and utilizing “cold energy,”

Reliability: Things rarely heard at reliability conferences

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

We can only guess how many reliability conferences we have attended since accepting job offers in the refining or chemical processing industries. In my case, starting in 1965, it is somewhere between 60 and 80. If, in each of these conferences I listened to six presentations, the number of sessions attended is perhaps 400.

Digital: Better maintenance through better data

Eichelberger, N., Accruent

When I talk to professionals in the refining and petrochemical businesses, they are always interested in how new technologies can improve operational efficiency, make plants safer and increase profitability.

Executive Viewpoint: Succeeding against cyber attacks

No doubt exists that the added connectivity that modern control and automation systems deliver offers a myriad of benefits. By embedding computing within the process and utilizing edge and cloud technologies, it can provide greater visibility. It creates a digital thread for the plant and allows both equipment and the processes to be analyzed, as well as giving prescriptive advice.

Equipment: Rotating equipment repair: The technology-driven shift from preventive to predictive

Pandita, R., Persistence Market Research

Rotating equipment repair vendors are looking at a future that can be described as both exciting and challenging. As predictive maintenance (PdM) makes deeper inroads, vendors have been forced to rethink their legacy repair offerings.

Reliability: When slow-rolling machines can cause failures, and how to avoid them

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

All the book learning in the world will fail if we do not use common sense. We could also say that we need to think things through and should recognize that intuitive logic can lead us astray. If that sounds like semantic banter, let us zero in on three practical field examples that illustrate the issues at hand.

How changes to functional safety standards can optimize fire and gas detection

Naranjo, E., Emerson Automation Solutions

ANSI/ISA-84 is one of the most influential standards in functional safety and has been a driver for instrumented process safety improvements over the last 20 yr. It is a comprehensive norm covering a wide range of aspects related to functional safety in process industries, including the entire life cycle of designing, implementing and operating safety systems.

HC condensate sphere inlet pipe failure investigation

Rinawi, A., KELM Engineering LLC; Al Bukhari, A., Al Hajji, M., Al Boobaid, M., Saudi Aramco

During a normal turnaround and inspection (T&I) of a hydrocarbon sphere, a fatigue failure in the 24-in. inlet pipe riser was discovered. As per the original 2003 design, the sphere serves as a surge tank during pipeline scraping, as well as a backup for a stabilizer during T&I. Each stabilizer has a capacity of 78,000 bpd. However, due to asymmetry in the piping configuration, the sphere typically receives higher flow of 90,000 bpd, with rates sometimes reaching 110,000 bpd as a result of scraping or other activities happening concurrently. The sphere was upgraded to work continuously in 2012 to handle the anticipated additional condensate by adding an overhead gas compressor and a dedicated condensate shipper pump.

Consider installing a VFD to increase reliability and savings

Vila Forteza, M., Petronor

The Petronor oil refinery is in the north of Spain and is part of REPSOL Group. In 2019, the facility upgraded the driver of a reformer’s draft fan from a general-purpose steam turbine and gearbox to a variable frequency drive (VFD) electric motor.