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Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is providing valuable temperature measurement data at the Total Petrochemicals plant in Carling Saint Avold, France.

This allows Total Petrochemicals to calculate changes over time in wall thickness on a boiler that provides steam to a steam cracker, indicating when it may need replacing.

Installing a wireless system to connect the additional measurement points has eliminated the need for about 1km of wiring.

It has also reduced movement of personnel into and around at-risk areas.

Total Petrochemicals is the fifth largest petrochemical company in the world and produces basic petrochemicals at the Carling site, including ethylene, propylene, methane and styrene, as well as plastic consumer products including polyethylene and polystyrene.

These products are produced by steam cracking, where petroleum, along with gas oil or naphtha, is mixed in a cracking oven with superheated steam at a temperature of 800C.

Total Petrochemicals wanted to introduce new temperature measurement points to understand the condition of the boiler and anticipate when it may need replacing.

By measuring the internal and external temperature of the boiler-walls and identifying heat loss, it was possible to calculate the material’s resistance and infer its thickness.

Eight Rosemount 648 wireless temperature transmitters were installed directly onto the exterior of a boiler drum situated fifty metres above the ground.

An Emerson Smart Wireless Gateway was positioned on the roof of a technical building about 300m from the devices.

Two additional temperature gauges were installed in strategic areas between the boiler and the gateway to provide sufficient coverage to the area and to allow supplementary measuring points to be added as required.

Data from the wireless transmitters is passed from the gateway to a third-party DCS system by Modbus.

From the control room, the operators could see the thermal status of the boiler walls, allowing them to determine how the internal (process) and external (climatic) conditions impact on the material’s deterioration.

An additional wireless device, a Rosemount 3051S pressure transmitter, is providing redundancy for an existing wired device that provides a critical measurement in the plant.

This transmitter also reinforces the wireless mesh and provides an additional path back to the gateway.

Each measurement point of the Smart Wireless’s self organising mesh technology has a redundant communication via two or three routes.

Emerson’s self-organising technology allows each wireless device to act as a router for other nearby devices, passing messages along until they reach their destination.

If there is an obstruction, transmissions are re-routed along the network until a clear path to the Smart Wireless Gateway is found.

As conditions change or new obstacles are encountered, such as temporary scaffolding, new equipment or a parked construction trailer, these wireless networks simply reorganise and find a way to get their signals through.

All of this happens automatically, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct, line-of-sight communications between individual devices and a receiver.

This self-organising technology optimises data reliability while minimising power consumption.

It also reduces the effort and infrastructure necessary to set up a successful wireless network.

Emerson Process Management

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