Emerson Announces Expanded Use of its Wireless Technology by BP to Improve Process Equipment Monitoring and Availability


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Smart Wireless transmitter monitors BP calciner fan bearing temperature.
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Smart Wireless transmitter monitors level at BP refinery tank farm.
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Smart Wireless transmitter monitors BP tank farm.

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Smart Wireless transmitter installation at BP tank farm.
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Smart Wireless transmitter installation at BP tank farm.
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Self-organizing Smart Wireless mesh is overseeing BP R&D Naperville Tank Farm, expanding at Cherry Point Washington refinery, and is being installed at facilities worldwide

Austin, Texas (September 30, 2008) – Emerson Process Management and BP continue to collaborate on application of wireless technology to speed use of this innovative technology for business improvement.  BP has expanded its Cherry Point Washington refinery applications, installed Smart Wireless throughout its tank farm in its R&D facility in Naperville, Illinois, and is making installations at its other refineries around the world.

BP Cherry Point is a 225,000 bpd refinery, and is the largest supplier of calcined coke to the aluminum industry.  One out of every six aluminum cans is made using BP Cherry Point's calcined coke. Emerson's Smart Wireless installation on the refinery's calciner unit monitors bearing and calciner coke temperatures to help prevent fan and conveyor failure.  Fans can cost up to $100,000 to repair but, more importantly, can be down for up to 10 days with associated production losses.  The 15-transmitter wireless installation in 2006 is believed to be the world's first industrial wireless mesh network installation, and continues to operate reliably while eliminating operator rounds in the field. 

Cherry Point has expanded wireless use to 35 transmitters including tank farm and utility applications, and installation of a Smart Wireless gateway in the diesel unit to make it ready for wireless motes.

"The principal advantage we see around wireless is the ability to accumulate and analyze a much greater array of data than would otherwise be economically possible," said Michael Ingraham, Technical Manager for Cherry Point refinery.  "Wireless enables us to get more data more efficiently, more economically than we ever have been able to in the past. We really hope our wireless technology will be a principal tool in maintaining plant availability while expanding our flexibility to meet fuel specs and ever changing array of feedstock."

A second facility, BP Naperville R&D, is a world-class technology center including a modernized tank farm feeding an expanding number of pilot plants that develop processing technology options for BP refining worldwide. 

Following the first application of Smart Wireless at BP's Cherry Point refinery, which BP saw as a success, BP installed a 45-transmitter wireless network at the Naperville tank farm.  Operational for about one year, this has provided strong operational experience and a platform for testing the technology, leading to significant take-up of wireless at other BP refineries throughout the world." 

"The wireless devices allow our operators to be more efficient, collecting data from one central point as opposed to walking around the tank farm and recording all the values," comments a BP representative. "The other advantage of the wireless devices is that they supply data continuously for recording in our historian, allowing us to see what is happening in the tank farm at any time of the day."

The Naperville wireless network uses Rosemount® wireless transmitters to monitor suction, and discharge pressures, levels, flow, and temperatures. New wireless functions are installed as they become available, and emphasis is on collaboration with Emerson to expand the capabilities as rapidly as possible to cover refinery-wide applications.  The real-world environment, in a pilot-scale operation, provides feedback to Emerson and hands-on experience for refinery management. Options for refinery process optimization and sharing of wireless automation technology are thereby shared globally by the Refining Technology team.

"Wireless is an important enabler for 'refinery of the future' technologies," commented Mark Howard, Commercial Technology manager for BP.  "It helps us deploy the sort of instrumentation, sensors, and analytical devices that we need for condition monitoring to support predictive maintenance, tracking feedstocks through the value chain, and a host of other applications. Wireless is a very important vehicle for getting instrumentation into places where wired devices would be too expensive or frankly not very practical."

"Looking ahead, we support the move towards standards such as WirelessHART," continued Howard. "We like being able to access new wireless transmitters as quickly as we can deploy them, and we're getting very good robust operation. We look forward to a greater range of instrumentation becoming available."

"We value highly the collaboration with BP's Refining Technology and its Refinery of the Future team," said John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management.  "Smart Wireless was conceived through years of research and development that led to Emerson's pioneering introduction to the market in 2006.  Key in this effort was the parallel pioneering effort by BP in their trial mesh installation of Smart Wireless at Cherry Point in that same year. Our combined efforts have I believe moved the age of wireless forward at an accelerated pace."

"We share BP's important objective of speeding innovation to deliver standard interoperable wireless technology for improved plant reliability, safety and environmental compliance," concluded Berra. 

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About Emerson
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.

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