How analytics are giving LNG process industries the edge

Monday, 02 July 2018

The reliability of electric rotating machines (ERMs) is key to minimise this risk. Traditionally, vibration sensors have been used to detect ERM failures, however their cost, both from a material and a deployment perspective, mean they are used for only the most critical machines – and they only detect mechanical failures, not electrical ones, which limits their impacts.

“Industries are under pressure from narrowing margins, stiffer competition and fragmented processes. Used intelligently and backed by technical expertise, I believe digital APMs can be an indispensable ally in the push for productivity and profitability, allowing companies to become leaner and more resilient,” said Azeez Mohammed, president & CEO, GE’s Power Conversion business.

Over the past few years drive technology has significantly evolved. Today, each drive possesses one or several processors and today’s drives have more enhanced computing capabilities to do high-speed control, data gathering and self-diagnosis. That processing power, sitting “at the edge,” leaves huge and yet untapped potential for predictive analytics and improving performance.

Effective digitized ERM adds value by identifying any degradation issues early and before a failure strikes, so operators can take action to mitigate problems before they occur and perform maintenance in a predictive manner, Mohammed explained. Having predictive foresight of failures, both for ERMs and drives, means being able to automate the ordering and replacement of parts, therefore eliminating the need to tie up capital in costly inventory – and an APM could even provide crucial data to a company’s supply chain that informs factory acceptance tests and minimizes the risk of poor performance when new machinery comes online.

Process plants - such as LNG export facilities - usually encompass a large variety of rotating machines and drives technologies, so over time, a digital blueprint of these assets can be created to monitor performance and check the quality of new units, Mohammed suggested. “At GE, we have designed APM algorithms for both ERMs and drives that draw on our vast data lake to deliver accurate analytics – with no costly vibration sensors required. This solution is already being developed across various industries, including metal plant, refinery plant and the navy,” he said.