Improving Seal and System Performance With Holistic Monitoring
Wireless sensors and other technologies are changing the way reliability engineers and maintenance personnel monitor the health of their systems. The ability to remotely evaluate equipment performance in real time is vital to increase efficiency, improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and avoid equipment downtime.
While this continuous monitoring technology is groundbreaking in how it enables plants to understand the current state of equipment, it’s also limited because it’s monitoring a single point, i.e., a single temperature reading. And while the information captured is valuable, there is so much more that can happen behind the scenes.
That’s where holistic monitoring comes in.
What is holistic monitoring?
Holistic monitoring uses machine learning and physics-based algorithms to compare interconnected data sets, such as temperature, pressure, vibration and more, from multiple systems, so plants can not only know how their systems are performing today, but also better understand how they will likely operate well into the future.
Why is Flowserve investing in this technology?
Seal-related problems are the main reason that pumps are taken out of service. But just because a seal fails, that doesn’t mean the seal is the root of the problem. Often, problems in other areas of the system manifest in a seal failure, and that’s where holistic monitoring could deliver the greatest benefits.
How can holistic monitoring improve seal performance?
Applying machine learning and physics-based modeling to seals can uncover problems throughout the system and alert maintenance personnel to issues that could otherwise go undetected.
For example, perhaps your condition monitoring system alerts you to a temperature spike in one of your seals. A temperature spike on its own might be nothing to worry about. However, using machine learning and physics-based models, you could analyze a variety of other conditions, such as suction temperature, cooling water temperature and suction pressure, which combined with the seal temperature spike, could indicate a more significant problem.
What are the benefits?
Holistic monitoring offers reliability engineers and maintenance personnel the ability to compare numerous conditions to uncover potential issues deeper in the system, which delivers a variety of benefits, including:
Predicting equipment failures and better planning equipment change-outs.These are especially appealing in the energy industry where pipeline operators could forecast failures and replace compromised equipment, decreasing the risk of contaminants leaking into the air or ground.
Evaluating how much longer specific equipment will last under current operating conditions. Since equipment life is dependent upon the operating conditions, reliability engineers could evaluate how much longer specific equipment will last under the current operating conditions, and then alter those conditions to maximize equipment life.
Customers are always looking for ways to improve their operations. Holistic monitoring using machine learning and physics-based modeling represents an effective way to predict, diagnose and repair a problem before it happens by looking at the connection between current indicators. Investment in this technology is ramping up with seal suppliers, customers and third-party monitoring services.
While machine learning provides an opportunity for improving monitoring capabilities, physics-based models provided by the OEM can give new insights into operating conditions and could change the way plants understand their equipment and systems.