The MOL Danube Refinery in Százhalombatta, Hungary, has received the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award. The HART Communication Foundation chose the refinery, part of independent Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group, for its creativity in applying HART Communication.
With a capacity of 162,000 oil barrels (bbl) per day and some 1,200 employees, the oil refinery uses online device diagnostics to prevent unplanned shutdowns and plant slow-downs by allowing engineers to detect and resolve automation asset problems before they become critical.
MOL engineers implemented the HART network as part of a plant-wide refining maintenance strategy after strategic planning that began in 2002 to increase operational reliability. “We made the decision going forward to purchase intelligent field instruments that support the HART Protocol and then to develop and use the in-depth and sophisticated communication options embedded in those HART instruments,” says Gábor Bereznai, MOL’s instrumentation and electrical department head.
Ron Helson (second from left), executive director of the HART Communication Foundation, presents the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award to MOL Danube Refinery.
Connecting HART-enabled devices into an online diagnostics system has changed the way the MOL maintenance department runs its operation. Online device diagnostics — instrument signals going directly to the plant maintenance and control systems — makes it possible to prevent unplanned shutdowns and plant slow-downs by allowing engineers to detect and resolve automation asset problems before they become critical.
More than 30,000 of the refinery’s 50,000 instruments are HART-enabled with 3,700 of these devices — mostly control valves and instruments used in critical control loops — connected directly into computerized maintenance management systems. Since the introduction of the diagnostics, the number of valves selected for repair during a planned shutdown has dropped from 60% to about 5%, and the refinery has saved an estimated $2 million in reduced maintenance costs and avoided unscheduled shutdowns.