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Comment PDF Automation & Control

Control Valve Diagnostics

By Gyula Ötvös and József Bartók, MOL Group Refining |

The benefits of field-device diagnostics are often acclaimed in qualitative terms, but on a much lower frequency in quantitative ones. Yet, an attractive cost-benefit analysis is necessary for almost any initiative to make it off the drawing board and into a plant. Even more rare are economic figures that come directly from the process plant engineers (as opposed to a vendor with vested interest in selling diagnostic equipment or systems). Perhaps that state of affairs was on the judges’ minds when they selected the MOL petroleum refinery near Budapest, Hungary to receive the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award. The application, which is the basis for the analysis here, highlights two areas where control-valve diagnostics benefit the bottom line substantially: Contamination of control-valve instrument air and inaccurate control-valve settings. In the first part of this article, the operation and significance of control valve diagnostics is explained, using an existing problem of contaminated instrument air. The newly developed, diagnostics-based method that solved the problem, is also briefly described. Based on the success of the new method, it was eventually ordered across the entire operating area of the Danube refinery. The second…
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