Condition monitoring benefits in hazardous industries

Condition monitoring can help reduce risk and improve efficiency in hazardous industries.

By Marek Lukaszczyk June 3, 2022
Courtesy: Cincinnati Incorporated/Steve Rourke, CFE Media and Technology

A hazardous area is any area with an atmosphere containing, or potentially containing, gases, vapors or dust which are flammable or explosive. These areas are rigorously analyzed with condition monitoring when installing equipment to minimize the risk to individuals and assets.

It is crucial that equipment operating in these conditions are effectively monitored to pre-empt any issues before they occur. Unlike most industries, these issues not only result in downtime, but present a significant safety risk.

Condition monitoring is integral in industrial operations to avoid downtime, to implement maintenance and to reduce the risk of failure. Remote condition monitoring has previously been limited in hazardous areas due to the lack of cost-effective and easy to install solutions – and the often-challenging environments in which this equipment exists. For example, equipment used in subsea applications or on offshore operations cannot be monitored as frequently or easily.

The use of digital solutions can offer a viable and safe way to address the challenges involved with hazardous area monitoring, minimizing the need for manual inspection and intervention.

One solution, motion fleet management (MFM), can provide a digital solution for data collection and condition monitoring of industrial assets. Using cloud computing, operators can access the operational status of equipment including motors and drives in any industry or location. MFM collects and processes data regularly both at the edge and in the cloud to generate important information on asset operation. Operators can use these insights to develop predictive maintenance plans and carry out condition-based maintenance.

Periodic data collection gives a more thorough overview of asset condition, removing the need for maintenance teams to carry out observations and collect data manually. Having access to this data more frequently can allow maintenance teams to make informed decisions quickly and minimize unplanned stops. This is especially important in hazardous areas, where failure can result in loss of production.

According to Kimberlite Oilfield Research, even a 1% increase in downtime can cost an oil and gas company up to $5.037 million. With a current average of 27 days of downtime on offshore platforms annually, this adds up to $38 million in financial losses, making it even more important to reduce the potential for error. Planning and carrying out repair operations may be time consuming in hazardous areas and can require specialist resources or procedures which may not be immediately available, making effective monitoring even more advantageous.

MFM allows all sensors in the plant can be connected and the data can be accessed remotely and in real time, and users can configure tolerances to generate alerts in case of errors.

– This originally appeared on Control Engineering Europe’s website. 

Author Bio: Marek Lukaszczyk is Europe and Middle East marketing manager at WEG.