In early June 2017, I met Patrick Reichel, then a senior I/E technician at BASF Freeport at a local ISA event.
Clearguard designs and manufactures the Autorodder, which caught Patrick's interest as BASF Freeport have many locations and applications that would benefit with such a device. The following day Patrick contacted me and asked me to visit site with Mac McKay from Puffer-Sweiven, who are our local exclusive territory representative in Texas. Once Mac and I arrived on site and completed the visitor’s induction, we went out to the 400 block to see the first application that Patrick wanted fixed. The first application was a DP level measurement application on the acrylic acid finishing tower that required constant maintenance, usually daily!
After I studied the first application and asked detailed questions in order to be able to provide a detailed proposal, which was submitted two days later, we all walked the rest of the unit to look at other applications.
The following week, BASF Freeport placed an order for multiple Autorodders, which included Interface flanges (with purge connection and safety bleed point for proof of isolation) and control boxes which arrived four weeks later.
The finishing tower Autorodders have a 400mm stroke Inconel shaft and custom “tip” that keeps the process from blocking up the instrument tap, thus ensuring the 3051S transmitters are receiving true and accurate readings 24/7.
The control box BASF chose for the first installations have an integral timer module that strokes the Autorodder once every two hours. BASF plan on possibly running future Autorodders from the plant DCS, but as they do not see any difference in measurement each time the Autorodder strokes, it is yet to be confirmed if this is necessary or just an added benefit.
Since BASF installed the first Autorodders, they have not had to send a technician out to manually rod-out the taps.
BASF Freeport have already ordered Autorodders for other applications and are currently working on a program to install 20 Autorodders on each of the three vessels that are the same as the first unit.
BASF have calculated a saving of approximately 3,000 dollars per installation per month which equates to a 3 month ROI.
BASF in Antwerp have also installed Autorodders on the same application as Freeport and other sites are looking at their lists.
In September, I had the privilege of presenting this information as a joint end user case study with BASF and Puffer at the Emerson Exchange in Nashville, TN.
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