Sensors and data monitoring help predict the future in oil rigs
Smart applications of automation technologies decrease downtime, increase smarter service opportunities, and improve equipment designs. These were among benefits shared by an oil industry equipment builder in a presentation at the ARC Group Industry Forum, in February in Orlando, Fla.
Keith Holliday is president and CEO of Global Drilling Support, a manufacturer of top drives, the large electric-motor that powers oil rig drill bits. The company also repairs and recertifies competitors’ drives, so Holliday understands the high cost of unplanned downtime for the 200 hp to 1,500 hp units.
Equipment typically is taken apart after 5 years, but rebuilding sooner or later, based on actual wear rather than an average, saves considerable resources. Embedded sensors help ensure warranty claims are fair, letting the manufacturer know if a rig has been dropped. The new system uses a field agent, subscription service, cloud-based server with analytical software (GE equipment Insight Solution, powered by Predix, taking information from a Siemens PLC).
Choosing the right data set was important. "We didn’t want to boil the ocean and look at too much." A maintenance algorithm looked at key performance indicators (KPIs) for vibration, load on bit, shaft revolutions per minute (RPM), torque, temperature, pressure, and flow.
"Customers now want data, but don’t know what to do with it." The smart application of automation technologies opens more opportunities for service contracts and better future designs based on analysis, Holliday said.
Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What automation projects could improve your metrics? Have you quantified those benefits in your proposals?
This online article about GDS provides additional information than what appeared in print. Link below to other automation applications providing benefits.