Insights from the experts.
By: David Wicker
One of the biggest and most costly challenges of plant maintenance is proving that systems are functional and safe. Proof testing is one of the most critical aspects of plant operations and costs millions of dollars in lost production every turnaround in the name of safety and compliance.
Even though we have come a long way in how we monitor the operations of facilities, documentation, reporting, and analytics remain problematic. This is because information lies in disparate systems. Instrumentation data from the SIS and DCS are not easily accessible and are typically low-resolution by the time they hit the DMZ or business LAN; as a result, valuable trip information is left uncaptured or hidden, and the entire proof testing cycle continues. As a result, companies are currently relying on manual testing and teams of technicians to manage this in the critical path. With digital transformation and an analytics engine to drive analysis and better reporting, plants can take advantage of trip and shutdown information to reduce test crews and streamline offline testing.
A general lack of visibility means that the entire proof test cycle must run its course when it comes time for routine maintenance. Shutdowns that just occurred must be simulated again from the field for validation and sign-off purposes. If there were better analysis and reporting, the testing could be optimized, thereby reducing the critical path and saving hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars every turnaround. ProLytX has partnered with industry majors to tackle this problem.
ProSMART (System Monitoring & Analytics in Real-Time) software can understand how an SIS/DCS is configured and perform high-resolution data capture and real-time analytics and reporting. This disruptive technology is transforming the way plants look at and schedule proof testing and even instrument maintenance. ProSMART removes work scope and time-consuming tests during turnarounds by automating manual reporting tasks and data collection. It also provides a dashboard for leaders to manage risk, approve reports, schedule testing, and identify bad actors.
Recently, a facility using ProSMART identified $1.5MM in turnaround cost savings due to a reduction in SIS Proof Test requirements and 3rd party technician crews. During the plant shutdown, the operator captured enough data to eliminate over 20% of the planned maintenance testing scope. Automated reports were validated by 3rd party auditors and found to be more than sufficient. Accurate valve stroke time data and instrumentation bad actors were captured, which also allowed for targeted maintenance activities.
ProLytX is an Engineering I.T. firm based in Houston, TX, and is a leader in this field, coaching clients to success with a unique combination of engineering and I.T. skills. If you want to learn more about ProLytX and how we can help you bridge the gap between I.T. and Engineering, find us at www.prolytx.com.