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Cloud monitoring for the oil and gas industry

Oilfield Technology,

Condition monitoring is vital to sidestep installation and maintenance problems and maximise the productivity of hydrocarbon processing plant, but providing the necessary IT capability can be a challenge. However, cloud technology now allows condition monitoring to be provided with greater convenience and at lower cost.

Predictive and preventative maintenance is now a widely observed practice throughout the oil and gas industry and a key element of this valuable work is condition monitoring. The long-term reliability of hydrocarbon processing plant depends on the ability of engineers to implement and sustain dependable monitoring programmes that indicate exactly which components are due to fail and when, enabling the efficient replacement of parts and the subsequent smooth running of the operation.

Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) programmes

By increasing equipment reliability and availability, Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) programmes can pay big dividends. But for many facilities, purchasing and managing the required software can be a challenging investment in time and money. However, a much easier, more affordable alternative is now offered by cloud-based monitoring, which can work in conjunction with analytical CBM software that integrates data from portable and online data acquisition devices.

Cloud-based monitoring enables maintenance managers and their staff to focus on what they do best. Currently, many operators are spending too much time purchasing, maintaining and managing IT resources, where their expertise may be limited, when time would be better spent fixing equipment problems. And there are further risks in using maintenance engineers to run onsite CBM and analysis; if key staff move on to new responsibilities or leave the company it can take time to replace them, and during this period the vital condition monitoring capability is left hanging.

Cost-efficient cloud-based monitoring

SKF @ptitude Connect offers an affordable alternative to managing CBM by offering cost-effective cloud-based monitoring. The service works with the established SKF @ptitude Analyst software suite, a component of the SKF @ptitude Monitoring Suite, a comprehensive software suite that integrates data from a wide range of SKF portable and online data acquisition devices.

“The service provides instant access to SKF condition monitoring software, enabling users to improve plant performance and efficiency,” says Luis F. Econom, SKF Cloud Services and Solutions Manager. “SKF @ptitude Connect enables any business to implement plant-wide CBM and/or Predictive Maintenance (PdM) program via the internet. Using the SKF cloud service, engineers can access machine data, analyse or display machine conditions and view printable diagnostic reports.”

Flexible solution

SKF @ptitude Connect addresses the common problem faced in many facilities discussed above, which is that there is not enough time or money to purchase and manage the required software. By using this service to access subscription-based software customers can boost equipment reliability and availability without costly investment. It is possible to improve plant equipment reliability, increase equipment/asset availability and reduce initial capital investments for predictive maintenance programme start-up costs. The solution is also flexible because it is scalable to demand.

SKF @ptitude Connect is compatible with SKF handheld or online condition monitoring data collection devices, enabling end-users to operate their CBM or PdM programs just as they would with onsite software, bringing reduced IT operating and maintenance costs. “Because the service is cloud-based, installation is fast, with operational availability typically achieved within days,” explains Luis. “As a subscription-based service, SKF @ptitude Connect turns what would otherwise be a significant IT capital expenditure (CAPEX) into a more affordable operating expenditure (OPEX). In some cases, the cost of a subscription could be as low as a traditional one-year product support plan. With SKF @ptitude Connect, facilities avoid the overhead costs of an operating system, servers, software upgrades, database licensing and backup systems. They can also manage their condition monitoring IT infrastructure without having to hire additional personnel. The service allows application and database sharing plant-wide or enterprise-wide, enabling even more savings.”

Safe and reliable operation critical for oil and gas operators

As operators seek to capitalise more efficiently on hydrocarbon resources, innovative condition monitoring solutions are vital in ensuring safe and consistently reliable business operations. This is especially critical in large operations or plants such as oil and gas refineries, with many assets to monitor, hard to reach assets and/or potentially explosive environments. Solutions such as cloud-based monitoring are vital in ensuring convenient, cost-effective and consistently reliable business operations.

With the global recession putting pressure on all operators, engineers are designing for efficiency, not just performance. The latest condition monitoring technology can enhance the capabilities of rotating equipment by providing robust, cost-effective and easy to implement solutions. Revolutionary components such as SKF @ptitude Connect add measurable value to the bottom line of any company and an exceptionally powerful solution for the oil and gas industry.

Written by SKF. Edited for web by Cecilia Rehn

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