Case Study: Refinery in the Middle East | B&K Vibro

SETPOINT system finds another monitoring niche in the greener environment industry


By Michael Hastings,

Senior Applications Engineer

Brüel & Kjær Vibro’s machine condition monitoring solutions are involved in a lot of green industrial environment projects. For example, renewable energy, green ethylene production, combined cycle energy production, and refining clean-burning fuel. It is the latter where our Setpoint system has recently been implemented in a large refinery in the Middle East.

Green Environmental Challenges

Reducing the sulfur content in diesel fuel is an important ongoing environmental issue now, as was removing lead from gasoline was in the 1970s. This is because the sulfur in fuel is released as sulfur dioxide in the air, which can create acid rain.

Hydrodesulfurisation is the refinery process where sulfur can be removed. However, a lot of hydrogen is needed to do this. Hydrogen can come from several sources in the refinery, but it is most often made in the steam methane reformer (SMR) unit. The hydrogen produced in the SMR is also used in other processes such as for hydrotreating and hydrocracking. It is a very important commodity in the refinery. Plans are already underway to make the SMR process greener. This can be done by using biogas, carbon capture technology, and supplementing the hydrogen production with renewable energy electrolysis.

Setpoint System for the SMR Process

Setpoint was installed to monitor the induced draft and forced draft fans used in the steam production part of the SMR process. These critical machines, up to 1.8 MW in power, have to work continuously. Otherwise, there is a risk the entire refining process will grind to a halt. This could cost millions in lost production.

Because of this criticality, accurate and reliable fault detection and diagnostics is imperative. The Setpoint system is connected to the PI database historian so vibration data can be easily correlated with process parameters for more reliable diagnostics. Moreover, the Setpoint system includes comprehensive diagnostic capability that gives an accurate and early insight into forecasting when service can be cost-effectively planned for detected faults. Diagnostic service can be provided remotely.

The original vibration transmitters on the fans were replaced by a proper condition monitoring solution with Setpoint system. We added just a rack, phase sensors, PI integration, and remote connectivity to the headquarters office. No proprietary condition monitoring server had to be added. The remote access proved to be an extra bonus during the COVID19 times, where all diagnostics had to be done remotely.

This is just another example of how Setpoint is working towards helping to keep the wheels of industry turning.  At the same time, it provides a greener and more efficient energy production and utilization for a cleaner tomorrow.

BK Vibro Refinery

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