Implementing Asset Integrity at the Refinery of the Future

At the center of the modern petrochemical plant are a plethora of assets. From subsystems to valves, to nuts to bolts, down to the last screw, ensuring that these assets are captured, catalogued, and functioning as designed is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of managing a process-driven facility.

For many years, there have been limited software applications, 3D models, and digital databases to aid this asset management challenge. However, those independent toolsets present some long-standing issues in relation to modern asset integrity. Primarily, their lack of interconnectivity.

At Texmark Chemical, they’ve set out to modernize traditional asset management by utilizing their petrochemical plant as a proving ground for innovative Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies. As part of this project, they are deploying an Asset Intelligence Solution with a number of key initiatives, otherwise referred to as use cases, in testing and constructing a ‘next generation’ chemical plant. This project solution, integrated by CB Technologies (CBT), combines traditional 3D models and digital databases with IIoT technologies to provide real-time, web-enabled, management and analysis of industrial equipment.

The Refinery of the Future project provides CBT the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what a boutique-systems integrator is capable of. In this case, showcasing just what’s possible in modern asset management for process-oriented enterprises. As with many of our projects, CBT works with multiple vendors and partners to generate a custom solution to meet a customer’s unique set of needs, in this case, Texmark Chemical’s Toll Blending Services.

Asset Integrity, Refinery of the Future (Texmark Chemical)

One of the key pieces of the puzzle for this asset integrity IIoT solution is an application called Palladio. Designed and developed for the petrochemical industry in Europe, this mechanical integrity tool combines 3-D models (generated from a ‘point-cloud’ file, often referred to as a “Digital Twin”) with the plant’s numerous databases of unstructured files (drawings, reports, schematics, photos, videos, etc.).

“Petrochemical companies, like most large enterprises, have challenges in tracking assets. Within the Oil & Gas Industry, these assets are expensive and unplanned events can be catastrophic if there is an equipment failure. Not only being able to track the asset, but also knowing its health is incredibly important,” says CB Technologies’ SVP of Customer Success, Stan Galanski.

By inserting the Palladio application into Texmark’s standard operating procedures and the RotF Project, CBT has been able to illustrate how a wide range of assets can be tracked/traced, visualized in 3-D, and performance-monitored for risk avoidance. This practical use case of the digital twin interface has proven substantially beneficial to Texmark’s ‘bottom line’ success.

Implementing these tools has helped Texmark locate hundreds of critical plant parts and assemblies in the form of blueprints, maintenance logs, part number listings, etc., across various platforms in both physical and digital forms. Customers like Texmark often have duplicate or missing information, but CBT’s brings software that can scan, search, and find this misfiled or unindexed information, thus allowing the customer to know exactly what they have and where they have it.

CB Technologies’ unique ability to deliver an innovative made-to-order solution is what enabled us to be an excellent fit as the systems integrator on this project. By “understanding what the customers problem is, tailoring a solution that meets their needs,” says Stan, “CBT ensures that the customer isn’t overbuying or being overburdened.” Rather than delivering a ‘plug and play’ solution that may, or may not, meet a project’s criteria, or deploy a project plan of epic proportion, CB Technologies provides Texmark with a succinct set of deliverables, obtaining incremental user approval, resulting in customer satisfaction. Overall, CB Technologies’ integration of plant systems and infrastructure with advanced IIoT technologies like Palladio allows for faster, more agile development, in a cost competitive manner.

Asset integrity plays a key role in the success, or failure, of this industry – one that experiences billions in overspending due to poor asset management each year – and is one of the persistent problems that CBT and Texmark are trying to resolve with the RotF Project.

By identifying inconsistencies in plant data, providing interconnectivity between laser scanned models and digital databases, and otherwise ensuring cutting-edge asset integrity technologies in the petrochemical space, CBT has risen to the task of making the Refinery of the Future possible.

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An additional article on the Refinery of the Future can be found here, and a testimonial video from Linda Salinas, VP Operations at Texmark, can be found here.

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