http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 17.98Change: 0.00
R/$ = 15.91Change: -0.10
Au 1238.15 $/ozChange: -15.60
Pt 954.00 $/ozChange: -8.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters About Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Nov 11, 2011

Operational variance management can improve plant efficiency

Back
Africa|Design|Efficiency|Flow|Industrial|Instrumentation|Measurement|Power|PROJECT|Sustainable|System|Systems|Training|Africa|Energy|Equipment|Flow|Maintenance|Systems|Infrastructure|Measurement |Process Control
Africa|Design|Efficiency|Flow|Industrial|Instrumentation|Measurement|Power|PROJECT|Sustainable|System|Systems|Training|Africa|Energy|Equipment|Flow|Maintenance|Systems|Infrastructure|Process Control
africa-company|design|efficiency|flow-company|industrial|instrumentation|measurement-company|power|project|sustainable|system|systems-company|training|africa|energy|equipment|flow-industry-term|maintenance|systems|infrastructure|measurement|process-control
© Reuse this



Managing the variability of process parameters in subsystems using real-time measurements will ensure a higher chance of ideal running conditions and will improve plant efficiency and energy efficiency, said process control instrumentation and electrical equipment company Industrial Management Enhancement South Africa’s (IME SA’s) Dr Kobus van der Merwe.

Speaking at the Predictive Maintenance South Africa Conference in October, he said: “For every poor decision made by an operator, you decrease the life span of your equipment because it introduces instability into the process and places stress on the entire system of your production cycle.”

Inconsistent decision-making would mean that the inefficiencies already present in the process would be carried over, even after new technologies, systems and equipment have been implemented. However, how could operators or managers make correct decisions if they used lagging indicators to inform them?

“The challenge is that performance indicators only follow decisions made. Even if we only have a two-hour lag in terms of chemical analysis on production, it means that by the time we get the analysis, the process is long out of the door. If we want to apply any corrections that are needed based on the chemical analysis, the same process conditions no longer apply. Therefore, we take performance measurements in real time,” he explained.

IME SA and power and automation group ABB South Africa conducted real-time analyses of a number of pulp and paper, smelter, hydrometallurgical and food and beverage plants to determine their real-time efficiency and how this affected energy efficiency and process efficiency.

“We conducted our analyses using real-time measurements and identified different operational conditions in the production process.

“However, if we look at the time when a plant or subunit is operating in an ideal state, we see that plants only operate in the ideal state about 20% of the time. So, there is an 80% chance of improving the production process without buying new equipment or installing new systems,” said Van der Merwe.

“We take real-time measurements and define a link to performance indicators. If we can define a relationship, it provides us with the ability to say that, given the current operating conditions, which can be quantified in terms of tempera- ture and flow, besides others, we can say that the probability of hitting the target state is either higher or lower.”

If a plant could start to characterise subsystems and their performance parameters and only manage ideal conditions on each of the subsystems, then a plant would naturally achieve of higher throughput, he explained.

“Nonideal operating conditions were asso- ciated with energy requirements as high as 3 MWh/t (for one of the plants), which is about double what we are aiming for under ideal condi- tions. We can now start to understand what the plant conditions must be when we aim to reduce power consumption per ton.”

“Further, I can mention that increasing ideal time, from 30% of the time within its target limits at one plant in the study to 50%, led to a R20-million cut in its energy bill,” he emphasised.

The challenge was that overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and other performance indicators were aggregated values, he noted.

“We sat with plant personnel and determined from them what they experienced as different operating conditions without taking actual real- time processing data into account. We then calculated that good and bad conditions produced very similar OEE values,” explained Van der Merwe.

Training and development of operational personnel and technical personnel, and aligning them in terms of their understanding of condi- tions and situations driving performance in a plant, contributed significantly to improving performance and increasing the chances of running in ideal conditions, he explained.

“A general comment from factory floors these days is that the experience is not there anymore but, throughout this whole process, what we noticed is that purely by highlighting and visualising those different process conditions, extracting the parameters from historical process data and design specifications provided a valuable understanding of the different process conditions operators need to monitor. The ability to identify and monitor a particular process condition is critical,” said Van der Merwe.

Meanwhile, asset sweating has emerged as a significant factor in efficiency.

“We completed an assessment and real-time measurement project at a plant that had planned to install a new induction furnace. This is on hold at the moment because the capacity made available through proper decision-making and operation was enough to make the new furnace redundant,” he emphasised.

Further, another important item was sustain- ability. Training staff to high levels, so that they understand a plant’s processes, was a more sustainable approach than implementing new technologies, he said, highlighting results from the study.

“The focus is primarily on training and development. No new systems were implemented or technologies installed and it is all about using existing infrastructure more effectively and effi- ciently,” noted Van der Merwe.

Recalibration of the measuring instruments should be done whenever a new piece of machi- nery is installed or when the characteristics of a piece of equipment change, which would affect the rest of the process.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here
 
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Maintenance News
Updated 5 hours ago Global lubricant producer Fuchs Petrolub has expanded its stable with the acquisition of two recognised lubricant brands in 2015.
RENOVATION Regularly upgrading the cooling tower reduces maintenance downtime
The upgrading of a cooling tower’s fill media with components constructed out of robust and non-clogging materials such as polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or stainless steel can lead to cost-effective ways of extending the life of a cooling tower....
South African road-rail vehicle (RRV) developer RailPro is pursuing a semi-autonomous-vehicle solution, which it believes could open up new market opportunities for its vehicles, which are currently employed primarily in maintenance and repair operations. The company...
More
 
 
Latest News
President Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma unveiled the skeletons of what he described as an economic “turnaround plan” in a State of the Nation Address dominated by the current plight of the South African economy, which was unlikely to grow by more than 1% in 2016 and would not nearly...
South Africa’s Competition Commission has recommended the Competition Tribunal conditionally approve the proposed merger between Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration, Glencore’s Optimum coal mine and six target firms. The commission found that the proposed transaction was...
Incoming joint Sasol CEO Bongani Nqwababa
Incoming joint Sasol CEO Bongani Nqwababa believes “simplistic” correlations of the company’s performance to the oil price will become less relevant in coming years as the revenue and profit contribution of its chemicals business rises in line with its large North...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
WIDENING FLEXIBILITY The trailers have a 3-m-wide (2-file) and 4.3-m-wide (2-file) configuration
Updated 5 hours ago Lifting, transporting, installing and ballasting solutions provider Ale has expanded its global fleet of trailers and invested in the latest range of widening trailers that can be mechanically widened from 3 m to the desired width for any project. Ale ordered 48 axle...
Updated 5 hours ago The market for the BMW 7 Series in South Africa differs quite significantly from the rest of the world. China, the US and the Middle East almost exclusively buy the long-wheel-base version, using the German manufacturer’s luxury high-end sedan as a chaffeur-driven...
Updated 5 hours ago January new-vehicle sales fell by 6.9%, to 48 615 units, compared with the same month last year. Statistics released by the Department of Trade and Industry show that the domestic new passenger-car market declined by 6.1%, to 34 936 units, compared with 12 months ago.
Updated 5 hours ago Information technology (IT) equipment and infrastructure multinational Dell is providing open infrastructure systems for clients so that they can use any systems, including innovative new systems, that suit their business needs, says Dell Europe, Middle East and...
Updated 5 hours ago South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group, Denel, has set up another international partnership, based in Hong Kong. This new subsidiary is Denel Asia and it is a joint venture (JV) with South African private sector company VR Laser.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $149 Close
Subscribe Now for $149