Chinese petrochem project uses FF and FDT/DTM for field instrumentation and valves

Massive project embraces advantages of instrument diagnostics and proactive asset management practices. Positive shift in "maintenance culture" prevents device failures.


CSPC, a joint venture between the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Shell , is one of the largest petrochemical projects launched in China in recent years. When production started in 2006, the project was also one of the biggest installations utilizing Foundation Fieldbus (FF) technology in process control and field instrumentation.

n about the failure. The CSPC petrochemical plant has put that technology to work on a large scale.

"This is a big change in maintenance culture," says Seah Ooi Kiat, head of instrument engineering at CSPC's manufacturing department. "In the past, maintenance actions were often taken too late, usually after problems had occurred and been recognized by plant operators. Now, using the latest technology, the maintenance technician can check, on a daily basis, those devices that have issued a warning of a potential problem and decide on corrective action before any potential failure occurs."

Like any process plant, control valves are an important area of maintenance at CSPC. Metso is a major supplier for the project, and has installed 2,400 valves with its intelligent fieldbus enabled ND9000 valve controllers. Plant operators and maintenance personnel use the diagnostic information daily.

The graphical user interface is based on FDT/DTM technology. Using a DTM (device type manager-a device graphical user interface) can help simplify operation because it allows easy access to device parameters, configuration, and diagnostics. For example, devices that have shown a warning status can be analyzed and diagnosed daily using a DTM. This system also works with HART devices because the DTM is independent of the host system.

At CSPC the asset management system is Yokogawa's PRM , which has FDT/DTM capability and allows access to Metso's device DTM. Seah emphasizes that vendors have to develop their products in ways that support open interface technologies. The same asset management system should be able to work with devices that use other interface technologies, such as EDDL. End-users' options should not be limited by the use of devices that support only one technology, he says.


-Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor,,
Control Engineering Process Instrumentation & Sensors Monthly
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