Pipeline Week Conference and Exhibition is taking place this week at the Westin Galleria Hotel, October 3 -5, 2017.  I had a chance to stop by the OSIsoft booth to see what they have planned for the conference.

Big data advocates have long touted the benefits that are achieved using data to ferret out maintenance problems or inefficiencies. Critics, though, note that many efforts have not lived up to their initial promises.

TransCanada and OSIsoft will deliver a presentation at Pipeline Week that shows how TransCanada (which maintains 90,000 kilometers of pipelines and approximately 200 compression stations in the eastern U.S.) has managed to increase the reliability of its compressor fleet from 86% to 99% – generating an estimated $100 million in savings.

“The driving force behind high reliability is how TransCanada approaches the challenge of predictive maintenance and analytics,” said Craig Harclerode, the industry principal for oil and gas at OSIsoft. “The company takes a hybrid approach; that is, the combined use of notifications and analytics which aid employees in the field to fix problems. At the same time, TransCanada leverages cloud based analytics that enhance fleet-wide optimization projects. Higher employee participation means more team work; and, that means more project success.” The compressor project is accelerated by the extensive use of digital twins: a technique for combining the different data streams of a system into a cohesive unit – making the data easier to analyze.

In the future, expect to see more examples of successful predictive maintenance programs. In Gartner’s “Top Strategic Predictions for 2017 and Beyond: Surviving the Storm Winds of Digital Disruption,” analysts (click) say that savings from predictive maintenance will hit $1 trillion by 2022. Low prices and constrained capital budgets are a fact of life for companies across the petrochemical supply chain. Digital technology effectively offers a way to extract more value out of existing assets and eliminate hidden efficiencies.

Service providers are also getting into the market. Flowserve, a pump maker that can trace its history back to the 1790s, now incorporates vibration analysis and alarm notifications in its products. Flowserve then monitors the equipment on behalf of the customer. In a recent example, the vibration analysis technology alerted the customer to a problem that could have led (click) to $630,000 in losses.

“IIoT is coming, make no mistake,” said Harclerode. “It will dramatically transform our largest and oldest industries. Approach it strategically, and you can avoid the potholes in the road.”

-Richard Carranza, Editor

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