Valve Alignment Tracking

Valve Alignment Tracking

Customer: Oil and Gas Customer

Project Type: Electrical Design and Software development

Project Scope: When faced with the challenge of how to prevent manual valve misalignments in a complex tank field, a petroleum-refining client teamed with Matrix Technologies to complete the development of a user-friendly tool to allow tracking and communication of valve positions; visualization of active piping and tanks; reporting of valve position changes; documentation of valve maintenance issues; and car sealed valve status. This new system has been working well, and has resulted in a significant reduction in valve misalignment incidents in the tank farm.

With more than eighty-five (85) tanks, two thousand (2,000) valves, and fifteen thousand (15,000) piping segments in the subject refinery’s tank field, the site has struggled for years with how to prevent valve misalignments.

Matrix Technologies was engaged and worked closely with the client to complete the development of a very successful tool. Each valve in the tank field area was tagged in the field with a unique number and the tank field area AutoCAD drawing was updated with the valve names. The drawing was designed to show geographically the physical location of each valve.

Matrix Technologies developed an AutoCAD-based user interface where the control room operator views the drawing, tracks the position of each valve in the tank field, and determines what line-ups are active at any given time.

With the numerous lines and valves on the new system, it can be difficult to determine which lineups are active by looking at valve positions alone. To overcome this obstacle, an “Identify Path” feature was programmed into the system by Matrix Technologies to allow the inside board operator to click on any tank, valve, or line on the drawing and highlight all piping and equipment connected to that point through open valves. Combined with the geographic orientation of the piping and equipment on the drawing, this allows quick identification of potential misalignments or abnormal line-ups in the tank field. Additional reporting features included faulty valve identification, car-sealed valve status, and tracking of the frequency of individual valve position changes.

Project Outcome: This new system has been very successful since it was installed. The additional oversight of valve position changes has reduced the frequency of valve misalignment incidents by 73% (from 1.5 events per month to 0.4 events per month). The quicker response to potential misalignment issues has reduced the financial impact of those incidents by 100% (from an approximate average of $61,000 per event to $0 per event).