June 5, 2012

When Plants Require Retrofit Equipment, Wireless Saves the Day

Francis Ang here for Emerson Rosemount. I’m contributing this week’s blog discussing a local gas manufacturing plant here in Singapore.

For most manufacturing plants, the addition of a new measurement requirement after the plant is constructed is a source of huge expense and inconvenience … unless they have wireless. Such was the case with the world scale hydrogen manufacturing plant of Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide Pte Ltd, the subsidiary of Air Liquide in Singapore on Jurong Island. In 80 countries, Air Liquide supplies gases and solutions for its customers in diverse industries such as steel, food and beverage, electronics and pharmaceuticals.

New requirements for degassed conductivity measurements emerged and the plant wanted to add these instruments to their existing facility.

That is when Emerson Process Management came into the picture. Emerson engineers proposed the use of three 6081C wireless liquid analyzers with a contacting conductivity sensor, the Model 400. These were used in combination with a Smart Wireless Gateway. The wireless technology not only satisfies the need for conductivity measurement in the process, it also provides access to diagnostics which significantly reduce the cost and time of maintenance. This idea was well received by SOXAL as a try-out of the wireless diagnostics for the degassed conductivity measurement.

The analyzer was installed in a portable panel design that allows it to be easily moved around the plant as needed. The entire wireless system was installed in two days – a savings of weeks over the wired installation. From a cost benefit perspective; there is about 15 percent savings over the wired installation. Cost of ownership will significantly lower due to the reduced cost of AC power and maintenance and operation. In addition, system upgrades in the future will be fast and low cost.

Another advantage is that the Smart Wireless Gateway allows the liquid analyzers and any other additional products, such as pressure, pH or temperature measurement to be added in the future as part of a self-organizing network wherein each system becomes a wireless transmitter for all other systems.

For Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide Pte Ltd, as for other plants requiring retrofit around the world, wireless technology significantly reduces costs while improving operations.