HART halts faults at Plant of the Year Awards
The PDVSA Petropiar oil refinery located in Mejorador Jose, Barcelona, Venezuela, has been selected by the HART Communication Foundation (HCF, www.hartcomm.org) as recipient of the 2008 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award is given annually to recognize the people, companies and plant sites around the globe that are using the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability.
The Petropiar (formerly Petrolera Ameriven) facility, which employs 1,500 people, processes synthetic crude from the Orinoco basin at the rate of 247,575 barrels per day (bpd). About 5,000 measurement points (90% of which are HART devices) transmit the HART communication protocol to the plant’s distributed control system (DCS). The company’s main goal was to implement predictive device diagnostics on all instrumentation. As a result, in the first four years in operation, it realized a reduction in pre-commissioning and commissioning time, improved process and device documentation and reduced loop check time by 60%.
Using HART technology also allowed a flawless startup without a single failure attributed to instrumentation during this period, and the facility was able to eliminate 95% of the bad actors reported by its asset management application.
Emerson AMS Suite asset-management software monitors field instruments on the control network through HART multiplexers. Technicians used the software extensively during instrument commissioning to verify each tag number and to ring out the control loops. The technicians documented device integrity and wiring, and every loop was certified to be performing according to the process design. As a direct result of the time saved on commissioning, the process was online much sooner than expected.
The rich HART diagnostics and the use of AMS Suite enabled reliability personnel to monitor the field devices regularly and initiate a predictive maintenance program in which priority equipment receives immediate attention. This reduces the total number of hours maintenance personnel spend, reducing overall maintenance costs.
“Since our plant went on line in January 2004, HART technology has opened a door of opportunity to the reliability community,” says Mariela Leon, Petropiar instrumentation reliability leader. “Using HART, we were able to optimize our work process producing a reduction of maintenance costs, which led to a 60% reduction of lost profit opportunity (LPO) caused by instrument faults.” Eliminating bad actors and having the ability to reduce random failure has resulted in a reported reduction of LPO on the order of $70 million in two years.
“HART technology was initially used to pinpoint a bad valve positioner, which provided the justification to change or add positioners to 400 valves,” adds Livia Lefebre, Petropiar reliability superintendent. “We demonstrated the Partial Valve Stroke application to management who then approved its use — which significantly increased the time between required shutdowns.”
According to Leon and Lefebre, the company’s engineering teams also found HART technology useful with safety integrity level (SIL) determination and, because they spent maintenance time only on devices with a problem, they could cover two work shifts using the same manpower regularly used on a single shift.
The HART Plant of the Year is presented to end-user companies to recognize ingenuity in the application of HART Communication technology. The award showcases end-user companies and their suppliers who have demonstrated creativity in using the full capabilities of HART communication technology.
The HART Communication Foundation encourages nominations for HART Plant of the Year from all world areas. Nominations are accepted through May of each year. Previous recipients are StatoilHydro (Norway); BP Canada Energy (Canada); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); Clariant (Germany); BP Cooper River (USA), Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (USA) and DuPont (USA).
“Petropiar is a perfect example of how the power of HART can be used to lower cost, improve plant availability and contribute to keeping your plant competitive. We congratulate Petropiar for their foresight, planning and vision in building a plant infrastructure that allowed the utilization of the intelligent capabilities of HART-enabled instrumentation,” says HCF executive director Ron Helson. “Their forward thinking and proactive approach serves as a powerful model for industry users worldwide on the benefits of using HART Communication with intelligent field instrumentation, process automation and asset-management systems.”