Modernization of Refineries Through Advanced IIoT
Refineries face increasing challenges every year. There is far more data to track, and the competition has never been stiffer. Volatile work environments and safety issues are also a concern. These factors necessitate modern, more efficient approaches to data management.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) unlocks previously unavailable data through increased communication between devices. In this article, we’ll take a look at the ways that IIoT overcomes the challenges facing refineries today.
What Are the Current Challenges?
One of the critical challenges facing refineries is outdated data communication. Separate machines track only their own data, so valuable time must be spent manually compiling, analyzing, and comparing information from across the system.
The interplay between systems is also impossible to track. As a result, problems often aren’t found until after the damage has occurred. Besides, gathering and assessing all that data requires a high level of professional skill, which has its own associated costs.
In these rugged environments, it is imperative to transition from a collection of isolated systems to a connected network of smart devices.
Implementing Industrial Internet of Things
This is where Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comes in. IIoT uses intelligent technology to connect industrial assets and make data more accessible. Information is gathered, shared, and implemented without the need for human interaction.
IIoT unlocks system data and provides unparalleled insights, helping you to identify flaws in company processes and determine what improvements you should make. When you use IIoT predictive systems to optimize your operations, you can see:
- Higher efficiency
- Boosted productivity
- Increased margins
- Higher market value
- Prolonged asset life
Greater Insights Through Advanced Analytics
IIoT integrates physics, heuristics, and artificial intelligence into an advanced analytics system. This system collects data from multiple platforms and uses it to predict issues long before they occur. It also tracks production processes and gives valuable insights into the best ways to optimize your operations.
With advanced analytics, you connect machines, products and factories into a cohesive whole.
Automate Through Cognitive Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence provides a high level of power to IIoT systems. Cognitive machine learning lets your system recognize patterns and assess behaviors intelligently. It can then use this data to prescribe needed maintenance long before major problems occur.
On-Premise Decision Making
Time-consuming inspections can now be replaced with sensors and advanced analytics software. This offers many advantages, including:
- Real-time insights
- Fully automated oversight
- Expedited inspections
- More precise and efficient maintenance
- Better worker time usage
- Improved decision-making
- Reduced risk of human error
IIoT sensors wirelessly capture data throughout your facilities and make it easily accessible. Employees can then use this information to make quick adjustments as needed.
Asset Tracking and Management
Refineries using large numbers of assets need an efficient way to keep track of them all. IIoT lets them do that in real time with remote monitoring processes. At any moment, you can verify the health and location of each asset in your operations, making it much easier to keep everything running smoothly.
Real-time equipment tracking and AI-driven analytics give insight into each asset’s health, simplifying important decisions about maintenance and resource usage. IoT-powered asset tracking can cut out costly downtimes by keeping critical components in good repair.
Impact of IIoT Predictive Asset Maintenance
The effects of IIoT extend beyond your operations—they can improve your bottom line. Unscheduled downtimes cost the industry a total of $20 billion each year, but IIoT can save you money by minimizing downtime. IIoT technology helps prevent system failures by alerting you of potential issues before they develop, resulting in:
- Higher productivity – Workers spend more time working and less time waiting for repairs.
- Top line growth – Certain process industries get more material yield from plant optimization.
- Reduced maintenance costs – Fewer system failures means less revenue is going toward costly repairs.
- Reliable capacity – Plants can take on extra loads when demand increases. Downtimes would limit that capacity.
Many providers further improve ROI by offering IIoT as Hardware as a Service (HaaS). In HaaS, you essentially “lease” predictive maintenance assets. This keeps their liabilities off of your balance sheet.
In addition to the raw benefits of operational efficiency, IIoT also aids in financial decision-making. Real-time data supplements ERP and accounting data to create a more complete view of the company.
For instance, data on environmental processes complements enterprise resource planning. With this information, IIoT helps companies forecast financial trends more accurately.
Real-Time Business Control and Accounting
One way IIoT rounds out your accounting data is through sensor-based information. Sensors provide real-time business intelligence on each asset at every level, allowing your company to calculate material and energy costs based on the most current data possible.
Production data provided through real-time sensor data is also invaluable. Consider the impact that thunderstorms, flooding, or wind might have on your equipment. Transportation may also be affected. A snowy day may halt your supply chain and leave paid personnel idle as they wait on materials.
Lower Insurance Premiums
Since IIoT reduces equipment failure rates, it could also lower your insurance costs. Insurance companies are aware of how predictive maintenance reduces the risk of asset failure. Implementing IIoT technology could make you lower risk and get you lower premiums.
Real-Time Reporting Accuracy
Without the predictive capabilities of IIoT, CFO’s may overlook or underestimate some important factors. With the information provided by IIoT, your CFO can make better data-driven purchasing decisions.
The Bottom Line
IIoT is the key to maintaining a competitive edge. With interconnected assets, your data is more visible, and you can make better-informed decisions. IIoT helps optimize resource usage, energy efficiency, staff deployment and financial planning. Assets can also last longer, ultimately reducing costs.
Implementing Industrial IoT can yield a high ROI by efficiently connecting your systems and saving you money in every aspect of your operations.
Do you have any questions regarding industrial IoT? Contact us for help choosing the best platform for your operation.