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White paper: Achieve the best performance during abnormal conditions

Executive Summary

  • Abnormal conditions (process disturbances or operations that deviate from optimal performance) in plant environments that are not resolved quickly can definitively lead to incidents resulting in economic loss along with safety and environmental issues. According to an Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® survey of the US petrochemical industry, incidents are frequent and typically incur costs ranging from $100,000 to more than $1,000,000 per year. For example, one plant surveyed had 240 shutdowns per year totaling a cost of more than $8,000,000.
  • It was also found that refineries, on average, experience a major incident once every three years costing on average $80,000,000. One insurance company’s statistics showed that the industry was claiming on average over $2.2 billion per year due to equipment damage. Furthermore, it is likely that actual total losses to the companies are significantly higher than what was claimable. The most distressing, however, is that many of these shutdowns were preventable.
  • Decision support systems have been developed and deployed to assist with these problems but have been found to be difficult to integrate and update across the enterprise. Therefore, a modern framework with advanced integration capabilities is required for proactive discovery and correction of abnormal conditions before a costly incident occurs.
  • Integration Objects through its new KnowledgeNet (KNet) solution has developed an intelligent framework along with easy-to-use tools to empower plant operations to achieve the best response during abnormal conditions. KNet automates root cause analysis based on key events, symptoms, process behavior and other variables, and presents resolutions to correct problems. It also aggregates events from dispersed systems and recognizes them based on combinations from multiple sensors. As well, it can avoid nuisance alarming by combining information from all areas to determine true root causes.
  • KNet’s extensive toolkit of methods for event detection and reasoning includes a number of Smart Equipment add-on modules, a process equipment library that provides knowledge out-of-the-box, and root cause analysis models represented by cause and effect fault trees. Using all the available data in multiple plant systems and multiple sensors, KNet can generate a message indicating root cause problems and quickly recommend corrective actions.
  • KNet translates alarms, events and data into a single page for the operator’s summarizing, key operational issues that can potentially impact production, quality, safety, and any potential environmental issues. Without KNet, the operator would be required to navigate through many pages of alarms, DCS displays, and trending analysis before determining corrective actions, and thereby loosing valuable time resulting in production losses and, at times, safety issues (which may lead to a plant shutdown). Therefore, the utilization of Integration Objects’ KnowledgeNet modules is the best way to empower operations to artfully maximize normal conditions and to achieve the best response during abnormal conditions, in the quickest amount of time.
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