Case Study: Project Zero - empowering operations and maintenance personnel

"Smart Rounds"

The Challenge:

A Chemical Plant located in South-East Texas had instituted a goal of zero product defects, zero safety incidents and injuries, zero environmental releases and zero unscheduled downtime.

To help achieve these goals they established the need for a complete mobile solution to empower operations and maintenance personnel to capture defects, track work progress and make key process and safety related decisions in real-time, when and where the decision needed.

If something is operating outside of a safe range, they can immediately take action to prevent it from turning into a process incident.

I²oT Solutions’ team of expert wireless engineers were brought in to engineer the site to support the real-time access to information needed to operate the plant safely and efficiently. The design was to enable uninterrupted, unlimited and reliable access from any position within the 4-square-mile plant as well as monitoring and controlling standard operating conditions for equipment in the field.

The Solution:

I²oT Solutions’ team of engineers performed a detailed site engineering design to determine best mobility methods in both hazardous and non-hazardous locations, considering remote areas with minimal infrastructure as well as the deployment of Video Surveillance for key operating areas and condition monitoring sensors. Everything is supported by a robust network topology leveraging both the wired and wireless network infrastructure (including secure WiMAX technology for remote area extensibility). In addition, the site is leveraging a centralized dashboard to view and manage video feeds, support equipment monitoring and maintain an eye over all network monitoring. The entire system is managed from a central and secure server that can be accessed anywhere on the network via any web browser for anyone with proper authentication credentials.

This same dashboard is also used to manage the Emergency Notification system that was engineered by I²oT Solutions personnel in a previous project.

The Obstacles:

As with any deployment there are always challenges and considerations to be made, which included;

·       Ensuring the most cost-effective means to install solution.

o   Limit high-cost construction activities like excavating, and big machinery costs.

·       Build a solution with high level of redundancy and performance throughput.

·       As always, working safely and collaboratively with other contractors and employees.

What sets us up for success and is our extensive experience of working on an industrial site, knowing the first priority is working safely and collaboratively as we perform our activities. In addition, we work closely with site personnel with knowledge of the area we are working to ensure our design will meet the current and future needs.

The Results:

The deployment was successfully completed resulting in greater equipment reliability and process improvements by putting accurate and reliable information into the hands of operations resulting in;

·       75% decrease in safety incidents

·       Increased effectiveness in defect capture and accountability (at all levels).

·       Daily pump inspections reduced by 50%, allowing more time for other crucial inspection areas.

·       Reduced maintenance costs and as a result, increased equipment uptime.

·       Ease of transition of workers related to more accurate training data being available.

Initial results suggest a strong return on investment with positive effect on Project Zero objectives, now underway at other facilities.

The System design deployed includes;

·       91 Class 1, Div. 2 wireless radios (using IEEE 802.11g)

·       50 rugged handheld computers (with RFID readers)

·       WiMax (802.16) radio network supporting backhaul isolated areas.

·       Passive RFID tags supporting thousands of pieces of equipment.

·       Pan, Tilt & Zoom (PTZ) camera for construction site monitoring

·       Plant wide Emergency Notification and alert.

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