Wireless Monitoring of Safety Showers and Cooling Tower Fan Vibration

20120531-095515.jpgEmerson’s Anil Ajith presented a case study on the use of wireless technology in safety shower and cooling tower applications. The Middle East petrochemical manufacturer wanted an alarm on the plant’s automation system operator workstations whenever the safety shower was activated. They wanted the operations team to be notified so that the safety incident could be immediately investigated.

The plant had over 100 eye baths and safety showers spread throughout the plant. The solution involved the use of wireless technology to monitor the flow to the shower. Wireless gateways were connected back to the plant DCS. A test was performed picking one of the most difficult locations where no line of sight was available between the shower and the gateway connected back to the control system.

After proving the alarm would occur when the shower was activated, it gave the manufacturer confidence to begin to install the wireless devices on all of the eye bath/shower stations.

The second application Anil shared was on cooling tower fan vibration monitoring. The fans were failing at an unacceptable rate. One failure caused a shutdown of the plant area resulting in production losses in the millions of dollars.

Wireless vibration measurement devices were placed on the cooling fans to send PeakVue vibration and temperature levels and back to the operator workstations. Each tower had 32 fans. In total, the plant had 64 fans. Each wireless vibration transmitter could measure two fans, so 32 transmitters were required. The vibration and temperature levels are sent back to the operators every 30 minutes.

The plant’s AMS Device Manager software was used to review the diagnostics to spot and trends over time which may point to early signs of bearing or blade failure.

Anil summed up the benefits of these applications. The we’re able to meet their deadlines for the safety imperatives around the safety shower notifications. Operator and maintenance rounds were reduced on both the safety showers and manual vibration measurements. The vibration monitoring helps to avoid the catastrophic fan failures that led to unplanned downtime.

Posted Thursday, May 31st, 2012 under Emerson Exchange, Wireless.

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