Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

BP Refines Maintenance Operations

The international oil and gas company developed an RFID solution that streamlines processes, making work safer and more cost-efficient.
By Samuel Greengard
Jun 01, 2012BP operates 11 oil refineries worldwide and each must undergo scheduled maintenance. During these operations, called turnarounds (TARs), parts of a facility are closed for up to 30 days, so the company can inspect, clean and repair equipment. In addition, BP performs plant upgrades and other improvements. TARs are labor-intensive, expensive and potentially hazardous operations.

Before any TAR-related work can be performed, the designated section of the plant must be shut down, then purged of hydrocarbons and allowed to cool. This ensures there are no lingering pockets of hydrocarbons or other explosive or flammable materials. In the end, each part of the refinery is "isolated" from connected equipment, to prevent material from one part of the facility from entering another.

These isolations involve a number of processes, including disconnecting pipes at the flanges (the components that connect the pipes) and fitting blinds (large metal discs) into the flanges. This effectively shuts off the pipes, so engineers can tackle the maintenance work safely.

What makes the task so challenging is that the isolations must take place in a specific sequence, and blinds must be matched to specific pipe flanges. A recent TAR, for example, required 6,400 isolations—and the entire process had to be carried out at the beginning of the TAR and then reversed before the plant could be brought back into operation. Simply put, every blind must be fit correctly and then extracted in the proper order.

In September 2010, BP introduced an RFID solution called Isolation Tracker at its refinery in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, to make isolation processes faster, more accurate and safer. The solution controls TAR tasks, ensuring work processes occur in the correct sequence and maintenance workers isolate the right equipment. It also maintains accurate records and provides updates in near-real time.

Isolation Tracker has reduced contractor costs and generated revenue from increased plant uptime—saving approximately $1 million per turnaround, according to Mike Haley, a consultant in the chief technology office of BP's Information Technology & Services group. The mobile application has become part of the toolset used for TARs and is already in operation at a second BP refinery in Germany. "This project has helped create a new standard for the way we work in the plant," Haley says.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,500 words and 4 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations