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Advantech, AWS and Actility Leverage Combined Strengths to Co-Create a Predictive Maintenance Solution

Blog Post – Paris, France & Taipei, Taiwan – 18 March 2021

To help a leading crude oil refining company in Asia overcome the growing challenges associated with manual inspections and excessive maintenance costs, Advantech, Actility, and AWS have collaborated to develop an off-the-shelf pre-integrated predictive maintenance solution to monitor your machines vibration 24/7, bringing 25% to 30% reduction in maintenance costs. It is based on Advantech’s WISE-2410 LoRaWAN® Smart Vibration Sensor, Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise platform for LoRaWAN network management and AWS IoT SiteWise application.  

Industrial refineries are very large complexes that involve numerous processing units and auxiliary facilities such as crude oil distillation units, vacuum distillation units, heat exchangers, cooling towers, and other large machines. These facilities are dispersed over a vast industrial area, with some equipment installed in hazardous environments or nearly inaccessible locations, making maintenance extremely difficult.

Between 2006 and 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy reported 1,700 shutdowns at petroleum refineries, of which 46% were due to mechanical breakdowns and 23% were due to maintenance issues. Unplanned shutdowns can be extremely costly, to the extent that preventing even a few shutdowns can save millions of dollars.

Many manufacturers who rely on manual periodic asset health analysis of their machines face a high risk of costly downtime due to inaccurate or late diagnosis. But rising automation in the manufacturing sector resulted in increasing demand for predictive maintenance solutions in sectors like Oil and Gas, Automobile, Semiconductors, Pulp and Paper, food and beverage and more.

Recognizing the oil refining industry’s huge business potential, Actility, AWS, and Advantech leveraged their combined technological strengths and developed an off-the-shelf pre- integrated predictive maintenance solution. By integrating IoT, machine learning, and predictive analytics, the proposed maintenance solution can not only reshape daily operations at refineries, but also increase efficiency, safety, and ultimately profit margins.

image of sensors on pipes

LoRaWAN® network offers reliable connectivity between smart sensors and gateways

A leading crude oil refining company in Asia (brand to be revealed in the future) recently approached Actility to assist with its digital transformation. The refinery was hoping to overcome the growing management and operational costs and challenges related to manual inspections and maintenance.

Because of the refinery’s large premises and long list of equipment that needed monitoring, installing sensor node hardware on local gateways would have proved too costly. Moreover, considering the many metal surfaces throughout the premises that hinder cable installation, all sensors and monitoring equipment needed to be non-invasive and easily installed. Wireless communication technologies also needed to be utilized to ensure reliable connectivity. Furthermore, to satisfy relevant safety requirements, all devices and gateways had to be suitable for use outdoors and in hazardous environments.

Of all the equipment at the refinery, rotating machinery (e.g., pumps, motors, and compressors) is the most frequently used and requires the most maintenance. Indeed, a single crude oil unit may have 30 to 40 different types of pumps. With this in mind, a solution comprising Advantech’s WISE-2410 LoRaWAN® smart vibration sensor integrated with Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise IoT platform was proposed to the customer.

Infographics about Advantech and AWS

Actility’s enterprise-grade LoRaWAN network server is the leading LoRaWAN private networking solution, managing over 35,000 commercial gateways worldwide. ThingPark Enterprise® is a LoRaWAN IoT connectivity management platform that helps customers build network infrastructure by managing LoRaWAN gateways, add new devices, monitor network operations, and control the flow of data to application servers.  ThingPark Enterprise is specifically designed for enterprises: it’s a simple, scalable and easy way to operate, and offers a unique low power IoT communicat ion infrastructure to enable an infinite number of industrial use cases.

Utilizing this server, a dedicated and fully controlled LoRaWAN network was deployed at the refinery. This enabled all network components, including sensors, gateways, and routers, to be managed from an easy-to-use interface. Furthermore, ThingPark Enterprise equipped the AWS IoT cloud platform with various connectivity options to facilitate AI-based analysis of pump equipment and predictive maintenance tasks.

ATEX, IECEx, and ISO 10816-3-compliant turnkey solution for hazardous environments

To assist the refinery with managing its facilities, the innovative predictive monitoring solution was integrated with the AWS IoT cloud platform through digitally twinning. Using the LoRaWAN network server’s built-in network mapping and troubleshooting tools together with Abeeway’s hazardous network checker, site surveying and deployment were completed within a short amount of time. Because installing and calibrating WISE-2410 sensors only required a few hours, the refinery was able to visualize acquired data on AWS IoT SiteWise the very same day.

Advantech’s WISE-2410 vibration and temperature sensors are IP66-rated for ingress protection and ATEX- and IECEx-certified for use in hazardous environments and explosive atmospheres. These sensors were mounted on all rotating machinery to detect operational status through cross-comparisons of RMS speeds and eigenvalues against ISO 10816-3 standards and characteristic vibration values.

Equipped with LoRaWAN, the turnkey predictive maintenance solution offered long-range (up to 15 km) bidirectional communication between sensors and gateways, reducing the number of field devices that needed to be installed.

Photo of Alban Medici

Overall, the co-created predictive maintenance solution improved productivity, reduced staffing requirements, and increased revenue. The refinery is now able to remotely monitor rotating equipment, regularly record utilization data, and conduct centralized management from any location and at any time — all in real time. Regarding the future, Actility and Advantech plan to continue developing ready-to-use solutions for the oil and gas industry and using their extensive distribution networks to appeal to various customers. This will put us in the best position to win future business

commented Alban Medici, Managing Director of Actility Singapore

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