The Record Issue 13: Summer 2019

126 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om V I EWPO I NT The secret weapon for refineries L I V I A WI L E Y : AV E VA Predictive analytics alerts oil, gas and chemicals companies to operational issues long before equipment fails, reducing downtime, costs and the risk of injury W hen I bought my first car, I naively thought that I’d pay for it and be done. What I didn’t realise, however, was how much work and money would go into making sure it didn’t fail. Although there was no stopping some failures as my car aged, I was able to get the maximum amount of time possible out of my car by following the dealer’s best practices with oil changes, tyre rotation, and maintenance on the brakes and rotors. It’s expensive to buy a new car, so it had to last as long as my monthly payments – and hopefully longer. Refineries and chemicals plants are much more complex than cars, and they have a much greater potential for failure. In addition to lost profit from downtime, there is the possibility of a safety inci- dent with injury to property and personnel. The US Department of Energy reported that one US oil or chemical incident per day incurs on average an estimated cost over US$2 million per incident. Predictive asset analytics can provide early warning notification and diagnosis of equipment issues days, weeks or months before failure. This helps asset-intensive organisations reduce equip- ment downtime, increase reliability and improve performance, while reducing operations and maintenance expenditures. One major industrial gases company has hun- dreds of plants around the world. Many of these plants are too small to have personnel stationed onsite, so this industry leader remotely runs them using enterprise data that comes into a centralised site from each facility. From there, predictive ana- lytics are used to compare current performance against historical trends and, after rules-based logic is applied, alarms will sound if a process or piece of equipment is outside the normal range of operation or compliance. It’s similar to my car dashboard alerting me to low pressure in a tyre without me having to manually check tyre pres- sures daily or hourly and compare them to normal operation. This means I can fix that low pressure before something drastic and costly happens. Having a predictive maintenance strategy can help asset-intensive organisations increase asset performance, reliability and availability to ulti- mately maximise economic return. In a recent webinar with Hydrocarbon Processing, the global industrial gases leader detailed how its predic- tive maintenance strategy derives real value (to the tune of more than US$500,000) by detecting equipment failures before they occur and prevent- ing unscheduled system downtime. Livia Wiley is marketing director for Oil and Gas at AVEVA