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Plant visibility improved at Milford Haven refinery

01 September 2008

Invensys Process Systems (IPS), a global technology, software and consulting firm, chooses Extronics, a leading supplier and manufacturer of intrinsically safe and explosion-proof electrical and electronic equipment, to supply a wireless network for hazardous environments. The intrinsically safe and explosion proof wireless network will form an integral part of IPS’ project to improve plant visibility at Total’s Milford Haven refinery.

Milford Havaen Refinery
Milford Havaen Refinery

Milford Haven Refinery is a mid-size complex refinery of 5 million tons per annum. It employs around 350 people from local towns and is one of the largest employers in West Wales. In addition to making a commercial contribution to the area, the company also works with local communities to ensure that the environmental impact of the refinery is minimised.

Extronics provides a cost-effective and scalable solution, making the refinery safer and more efficient by installing a wireless network in zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas. However, “at the moment Extronics cannot really run critical control or safety systems over their wireless networks as they are not SIL rated as yet” John Hartley, technical director at Extronics claimed.

IPS was awarded the turnkey contract to supply a complete “offsite” solution to the Milford Haven refinery. Offsite operations are crucial in the production process, providing the handling and storage facilities for high quantities of gas or liquid in the form of tank farms and terminals. Extronics worked with IPS to provide significant improvements in the efficient operation of these offsite facilities at Milford Haven in zone 1 and zone 2 rated hazardous areas.

IPS required Extronics to provide a robust and cost-effective measure to deliver work scheduling and position status feedback to operators, in real time, on more than 1,500 manual valves involved in the offsite operations to be displayed on a process mimic. On Extronics’ recommendation, an intrinsically safe and explosion-proof WLAN was installed. This enabled Windows Mobile rugged PDAs and RFID tags to be used together by operators to enter the status of the valves and feed the information back to the process mimic.

By utilising Extronics’ wireless network, IPS, was able to offer an economic and secure solution for Total's extreme environments and zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas throughout the Milford Haven plant.
Extronics has also been chosen by Evonik Degussa Seal Sands to improve overall efficiency in its Seal Sands, UK based plant.

In the longer term Hartley sees Extronics offering SIL rated wireless solutions but at the moment he claims that “the drive and emphasis is towards providing client connectivity solutions for using PDA's, Data Acquisition, Voice, Video and Asset Visibility”

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