Wireless instrumentation helps pipeline operator with diagnostics

Atlas Pipeline – Westex improves production efficiency at gas processing facility, joining old equipment to new control room.


When Atlas Pipeline – Westex wanted to bring data from an old plant into its new control room, the cost of adding all the necessary wiring to do the job threatened to kill the project. But there was another solution.

“Wireless was our only way to do this project," said Wayne Wasson of Atlas. "Without it we would have spent three times as much.”

Atlas used Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology and saved an estimated $725,000 in installation costs. The result has been improved production efficiency at its Benedum natural gas processing facility near Midkiff, TX. The self-organizing IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) network connects a new plant with an older unit in the same facility. Pulling data from the old plant into the new plant’s control room using conventional wiring was not financially feasible because of the distance and obstacles between the two plants.

The wireless network includes 99 of Emerson's Rosemount wireless temperature, pressure, level, and discrete-input transmitters that communicate with three Smart Wireless Gateways to collect real-time data from gas processing and storage tanks, cooling towers, and compressors. The majority of the wireless devices replaced local indicators in the old plant, while others measure pressure along pipes between the two plants and tank level in the new plant.

Data from the wireless network is integrated into the plant’s DeltaV digital automation system, which monitors and controls critical plant processes. Atlas operators also use AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager predictive maintenance software to actively manage key field devices in both plants, including Fisher valves. Predictive diagnostics provided through AMS Suite have enabled Atlas to eliminate operator rounds to the old plant, saving multiple trips per day.

“The application gave us a centralized location to view our total plant process,” said Wasson. “Our operators do not have to make rounds to learn about potential problems. They can more efficiently operate the plant by seeing changes and problems when they occur. Overall installation was easy and seamless and took about a day to have them all communicating and showing up in the DeltaV system.”


Edited by Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com

Also read Wireless technology moves into broader process control applications

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