In­tro­duc­tion to IIoT and its ap­pli­ca­tions in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try

Ro­hit Pim­p­ley, Forbes Mar­shall Ltd

Chemical Industry Digest - - What’s In? - Ro­hit Pim­p­ley

De­fines and ex­plains IIoT and out­lines some of the key ap­pli­caions in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try.

IoT – The Next Big thing in Con­nec­tiv­ity

The world to­day is rapidly mov­ing closer and one of the ma­jor con­cepts mak­ing this hap­pen is ‘IoT’. Data in­di­cates that around 8.4 bil­lion de­vices (things) world­wide will be con­nected to the in­ter­net in 2017 i.e. up by 31 per­cent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 bil­lion by 2020[ whereas

1] in In­dia, IoT units are ex­pected to reach 1.9 bil­lion[

2] by 2020 in­di­cat­ing a whop­ping 31-fold growth. These num­bers in­di­cate the over­all im­pact that IoT will have in our day to day plant op­er­a­tions in the near fu­ture.

What is IoT ?

IoT stands for In­ter­net of Things. The con­cept of IoT is to con­nect a phys­i­cal de­vice as small as a flow switch to as big as a boiler over the in­ter­net to make its data avail­able re­motely for an­a­lyze, pre­dict and con­trol this de­vice. Many in­dus­try ex­perts claim IoT to be the rev­o­lu­tion 4.0 in the in­dus­trial sec­tor which will help in pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion more pre­cise and ac­cu­rate. IoT al­lows ob­jects to be sensed or con­trolled re­motely across ex­ist­ing net­work in­fra­struc­ture, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for more di­rect in­te­gra­tion of the phys­i­cal world into com­put­er­based sys­tems, and re­sult­ing in im­proved ef­fi­ciency, ac­cu­racy and eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the end user.

How will IoT help in­dus­try?

IoT im­ple­men­ta­tions will be very promis­ing in in­creas­ing the up­time of the plant. Cur­rently the fail­ure of a ma­chine or a sys­tem is de­tected on a thresh­old ba­sis i.e. when­ever a crit­i­cal pa­ram­e­ter of a ma­chine crosses a spe­cific thresh­old limit then

ac­tion is taken by the con­cerned op­er­a­tor. Through IoT im­ple­men­ta­tion, sys­tems can be mon­i­tored and an­a­lyzed while they start de­vel­op­ing fail­ure over a pe­riod of time. If anal­y­sis of the cap­tured data is done while ma­chine is in fault de­vel­op­ing stage, so­lu­tion can be found to ex­tend the ma­chine life and avoid un­planned shut­downs.

Thus In­ter­net of Things can help the in­dus­try to: Use their ma­chines more ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. En­able man­agers and ex­ec­u­tives to en­sure best prac­tices are al­ways fol­lowed.

Boost pro­duc­tiv­ity by stream­lin­ing busi­ness pro­cesses and au­tomat­ing de­ci­sions.

Im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ap­pli­ca­tions of IOT in Chem­i­cal In­dus­try

1. Peak Plant Up­time us­ing Pre­dic­tive Main­te­nance : The cur­rent mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems for a heat ex­changer sys­tem or a dis­til­la­tion col­umn alert the op­er­a­tors af­ter a spe­cific thresh­old value has crossed mak­ing the un­planned shut­downs un­avoid­able. This can be min­i­mized us­ing IoT. Con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing of the equip­ment will help in de­tect­ing early trends of fail­ure and thus tak­ing pre­ven­tive ac­tions in avoid­ing the un­nec­es­sary plant trips. This will thus im­prove the over­all up­time of the plant equip­ment and would di­rectly help in in­creas­ing the plant pro­duc­tion out­put.

2. Chem­i­cal Leak­age De­tec­tion and In­door Air

Qual­ity: One of the top pri­or­i­ties for any chem­i­cal plant is to make sure of safe en­vi­ron­ment for their em­ploy­ees. IoT can help in achiev­ing it. The de­tec- tor sen­sors in­stalled at mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions can be con­nected to a net­work and re­motely mon­i­tored and alerted to the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties. This will en­able in tak­ing quick ac­tions and avoid­ing any harm to hu­man life or im­por­tant plant as­sets mak­ing the work­place more safe for op­er­a­tion.

3. Boiler Peak Per­for­mance and Health Mon­i­tor­ing: In to­day’s com­pet­i­tive world in­dus­trial sec­tors are look­ing out for ways and means to in­crease boiler house pro­duc­tiv­ity with min­i­mum re­sources. To con­trol this cost of op­er­a­tion, one of the ma­jor hin­drances is the fuel bills of the boiler. Hence all these pa­ram­e­ters need to be con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored to main­tain the boiler ef­fi­ciency at peak lev­els. Hence con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of boiler crit­i­cal data and avail­abil­ity of the same 24 x 7 is the need of the hour. Through IOT this can be very well achieved. In­stead of util­ity man­ager mak­ing fre­quent vis­its to boiler house, the com­plete boiler house it­self can be brought on his fin­ger tip us­ing IOT ser­vices.

4. En­ergy Man­age­ment: Smart En­ergy Me­ters mon­i­tor­ing en­ergy con­sump­tions at crit­i­cal branches of elec­tri­cal net­work and then pro­vid­ing an over­all sum­mary through IoT on the fin­ger tips will eas­ily pin­point any vari­a­tions in daily con­sump­tions ini­ti­at­ing the cor­rec­tive ac­tions im­me­di­ately. For ex­am­ple, IoT en­abled chiller plants al­low mon­i­tor­ing from any place, on a tablet or phone, pro­vid­ing ad­vance di­ag­nos­tics be­fore is­sues turn costly.


1] Gart­ner Inc. re­search pub­lished in Jan­uary 2017. 2] Re­port by Deloitte Inc. in Fe­bru­ary 2017.

Ro­hit Pim­p­ley (BE-In­stru­men­ta­tion & Con­trol) is R&D Prod­uct Man­ager with Forbes Mar­shall Ltd. He has about 13 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of in­stru­men­ta­tion, au­to­ma­tion and in­dus­trial IoT prod­ucts de­vel­op­ment. Team leader for de­vel­op­ing need based...

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