Refineries make up the downstream segment of the oil industry that is responsible for the refining crude oil and distribution of its byproducts. Even though they play an essential role in the oil market, these oil refineries are subjected to various risks and inefficiencies. As a sensitive industry that deals with fire hazards on a regular basis, the threat of oil-burning into fumes and possibilities of collateral damage are always high. Even minor faults can be very dangerous in such a hazardous environment as a single spark or shot wire could cause severe accidents. Hence, the oil industry requires a refinery monitoring solution that can help them to monitor their operations.
IoT (Internet of Things), with its smart refinery monitoring systems, is helping refineries to get rid of their inefficiencies. These systems allow users to track real-time data and act on it based on past data references. It uses wireless sensors that are compact and easy to deploy, to provide real-time information to users for controlling and monitoring their processes.
What is IoT?
IoT is a smart technology used to create a network of physical devices that can be monitored and controlled through the internet. It collects data from endpoints and passes it through a series of gateways, concentrators, or other telemetry devices. The data is then stored on cloud storage. This data can later be accessed and monitored on a centralized dashboard in various formats.
By using this data, businesses and industries alike can not only keep a keen eye on their processes but also use that data to derive fruitful actions for process improvement.
While Distributed Control systems (DCS) and Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems provide similar benefits, the data from IoT systems can be accessed or operated outside industry boundaries also.
Hence, oil refineries can provision a refinery monitoring system to monitor data from remote places to create a safe working environment, manage the supply chain, and boost operational excellence. Let‚Äôs see how.
IoT in Refineries
In refineries, physical telemetry devices such as sensors, meters, gateways, etc. can be installed on assets, machines, or any type of equipment to collect data from them. This data can then be used to track performance or get notified about any discrepancy in the refining process.
This data can be oil level measurements from tanks, parametric information from machines, energy consumption readings, or fuel availability in tank farms. By analyzing data collected over a period of time, refineries can make intelligent decisions to improve their processes and boost overall efficiency.
Benefits of Refinery Monitoring System
Such an end-to-end IoT-powered refinery monitoring system can allow refineries to leverage a myriad range of benefits. Let us look at them one by one:
‚óŹ Preventive maintenance check:
IoT database stores and maintains the data from past experiences. By processing this historical data, it becomes viable for refineries to pinpoint the location of failures and precisely predict the time range during which their machines or equipment might fail. Hence, refineries can schedule their inspection and maintenance tasks just before when the probability of malfunction is high.
For example, the refinery process monitoring can estimate the time period in which a motor will break down based on the past information about its subsequent failures.
This gives operators ample time to take quick actions to repair or replace a broken component to ensure that their units keep on running without any unwanted interruption.
‚óŹ Improved Responsive Time:
Oil refineries have huge oil tank farms that can comprise of a multiple number of tanks. The tanks in this farm are used to store and supply crude oil, petrol, diesel, and other by-products. Hence tank farms are a very crucial part of any refinery‚Äôs supply chain.
However, to keep a track of fuel stored in these tanks, a large portion of the workforce is to be employed to take manual measurements.
Through IoT powered refinery monitoring system, refineries can keep live track of liquid levels in tanks without any manual hassle. Hence, the workforce can be used for more productive operations and response time can also be optimized using remote real-time monitoring.
‚óŹ Efficient Procedures:
Refinery process monitoring is an amalgamation of various IoT solutions that allow companies to improve their overall efficiency and achieve operational excellence. Solutions like level monitoring and smart metering allow the refinery to facilitate the stock and logistics of crude oil and its petroleum products in and out of their facilities. Also, energy monitoring and machine monitoring solutions allow companies to manage their energy consumption and ensure that their machines are running seamlessly.
Therefore, all the solutions work as a simple system and help an oil refinery to keep a keen eye on all of its processes. This improves asset utilization and also boosts productivity.
‚óŹ Insightful information with Graphical charts:
Data from heavy equipment and instrument collected on a server are updated to a monitoring system. However, the data representation must be easy to visualize so that insights can be extracted from them quickly and even the smallest variation in device readings are traceable. IoT-based refinery monitoring solutions can process the data into different formats for easy data visualization. The raw data can be converted into the form of tables, graphs, and charts so that valuable insights can be collected from them.
Smart refinery monitoring systems are on a rise in the oil market and IoT is playing a rudimental role in them. By leveraging these scalable IoT systems, refineries can enhance improve overall equipment effectiveness; reduce possibilities of fire occurrences; and reduce costs associated with failures, inspection, and maintenance.