Conquering the Cold: A Better (and Warmer) Way to Monitor Tanks

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July 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm  •  Posted in Oil and Gas  •  0 Comments

Customer Profile

A company who specializes in temporary storage of oil is located in a region where temperatures frequently fall below -30 degrees Celsius.

Summary

  • An oil storage company located in extremely cold region needed improved monitoring of tank levels
  • Rather than build all new tanks, the customer wanted a retrofit to take advantage of existing instrumentation
  • By installing Phoenix Contact WirelessHART adapters on the instruments
  • The adapters proved reliable even in an extreme environment, while also saving installation costs and simplifying maintenance

Challenge

Because of the cold temperatures, company employees rarely want to step outside to monitor tank levels, which change at very slow rates. This results in the possibility of tank overflow and oil theft.

The tank rental company recognized this issue and began to search for a value-added opportunity to set themselves above all competitors in the region. With more than 100 rental tanks in the fleet, the investment to build all new tanks was nearly impossible. The company needed a way to retrofit the existing tanks, so they take advantage of all instrumentation already installed on the tanks.

Solution

The first plan to add remote monitoring capabilities involved running cables from the tank to the monitoring station. This required many man hours for installation and proved overly expensive and complicated, so the decision to go wireless was nearly inevitable.

Since every tank already had HART transmitters installed, it was a quick decision to use WirelessHART to retrofit the devices. The company tested Phoenix Contact’s WirelessHART adapters on a small number of tanks. They quickly recognized the reliability of wireless communications – even in the coldest environments – compared to that of a wire. The technicians also found the upgrade was a very easy task.

The testing proved the advantages of WirelessHART, and the company quickly decided to upgrade all tanks in the fleet.

Results

With WirelessHART adapters installed on all instruments, constant communication with these devices was possible without the installation of cables. The benefits included:

  • Decreased installation times
  • Cost reduction of scrap cable

The customer also discovered an added benefit in the secondary variables from the instruments made it possible to monitor the status of the instruments themselves. This made maintenance scheduling simple to plan.

The major benefit is an anticipated cost reduction of approximately $4,000 of installations costs for each tank every time it is rented. This results in earning the company more money, while still having the technology advantage over all other competitors in the region.


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