What does an IIoT-en­abled pump look like?


DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FRONT PAGE -

The In­ter­net of Things (IoT) con­nects bil­lions of peo­ple through soft­ware apps like Twit­ter and What­sApp and plat­forms like iOS and An­droid. IoT con­cepts and low-level tech­nol­ogy are bleed­ing into the in­dus­trial space and boost­ing busi­ness ef­fi­ciency. The In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things (IIoT) will even­tu­ally con­nect tens of bil­lions of “things” busi­nesses use to op­er­ate with other ma­chines, the cloud, con­trol sys­tems, and peo­ple. Pumps are squarely on the list of “things,” and, like many other big iron as­sets that don’t gen­er­ate high-tech pub­lic­ity, pumps have much to gain with this surge of tech­nol­ogy. But why do we need IIoT pumps? And what does an IIoT-en­abled pump look like?

Up­time is un­der fire from evolv­ing chal­lenges that add risk and cost to op­er­a­tions. How­ever, as fos­sil power gen­er­a­tion plants con­tin­u­ally seek ways to im­prove per­for­mance and re­duce costs, on­line con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing is be­ing im­ple­mented to help ad­dress scal­ing mon­i­tor­ing not just for crit­i­cal as­sets but also bal­ance of plant equip­ment. This im­proves the re­li­a­bil­ity and up­time across the en­tire power plant. Though pumps il­lus­trate a “thing” to be mon­i­tored, po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tions in­clude ther­mal per­for­mance and mon­i­tor­ing, emis­sions mon­i­tor­ing, equip­ment con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing, sys­tem per­for­mance and alarm man­age­ment, and data trend­ing.

Fur­ther com­pound­ing this up­time prob­lem is the fast-ap­proach­ing re­tire­ment age of many of the main­te­nance pro­fes­sion­als re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing mo­tors, pumps, and drives op­er­a­tional. They re­tire and im­me­di­ately turn to pri­vate con­sult­ing be­cause of the cur­rent in­dus­try de­mand fu­elled by the lack of qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als to re­place them. This is es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult con­sid­er­ing a por­tion of a main­te­nance pro­fes­sional’s time is spent on a route in tran­sit be­tween as­sets to take man­ual mea­sure­ments. Fewer main­te­nance per­son­nel in the field means the ones who are there spend even more of their time gath­er­ing data, much of which is from healthy, op­er­a­tional as­sets. The goal is to find the prob­lems be­fore costly down­time, and mea­sur­ing healthy as­sets is part of the price paid to re­duce that risk.

Another chal­lenge in­volves the age of the com­mis­sioned as­sets. Older mo­tors and pumps can cost more to keep run­ning and can in­crease the risk of an un­planned out­age. In short, more as­sets need to be mon­i­tored more often when fewer pro­fes­sion­als are avail­able in the in­dus­try to keep them op­er­at­ing. For process in­dus­tries, the health of pumps, mo­tors, and drives can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a smooth shift and a costly un­planned out­age. To avoid un­planned down­time, re­li­a­bil­ity and availability are sta­ples of safe power plant op­er­a­tions. Main­tain­ing equip­ment, such as pumps, to high-per­for­mance stan­dards im­proves the un­der­stand­ing of pump degra­da­tion. A key part in main­tain­ing high re­li­a­bil­ity is the use of ad­vanced on­line mon­i­tor­ing tech­nolo­gies that al­low for the con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of plant pro­cesses. Ac­cord­ing to the EIA (LINK: http://www.eia. gov/to­dayinen­ergy/de­tail.cfm?id=1830), US power gen­er­a­tion fleet com­po­nents range greatly in age. Hy­dropower gen­er­a­tors tend to be the old­est with nu­clear gen­er­a­tors right be­hind them. In con­trast, most new ca­pac­ity in­cludes nat­u­ral gas-fired power plants and the re­new­able, pri­mar­ily wind, re­sources com­ing on­line in the 2000s. Mon­i­tor­ing tech­nolo­gies across a dis­trib­uted net­work de­tect po­ten­tial prob­lems and pro­vide warn­ings of equip­ment fail­ure or per­for­mance degra­da­tions. IIoT tech­nol­ogy of­fers a bet­ter way to op­er­ate that ad­dresses th­ese chal­lenges us­ing tech­nol­ogy such as edge com­put­ing, an­a­lyt­ics, cloud ac­cess, and mo­bile de­vice sup­port. Ten years ago, the tech­nol­ogy needed to ad­dress th­ese chal­lenges was costly and the sever­ity of th­ese chal­lenges was low. Moore’s law, soft­ware plat­forms, the cloud, and con­nected de­vices are in­spir­ing smarter main­te­nance plans. Re­cently at Off­shore Tech­nol­ogy Con­fer­ence 2016 in Hous­ton, four com­pa­nies, NI, HPE, PTC, and Flowserve, show­cased an in­tel­li­gent pump to demon­strate a va­ri­ety of tech­nolo­gies that ad­dress in­dus­try chal­lenges and help busi­nesses op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently.

The process of au­to­mat­i­cally mon­i­tor­ing this pump be­gins with a va­ri­ety of sen­sor tech­nolo­gies. The pump is out­fit­ted with mul­ti­ple sen­sors mea­sur­ing vi­bra­tion, volt­age, cur­rent, tem­per­a­ture, pres­sure, and flow rate. IIoT gate­ways de­signed to con­nect op­er­a­tional tech­nol­ogy to in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, specif­i­cally for brown­field ap­pli­ca­tions, need to be open enough to sup­port a range of sen­sors in­clud­ing new sen­sor tech­nolo­gies as they are merged into the IIoT plat­form. For this demo, a sin­gle in­tel­li­gent gate­way ag­gre­gates data from all of the con­nected sen­sors and chooses whether to con­duct lo­cal pro­cess­ing at the as­set for event trig­gers and alarms. Re­mem­ber how main­te­nance pro­fes­sion­als spend a lot of time in tran­sit be­tween as­sets? By shift­ing from a man­ual-route- based main­te­nance rou­tine to one that uses on­line mon­i­tor­ing for crit­i­cal and near crit­i­cal as­sets, busi­nesses can mon­i­tor more ma­chines more often and en­able their work­forces to spend more time di­ag­nos­ing and man­ag­ing as­sets in­stead of walk­ing or driv­ing around to take mea­sure­ments. The abil­ity to com­pute power on the as­set is an im­por­tant fea­ture to help an­a­lyze the data in near real time and im­prove the prob­a­bil­ity of catch­ing tran­sient phe­nom­ena. This abil­ity also re­duces the re­quired net­work band­width since dy­namic


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