Safe offshore production – part 2: converting data into valuable information

The journey through offshore continues. This time we will discuss how to convert hard data into valuable information by utilizing intelligent devices and diagnostic information. How does this improve safety for offshore production?

“In order to make valves safer in offshore platforms one of the easiest methods is to enable predictive maintenance methods for the valves, which is based on the diagnostic information carried out during the valves normal operation. Neles for example has developed the perfect match to meet the off-shore industry demand for all kinds of automated valve controls. This means valve positioners and on/off valve controllers suitable to operate on top of any valve and capable of bringing intelligence to these valves.

How to analyze diagnostics?

Valve performance measurement and basic analysis creates the baseline for information management, but in addition to this, information needs to be carried to the right persons in the correct format. When diagnostic information is included in an efficient asset management tool, the end user can manage automated valves throughout their lifecycles, taking the specific needs of each phase into account.

The benefits of control and on/off valve diagnostic information are particularly apparent in the planning of plant shutdown maintenance actions. Safety valve diagnostics information needs to be recorded for safety audits and most obviously ensures that all the safety valves are ready to take action in the rare case they are required. Diagnostics information needs to be communicated to the user in a way that supports the effective delivery of information. FDT/DTM development began early in 2000 and this technology is readily available from most suppliers. By utilizing its full potential, the information can be delivered in easy to understand format at the correct time.

The right information, delivered at the right time, to the right person will help you to:

  • Provide real-time operational and maintenance data to onshore expert centers, thereby reducing the cost and risk of offshore staffing
  • Identify deteriorated performance and provide guidance on how to resolve these issues
  • Share that data with relevant parties, regardless of location
  • Enable device optimization to ensure profitable operating. Identify changes in equipment performance to proactively resolve problems and avoid process disturbances
  • Monitor real-time asset health for predictive maintenance purposes, allowing prioritization and planning of maintenance trips offshore
  • Provide targeted information to maintenance personnel on equipment problems, including suggestions for corrective actions

As the amount of data is increasing so rapidly, usability must be the driver for development not the quantity of the data. A common trend in the latest attempts to improve diagnostics is the desire to make diagnostics increasingly user friendly and also comparable from device to device. For example, the Namur NE107 standard defines how the most important status symbols should look like. The latest developments in valve diagnostics combine the different purely specialist oriented data to be further processed, easier to use and illustrative. The new Valve Manager™ will take this approach to a new level. When the user opens the Valve Manager™, the first screen immediately tells the user how the control valve assembly is performing and describes the condition of its components.“

Written by Juha Yli-Petäys

Text originally published in 2012, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.

Related posts:
Safe offshore production – part 1: challenges and role of automation
Safe offshore production – part 3: processing information

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