For decades end users have faithfully equipped their plants with a wide array of telemetry devices linked back to a central process data control system, giving them a real time indication of the state of their process. To ensure maximum uptime of their facility, while at the same time looking to avoid a catastrophic equipment failure, they exercised similar care in outfitting their critical rotating equipment with a wide array of transducers, probes, switches, transmitters and the like. This two pronged approach gave them the process control that they needed, helping to minimize unplanned shutdowns and costly equipment repairs, as compared to past “run-to-failure” operating philosophies. Improved process efficiency and sustainable production rates, as well as cost avoidance, provided the justification to invest in these electronic tracking and surveillance systems. From a business standpoint it was a smart choice, but with a little education, a dash of creativity and some reconfiguring it could be transformed into an intelligent one!
Intelligent Systems – instrumented processes that help make you money. Sound far fetched? Not really. In most plants the bulk of the infrastructure exists and the data is largely available. It’s a potential money making opportunity that just needs to be harnessed. Imagine an Intelligent System that can, in a real time manner, assess what a particular piece of rotating equipment is doing from a work load standpoint versus what it is really capable of doing. Based on this analysis a series of questions or options could be displayed to the operator that he or she could either act upon or say thanks, but no thanks to. Think of the power that this could put at the operator’s fingertips. The control room personnel can now focus their full attention on overseeing the process without needing to be rotating equipment experts. Operational changes could be made more quickly minimizing the potential misuse of equipment under their control. In essence, the Intelligent System becomes their facility copilot, promoting them with safe options to make their jobs easier. It’s like having a virtual OEM on staff 24/7.
Now that I’ve opened your eyes to the possibility of Intelligent Systems, let’s hear your ideas. Get your synapses firing! Think of the processes that could benefit from this. As users, all you need is a collaborative OEM to help infuse some of their knowledge and expertise into your control system to make this a reality.
Director, Global Oil and Gas Marketing