Editor's Choice


Condition monitoring on offshore oil platforms

First Quarter 2022 Editor's Choice Electrical switching & drive systems & components

A reliable energy supply is essential for every industrial nation. It is for this reason that CNOOC, China’s largest producer of oil and gas, places great value on monitoring its offshore platforms. The objective of a corresponding initiative implemented by Tianjin Aoling Industrial Automation Technologies (Aoling) for monitoring load-bearing structures is to make reliable predictions of load-bearing capacity on the basis of vibration analyses. To connect these technologies, the Chinese specialists rely on PC-based control and precise, system-integrated measurement technology from Beckhoff.

The steel structures of an offshore platform are exposed to extreme environmental conditions throughout their entire service lives. Difficult sea conditions ranging up to freak waves and aggressive seawater prey upon them without interruption. What’s more microorganisms in the water cause severe electrochemical corrosion, which also weakens the mechanical integrity of the structures. Furthermore, it is clear that a remote offshore platform cannot be maintained regularly. Defects that would cause a standstill of the entire system or even an oil platform accident would be correspondingly costly. It is for this reason that CNOOC places great value on recording the real operating conditions and influences at work on the platform structures.

EtherCAT analog terminals as the basis for data acquisition

In the context of China’s 13th Five Year Plan, a production platform off the Chinese mainland in Bohai Bay was selected as a pilot project for the continuous monitoring of the platform structure. Various measuring points were specified based on the platform’s construction plans and onsite investigations, with IEPE vibration sensors recording vibrations. Their signals are acquired by oversampling-capable EL3632 XFC EtherCAT Terminals for condition monitoring (IEPE) and transmitted to a CX2020 Embedded PC with up to 50 ksamples/s for evaluation.

The measurement system monitors the operating conditions of the platform and uses the vibration data to diagnose the loads on the steel structure. The objective of the pilot project is to ensure the integrity of the structures during their entire operating period and to be able to accurately predict the service life based on early indicators. This enables preventive measures to be implemented as required. Responsible for the implementation of the demanding project is the Aoling company, which has focused for years on the protection of offshore applications against wave energy, performing research in this area together with many Chinese universities, colleges and research institutes. Aoling develops innovative solutions, such as the condition monitoring implemented with Beckhoff technology. “Condition monitoring and diagnostics are akin to intensive medicine monitoring for the platforms. In comparison to competitors’ systems, Beckhoff offers ideal diagnostic tools for this purpose,” explains Fan Lipeng of Aoling.

Detailed vibration analyses in real-time

The vibration monitoring system comprises a total of 48 acceleration sensors, which have been mounted in explosion-proof housings in accordance with operating conditions. From the measurement points, the signal lines of the vibration sensors proceed to the control cabinet in the central control room, where they are connected through a routing level to the two-channel EL3632 IEPE terminals. The XFC function and synchronous scanning with up to 50 ksamples/s and 16-bit resolution ensure that the vibrations are captured in real-time.

After analysis, processing and storage of the sensor data by the CX2020 Embedded PC, the information is transferred to the master computer of the oil platform for secondary calculation and storage. Visualisation, alarm functions and data archiving are implemented there. At the same time, the master computer transmits all data to a central control room on shore via a fibre optic line.

At the same time, TwinCAT and the analysis application developed by Aoling in a high level programming language are running on the CX2020, which simplifies data management and storage according to Fan Lipeng. In addition, the wide array of available I/O modules, their compact design and the flexibility of EtherCAT in terms of topology support later expansion and integration of additional functions. Aoling plans to increasingly use the advanced control technology from Beckhoff for condition monitoring. The intention is to also gradually implement machine learning, artificial intelligence (deep learning), neural networks and other functions on the TwinCAT platform.

For more information contact Dane Potter, Beckhoff Automation, +27 79 493 2288, [email protected], www.beckhoff.co.za


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Ultra-compact robot-based cake production with PC control
Beckhoff Automation Editor's Choice
“Baking Baumkuchen requires advanced skills and experience from the confectioner,” says Mr Matsumoto, managing director of Juchheim’s central plant. “However, if the oven’s parameters can be captured ...

Read more...
The advantages of robotics and simulation for your business
Editor's Choice Robotics & Mechatronics
The more complex your business is, the more room there is for innovation. At the same time, innovation cannot come at the cost of efficiency, quality and output levels. According to Von Fintel, this is ...

Read more...
Ball screws with nut cooling
Editor's Choice Shaft power components
The machine tool industry uses ball screws to convert the rotary motion of an electric motor into linear motion. Very often, the positioning accuracy, as well as the travel speed and acceleration, have ...

Read more...
Concept to solution the short way
Axiom Hydraulics Editor's Choice Hydraulic systems & components
QuickDesign streamlines your custom design process, delivering complete designs in as little as ten minutes.

Read more...
Wireless communication and control of electro-pneumatic manifolds and IO
Editor's Choice
SMC analysed the control of manifolds-in-motion, where the physical removal of communications cables is desirable. Applications include manifolds mounted on robot gripper assemblies or rotating tables. ...

Read more...
Pneumatics and digital transformation: overcome what’s holding you back
Emerson Automation Solutions Editor's Choice Pneumatic systems & components
While IIoT offers the promise of a revolutionary impact on manufacturing, implementation of the technology has its challenges. What holds us back from a broader embrace of digital transformation, especially in pneumatics? And how do we move past the challenges to embrace the opportunity for real improvement in productivity and efficiency?

Read more...
The world’s smallest electric subsea valve actuator
Editor's Choice
The actuator minimises energy consumption and is geared toward delicate ecosystems and installation and operating costs are reduced. When the SVA R2 is used in subsea factories at a depth of up to 4000 metres, ...

Read more...
Reduced costs for packaging process
SICK Automation Southern Africa Editor's Choice Other technologies
To address Tetra Pak’s requirements, SICK recommended the utilisation of its sHub sensors with EDS/EDM35 feedback system. This motor feedback system incorporates an acceleration sensor and enables comprehensive ...

Read more...
Festo Process Automation solutions for all production levels
Festo South Africa Editor's Choice Electrical switching & drive systems & components
The first leg of the campaign creates an analogy between the human heart and its Process Automation solutions. The heart is at the centre of the vascular system, which is a network of blood vessels ...

Read more...
PC-based control for film and paper converting machines
Beckhoff Automation Electrical switching & drive systems & components
Machine builder Azco from Fairfield, New Jersey, has showed how it is possible to combine machine modules for feeding, cutting and placing flexible materials, thereby minimising engineering effort. An ...

Read more...