Beginning in 2002, MOL engineers made the strategic decision to install HART-enabled devices throughout their operation and to utilize all the benefits of HART Communication, both wired and wireless, in the broadest possible scope. This decision was part of a plant-wide refining maintenance strategy with an objective to increase operational reliability.
They made the decision going forward to purchase intelligent field instruments that supports HART Communication and then to develop and use the in-depth and sophisticated communication options embedded in those HART instruments. Their new directive became ‘let’s get connected—off-line and on-line—and put these HART instruments to work.
Connecting HART-enabled devices into an on-line diagnostics system has changed the way the MOL maintenance department runs its operation. On-line device diagnostics — instrument signals going directly to the plant maintenance and control systems—makes it possible to prevent unplanned shutdowns and plant slow-downs by allowing engineers to detect and resolve automation asset problems before they become critical.
According to MOL maintenance engineers, since the introduction of HART diagnostics at the petrol refinery, the number of valves selected for repair during a planned shutdown has dropped from 60% to about 5%. The system works so well and has proved to be so beneficial, that the company has set up a separate unit of three people to operate the applications and systems. Using HART diagnostics has resulted in MOL saving an estimated $2 million USD in reduced maintenance costs and avoided unscheduled shutdowns.
More than 30,000 of the plant’s 50,000 instruments are HART-enabled with 3,700 of these HART devices — mostly control valves and instruments used in critical control loops —connected directly into their CMMS (computerized maintenance management systems).