Predictive Diagnostics – the Underappreciated Tool in the Industrial Arsenal

Engineer working on industrial pipes.Would you believe that one of the tools with the capacity to save industrial companies the most money and time is also one of the most underutilized? That tool is predictive diagnostics, a feature on a wide range of measurement and analytical instruments that goes largely unappreciated by too many industrial companies. The reason? It’s difficult to establish the value of what doesn’t happen. In other words, the ROI of cost avoidance isn’t easy to prove. One petrochemical company, however, did just that.

The company, which is based in the U.S. Gulf Coast and produces a wide range of petrochemicals, analyzed its situation and determined it was wasting too much time and effort on what it considered a “shoot from the hip” maintenance program rather than improving the process. The company, however, was willing to think outside the box to enhance efficiency, save money and prevent downtime. To establish the return on investment of various steps it was taking, the company developed a methodology with Emerson to prove the value of cost avoidance.

The proof of concept came in a specific challenge the company was experiencing. The process unit was a very hot environment that had caused device failures due to “overheating” of the wiring in conduit. The company was experiencing issues with multiple transmitters and was struggling to find the root cause, a problem that was impacting the SIS system and the availability of the entire unit. Wiring was pulled and replaced, yet the issue was not resolved. Since the company was unable to identify the root cause, the unit was on the brink of being shut down, which takes a minimum of 3 days to turn around – a very expensive shutdown.

The solution came from an unexpected place – the predictive diagnostics on the company’s Rosemount 3051S pressure transmitter.

What many companies don’t realize is that predictive diagnostics continuously evaluate the status of three areas:

  • Electrical continuity
  • The health of the device
  • The health of fluid in the pipe

A diagnostic on the terminal voltage gave the company its first real clue as to the root cause of the problem. The loop integrity diagnostic was able to detect dangerous on-scale failures due to leakage current. The diagnostics alerted the company via the AMS Device Manager and the company received multiple diagnostic messages. An outage was avoided.

The results of this one event were considerable:

  • By avoiding an extended outage, the company saved $3.6 million
  • A new way to assess potential grounding issues was discovered
  • The company received a 2,400,000% return on investment to upgrade the one transmitter that discovered the floating ground
  • Due to this success, the company changed its standard transmitter to now always include the power advisory feature
  • It helped pave the way to explore Statistical Process Monitoring on more applications

 Investing in the infrastructure to deliver predicative information – including using top-tier instrumentation and valves – has been invaluable for this company:

  • It has realized over $5.5 million in cost avoidance so far
  • Cost savings exceeds $4,000 per tag on device manager
  • Successes have paved the way to expand wireless

More information about Rosemount 3051S Advanced Diagnostics can be found here.

How could your company expand its predictive mindset? Share by commenting below.