Implement Condition Monitoring Solutions to Improve Plant Reliability - Maven Academy
Maven Musings

Implement Condition Monitoring Solutions to Improve Plant Reliability

Published by Director, Maven Academy - 1 year ago

In the current economic scenario Asset Integrity Management is an essential tool for all organizations irrespective of their size and industry in which they operate. Plant shutdowns adversely affect overall equipment efficiency and cost money and unplanned shutdowns cost even more. There are direct costs which include the cost of parts and labor for repair of the broken-down machine. Additionally, there are indirect costs, viz., idle manpower, material loss due to process interruption and restart, cost of cleaning up, delayed delivery of products, and the resulting claims from the client: not to mention the loss of goodwill. Besides, in continuous process industries such as cement, steel, petrochemicals, etc., unscheduled shutdowns due to breakdown of critical plant machinery can result in high consequential losses due to prolonged shutdown and restart procedures.

Monitoring of the operating conditions helps the management keep a close watch on the state of machinery on a real-time basis. Comparison with baseline parameters established when the equipment was initially commissioned, potential failures can be predicted to a fair degree of accuracy. Ability to predict failures aids planning for replacement units, prepare for spare parts, or schedule for specialized repair team, wherever required. This provides organizations improved control over operational efficiency by cutting down unexpected shutdowns. Condition monitoring is a generalized term that covers the measurement of a wide range of operating parameters such as vibration, speed, temperature, pressure, level, etc. However, typically machine vibration, bearing temperature, and temperature of motor winding are the typical parameters monitored because these parameters indicate the health status of rotating machinery such as motors, pumps, fans, and turbines. 

Sensors are mounted on the critical machinery whose operating condition requires to be monitored. These sensors are wired to a local data aggregator with a display unit for local indication of the parameters being monitored. The aggregator transmits sensor data via WiFi, ethernet, or cellular connection to the cloud server for analysis, logging, and generating alerts when the real-time value exceeds user-defined set points. In systems using Bluetooth LE wireless protocol, there is no hardwiring required between sensors and the gateway. Employing an online condition monitoring system with cloud analytics has many advantages over an entirely local system. One key advantage being there is no need for employing technicians with specialized analytical skills exclusively at each plant location because this is typically included as part of the SaaS service offered by the service provider. Here is a shortlist of service providers who supply the device hardware, the platform, the analytics, and the diagnostics as a service.

Dynatrend is a highend system for critical machinery such as gas turbines for energy, O&G industries, and wind turbines. They also offer both ATEX and non-ATEX systems for use in O&G industry applications. Bentley Nevada condition monitoring online services is a similar high end sophisticated system on offer. Similarly, Brüel & Kjær Vibro’s online condition monitoring products include machine protection solutions that allow easy integration into customers’ process control systems. Dynapar is another service provider with wide geographical presence offering a comprehensive online condition monitoring system. 

HID, a pioneer in access control solutions, offer a machine status monitoring solution and a more advanced condition monitoring solution combined with analytics and diagnostics under its Blue Vision vertical. HID solutions use wireless Bluetooth LE network through which the BeekCM machine sensors communicate with BluFi gateways and transfer data to the BlueZone cloud platform for data analysis and notification. ERBESSD Instruments monitoring systems also offer similar solutions with Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity.

Even though this is not a comprehensive list of all the service providers, this is just a small sampling of the different technologies and service levels currently available. Needless to mention, the quality of the services and their applicability to specific industry may vary, and corresponding variations in cost are to be expected. Depending on your individual requirements and type of application you may reach out to these or any other service providers and tap the benefits. We would like to hear your feedback on the information provided as well as share with us your experiences of using condition monitoring in your industry and their benefits.

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