Oil Refinery Upgrades Control System Involving More than 3,000 Instruments
An oil refinery client needed a control system upgrade to correct performance and maintenance issues. As part of this, the move to an instrument fieldbus technology was made to take advantage of the monitoring and troubleshooting features it could provide. This resulted in the need to replace more than 3,000 existing electrical and controls instruments with a fieldbus networked infrastructure. The sheer size of the installation and the need for hot cutover of the new equipment required extensive field work, planning, testing and coordination among several parties.
Matrix Technologies consultants worked with the refinery staff to perform a definition phase study for the project. A detailed field inventory of the existing control devices was used to prepare instrument location plans and replacement scope per device. This information was then used to prepare a preliminary Fieldbus infrastructure design and an installation cost estimate suitable for project funding.
As part of the implementation, each device was revisited and documented. A custom tool for field documentation was developed by Matrix using hardened iPad tablet devices. The devices communicated directly to the project design team via existing cellular networks. This allowed real time communication between the teams in the field doing documentation and the design teams in Matrix’s offices.
Field data was entered directly from the field into the project design data base using this tool. Pictures of each device were taken using the iPad, and the field team had access to the client’s drawing vault in real time. This increased the rate of device field documentation by 50 to 80 percent compared to traditional paper-and-pencil techniques. A structured query language (SQL) database was developed, which ultimately contained 160,000 pieces of instrument data.
Fieldbus segment design took into consideration plant reliability concerns and device geographic proximity. The custom SQL database was integrated with Smart Plant Instrumentation (SPI) software package to prepare electronic specification sheets for all of the new control devices. Matrix prepared the control system infrastructure design and the contractor installation packages. Matrix field oil and gas engineering consultants were available to answer questions from the onsite installation contractors. The entire re-instrumentation was executed using hot cutovers.
Over the implementation phase of the project, 3,500 new fieldbus devices were specified and installed. The detailed design was broken down into 450 fieldbus segments (75 miles of FFB cable). Installation packages containing a total of 3,000 drawings were prepared and issued. As-recorded drawings were prepared based on contractor markups and, when necessary, confirmed in the field by Matrix team members.
The end result was an extremely successful control system upgrade, which, according to the client, was one of the best the refinery had ever executed.
Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our control system upgrades or oil refinery capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact Scott Byrne, PE, Associate Director, Process & Electrical Design Department.
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