Proactive Maintenance and Award-Winning Performance

You may have seen the news of the 2013 HART Plant of the Year noting:

HART technology has helped reduce production downtime related to control valve failures… We use the HART signal to monitor real time valve conditions which has helped with identifying problems before they could cause unplanned events. This reliability effort combined with several improvement initiatives has yielded significant financial savings including millions of dollars in EBIT [earnings before interest and taxes].

Jeff Wilson Control Valve Reliability Specialist

Jeff Wilson
Control Valve Reliability Specialist

I turned to Jeff Wilson with Emerson local business partner Puffer-Sweiven for more on how these savings were achieved.

The story began more than a decade ago when Fisher FIELDVUE digital valve controllers (DVCs) were installed with AMS Device Manager with ValveLink software to calibrate the DVCs with the control valve and actuator assembly. The software was also used to identify which valves needed to be pulled and serviced during plant turnarounds. While this method of use created savings, it was primarily a reactive mode of operation.

As additional trains were instrumented with FIELDVUE DVCs, Jeff worked with the plant staff to incorporate the use of AMS Device Manager in a more proactive, condition-based manner. The DVCs included Performance Diagnostics (PD) that help identify friction, deadband, air leaks, drifting and other issues impacting the performance of the control valves. These diagnostics run while the valve operates. The HART digital communications protocol is the standard by which the data is communicated between the digital valve controllers & other HART-based devices and the AMS software & other HART-based applications such as handheld devices and control systems. Continue Reading

Diagnostics to Detect Rotating Machinery Misalignment

Drew Mackley Product Line Manager

Drew Mackley
Product Line Manager

Let’s continue our route-based maintenance video series with a look at diagnostics to detect misalignment issues on rotating machinery.

In this 5:53 YouTube video, Misalignment Detection: Cross Channel Phase and Fault Frequencies, Emerson’s Drew Mackley demonstrates the analysis provided to data collected by portable vibration analyzers in route-based maintenance applications.

He emphasizes the CSI 2140 machinery health analyzer, beyond collecting route data and it spectrum waveforms, is its ability to do additional advanced troubleshooting tests while your maintenance folks are still in the field. Decisions can be made on the spot whether additional data collection and analysis is required. Continue Reading

Upgrading Rosemount 1151 to 3051 Pressure Transmitters

The venerable Rosemount 1151 pressure transmitter was introduced all the way back in 1969. It combined 4–20 mA electronics with capacitance technology. In my first job post college, I worked as a project engineer out of New Orleans on offshore oil & gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. We would buy dozens and dozens of these pressure and differential pressure devices at a time to instrument the separators, gas processing, oil skimming, and other production equipment. They seemed to last forever, even in the moist, salt-laden conditions of the Gulf of Mexico.

Like many great things, the lifespan of the Rosemount 1151 transmitter reached its end. In an article, Emerson’s John Berra Says Farewell, he noted:

When I first began, a transmitter was an all-analog device with all-analog circuitry, and it did one thing: It made a measurement and it pumped that measurement out as an analog value… Today, the list of things that one of these instruments can do—just the horsepower that is in there—to do not only the measurement but the diagnostics, offers tremendous benefits. But the digitization of the control room side has changed the way we operate plants.

The successor to the 1151 transmitter is the Rosemount 3051 pressure transmitter, itself with more than 20 years of installation measuring pressure, flow, and level in process manufacturing and production operations across the globe. We’ve explored the capabilities and applications for this series of transmitters in numerous posts. Continue Reading

Temperature Measurement Diagnostics

Let’s continue the Temperature Insights video series with a closer look at diagnostics from these measurement devices. This 4-minute YouTube video, Temperature Insights – Benefits of Diagnostics Brief Video highlights the diagnostics that monitor the sensor measurement signal for a variety of conditions, identify troubled installations or damaged sensors, and provides the information to help keep a complex process operating at peak efficiency. Continue Reading

Water Still at Center Stage of Mining

Emerson's Juan Carlos Bravo

Juan Carlos Bravo
Mining & Power Industry Manager

Author: Juan Carlos Bravo

Here in the US, we hear in the news how the drought in the western states is affecting the water supply for agriculture and for human consumption. Miners are also feeling the heat. Water continues to be one of the biggest topics among all mining communities. It is essential for dust control and liberation of minerals in flotation processes. And, as most of metals are coming from places where water is scarce, it puts more pressure on production costs as investment in water treatment and desalination take place.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal article on May 20th, as mining companies probe remote areas for increasingly scarce minerals, they are investing billions of dollars for water. Moody’s Investors Service estimates that mining companies spent $12 billion in 2013, three times as much as 2009, on water management, including treatment facilities and pipelines.

Some of this investment has to do with water rights. The article shares how two years ago, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., one of the world’s top copper miners, paid 69-year-old cowboy Richard Kaler $1.3 million for 280 acres of rocky ranchland in the eastern Arizona desert. But Freeport isn’t interested in his minerals. Instead, it wants his rights to fresh water, which it needs to expand production at North America’s biggest copper mine, spread across 65,000 acres nearby. Freeport aims to unearth almost one billion pounds of copper a year—37% of current U.S. annual output—at the Morenci, Ariz., mine by 2016. Continue Reading