Monitoring and controlling inventory are critical in realising safe, efficient and continuous plant operations. But they also come with their own set of challenges, says monitoring and control systems provider Yokogawa South Africa product specialist Johan van der Westhuizen.
Loading piers, tank farms, offshore unmanned platforms and onshore, remote well- head locations often tend to be distributed over large areas, making them expensive to fully instrument.
Wireless solutions, the com- pany argues, can assist by allowing plant management to decrease infrastructure costs and increase the surveillance of these valuable inventories, he says.
Yokogawa has introduced its ISA100 range of wireless monitoring devices, including wireless pressure and heat transmitters as well as gateway routers and wireless tools.
Van der Westhuizen says the company chose to use wireless technology because it opens up new opportunities for plants.
The technology has been used exten- sively throughout Europe and America and Yokogawa is confident of its acceptance locally.
Van der Westhuisen explains that wire- less gateways can be configured for the particular asset coverage, while wireless devices deployed within the network improve asset visibility and quality measurement. Both tank farms and loading piers can benefit from wireless pressure, level and temperature profiling for efficient inventory management control.
“The use of wireless technology enables the plant to reduce its infrastructure costs and investments, improve surveillance of inventories, improve quality measure- ments and increase inventory management and control,” he says.
Wireless also enables information to be available anywhere – for example, it improves plant management by reducing the need to enter hazardous areas.
Further, costs are saved on installation and commissioning efforts as well as on the provision of mobile operators and maintenance engineers because it elimi- nates the need for local panels and control rooms.
Yokogawa chose to use ISA100 tech- nology because of the focus on field to control room integration. The need for different types of wireless networks to coexist with ISA100 is crucial, as is the high level of security that the technology offers.
ISA100 can be used in plants that have no obstacles to interfere with transmission, such as open terrain plants and tank farms, and in areas such as complex pipe net- works, inside infrastructure and in pipe- lines. A higher antenna position can improve communication quality.