Digital trends: Smart sensors in oil refineries

Digital trends: Smart sensors in oil refineries

How ABB’s new digital offering saves time and money

GrainCorp Oilseeds is a regional Australia canola seed crusher and oil refiner with more than 20 years of commitment to the local oilseed industry, producing canola oil and a range of oils and meals for domestic and international markets.

Problem experienced

The main cooker bearings were experiencing issues due to overheating. Part of the problem was connected to cooker alignment, which led to the overheating and subsequent failure of these bearings. ABB’s Channel Partner, A1 Electric Motors, offered a monitoring option to GrainCorp Oilseeds to assist with pre-empting a potential alignment issue with the cooker.

The solution

A1 Electric Motors worked with ABB to develop a custom solution utilising ABB Ability™ Smart Sensor technology.  The ABB Ability Smart Sensor converts traditional motors, pumps and mounted bearings into smart, wirelessly connected devices. It measures key parameters from the surface of the equipment which can be used to gain meaningful information on the condition and performance of the equipment, enabling users to identify inefficiencies within their system and to reduce risks related to operation and maintenance. Maintenance can now be planned according to actual needs rather than based on generic schedules.

The system designed for GrainCorp featured bearing sensors, motor sensors and a gateway.  This gave GrainCorp the ability to actively monitor their equipment bearings and assess their condition and help prevent failures. 

ABB Ability™ Smart Sensor technology is helping GrainCorp Oil Seeds by alerting them to a spike in temperature of their Cooker Bearing, so proactive maintenance could be carried out before an equipment failure
ABB Ability™ Smart Sensor technology is helping GrainCorp Oil Seeds by alerting them to a spike in temperature of their Cooker Bearing, so proactive maintenance could be carried out before an equipment failure

The benefits

With the success experienced  monitoring the cooker bearings by implementing ABB’s Smart Sensors, there are now talks to integrate the sensors into more equipment on GrainCorp’s site.

The combination of motor and bearing sensor monitoring can also be transferred to the ABB Ability Digital Powertrain monitoring platform.  This offering is a suite of digital solutions including devices, software and services. It combines connectivity and data analytics with ABB and their Channel Partner’s expert team for support, to make customer operations efficient, predictable and safe.  Consolidating into this complete program will enhance A1 Electric Motors’ capability to remotely monitor GrainCorp’s assets on their behalf which is particularly important where site access is strictly limited and traditional condition monitoring activities are not able to be conducted at particular times. As working conditions continue to change, continuity of monitoring and access to the condition of valuable operating and production equipment is more essential than ever.

What this means for GrainCorp

Empowering GrainCorp to proactively monitor their primary cooker bearings and motors along with the support and service of A1 Electric Motors has ultimately supplied them with process efficiency and eliminated the potential of system failure.  The ABB Ability Smart Sensor solution has not only offered GrainCorp advanced risk mitigation but has also helped to give them valuable peace of mind.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com  

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