Process optimization through integration of control and asset management
Akintunde, Oludele Abiodun
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This research work focuses on the use of integrated control and asset management (ICAM) in optimizing process plant operations. The assets considered are mainly valves and instruments, such as pressure, flow, temperature and level transmitters. The dissertation discusses how integrated control and asset management could be used to detect potential process problems as well as incipient faults in field devices and valves. Integrated control and asset management is a technology whereby the control loop or system is made to perform functions other than its traditional function of controlling the process in order to achieve an improved production target. The conditions of the instruments, valves and the process itself are monitored with the aid of another system called asset management. The condition monitoring data is superimposed on the process control signal thus giving the name ‘integrated’. Commonly known as artificial intelligent design, the asset management software is able to unlock data buried in a distributed control system (DCS), supervisory control and digital acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic control (PLC) or other remote terminal units (RTUs), analyze it and give actionable recommendations. Two plants in Sasol which have deployed the ICAM technology were investigated namely the Auto-Thermal reforming (ATR) plant and the N-Butanol plant. The research investigation revealed that the use of ICAM gives rise to i) a proactive maintenance strategy ii) increased uptime which means reduced downtime iii) increased throughput iv) removal of unnecessary maintenance of valves and instruments and v) an improved way of running the process. The ICAM technology has been made possible by the HART technology, the foundation fieldbus technology as well as SMART-based instruments and valves. Some limitations of ICAM were also discovered as well as other factors that could hamper it from delivering its full benefits.
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