FF technology for process control and field instrumentation in major Chinese petrochemical project

Published Sept 3, 2009 13.00.00 +2 GMT

CSPC, a joint venture between the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Shell, is one of the largest petrochemical projects launched in China in recent years. When production started during 2006, the project was also one of the biggest installations utilizing Foundation Fieldbus (FF) technology in process control and field instrumentation.

One of the main reasons for the CSPC project to select FF technology was that it allows a proactive approach to instrument maintenance. FF devices can send out maintenance requests before an instrument actually fails, and when an instrument has failed it can provide detailed diagnostic information about the failure. The CSPC petrochemical plant is an early adaptor to the new technology.

According to Mr. Seah Ooi Kiat, head of instrument engineering at CSPC’s manufacturing department: “This is a big change in maintenance culture. In the past, maintenance actions were often taken too late, usually after problems had occurred and been recognized by plant operators. Now, using the latest technology, the maintenance technician can check on a daily basis those devices that have issued a warning of a potential problem and decide on corrective action before any potential failure occurs.”

Focus on control valves In the process industry, control valves are an important area of maintenance. In the CSPC project, the majority of the control valves are from Metso. All together there are 2,400 valves with Metso’s intelligent FF ND9000 valve controllers. CSPC uses their diagnostic information daily.

The graphical user interface of the intelligent valve controller is based on open and standardized FDT/DTM technology. According to CSPC, a device DTM (a device graphical user interface) can help them and make life easier because it allows easy access to device parameters, configuration and diagnostics. For example, devices that have shown a warning status can be analyzed and diagnosed daily using a device DTM.

There is also the major benefit that the DTM is independent of the communication protocol, because CSPC has both FF and HART devices and the DTM is independent of the host system.

At CSPC the asset management system is Yokogawa’s PRM, which has FDT/DTM capability and allows access to Metso’s device DTM. Mr. Seah emphasizes that vendors have to develop their products to support open interface technologies, because it is essential that devices with other interface technology, such EDDL, can also be managed through the same asset management system. End-users’ options should not be limited by the use of devices that support only one technology.

For further information, please contact ismo.niemela@metso.com, tel. + 358 40 508 4812