An ABB engineering team helped one of India’s largest oil producers overcome a power supply issue that caused intermittent stoppages of an agitator. This failure stopped production for up to eight hours at a time, causing financial losses around $5,000 each time. With stoppages occurring 8 to 10 times a year, the cost of downtime was adding up.
Agitators are key to the refining process. They prevent sediment deposits forming in the crude oil storage tanks and blend materials to make products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas. Voltage fluctuation caused the Indian oil producer’s agitator to fail. Although the refinery had a back-up diesel generator, switching between power sources kept tripping the electricity.
ABB’s engineers redesigned the static switch so that it was controlled by an ACS880 alternating current drive. This allowed the refinery to dynamically change between power sources, even at low voltage, creating a self-starting battery to ensure continuous power.
They also used a direct current (DC) drive as a battery charger. This was done by connecting two sets of DCS800 drive modules with rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. The backup power solution allowed automatic control of the float, boost charging mode and the static switch. This meant the customer could select and change the current limits of the system, with a constant flow of electricity.
“In the oil refinery business, where every minute of uptime counts, innovations like this backup power solution are a testimony to ABB’s reputation as a technology pioneer,” said Mikael Edvardsson, Global Oil & Gas Segment Manager, RM division. “It also demonstrates how we work closely with our customers to find ways to solve their problems.”
The innovative solution has stabilized the power supply, improved the quality of output, and minimized the risk of further agitator failures. It has also opened up new market opportunities for ABB with the possibility to help other customers facing similar challenges.