What is the Refinery of the Future?

In order to overcome a complex and highly-competitive marketplace, companies like Texmark Chemicals (a Texas toll manufacturer) are turning to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies to modernize their business.

The Refinery of the Future brings together a robust team of industry leading partners to design, test and deploy IIoT solutions to achieve next-generation innovation, efficiency, and safety in Texmark’s live petrochemical environment.

“Our IIoT implementation is not a powerpoint presentation, this is physically happening in a live chemical plant– our pumps and our motors are sending data wirelessly to the edge and back into the data center. It’s not on a lab scale, it’s full scale, and active in the plant in the manufacturing environment. And it’s something that you can come and see.”

Linda Salinas, VP Operations, Texmark Chemicals, Inc

The global petrochemical industry is intensely competitive and forecasted to comprise an $885M dollar market by 2020. Companies are constantly seeking ways to gain an edge. Yet there are few activities as demanding as operating a refinery with mission-critical concerns ranging from pump condition to personnel safety. The health of the workforce is of utmost concern and variances in pump performance can wreck the bottom line. Refinery operators are on the hunt for advanced systems that generate real-time insights, provide full automation and oversight, and reduce the risk of human error.

The Refinery of the Future (RotF) brings together a robust team of industry-leading partners to deliver on those advanced systems requirements today at Texas toll manufacturer Texmark ChemicalsThe ecosystem of partners is led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and CBT. Today, CBT orchestrates technologies on behalf of the RotF partners and maintains Texmark’s IT systems as the solution frameworks are deployed and integrated.

At first we thought we’d pick a project with a pump at our plant that would have little to no impact on daily operations. So that if we muck it up, then it will not even be a blip on the radar and we wouldn’t break anything. But then we changed our minds and said let’s start with the critical pumps and gather key data about how they operate, keeping this initiative front and center for our executives.

~Linda Salina, VP of Operations, Texmark Chemicals, Inc.

Texmark’s Refinery is IIoT in action in a live petrochemical plant involving mission critical systems, it is not a proof of concept. These IIoT solutions are being deployed, tested, and delivered within a working production environment with the support of Texmark’s employees who have spearheaded the use cases and embraced the technology ushering in a new era for the petrochemical industry. And unlike competitors’ POC projects, Texmark is fully sharing their learnings, touring clients in their facility, and evangelizing findings on an international scale with partners like HPE and the rest of the RotF partners. The outcomes are verifiable and ROI is proven across multiple dimensions such as 75-90% reduction in process times, and 50% reduction in insurance premiums.

The full list of RotF partners includes HPE, CBT, Aruba, Intel, PTC, National Instruments, OSIsoft, Allied Reliability, SparkCognition, GuardHat, and RealWear. Under the direction of CBT, these partners contribute to the different solution frameworks, enabling the simultaneous deployment and unification of a wide range of hardware, software, and OT.

Designed to meet the specific demands of the oil and gas and manufacturing markets, the RotF project is enabling improved analytics, up-time, customer satisfaction, and worker safety. Advanced IIoT architectures support edge analytics for real-time, actionable manufacturing and process insights, bundled with software and services from the ecosystem of partners to accelerate time-to-value.

Read on to learn more about the five solutions the RotF partners is currently integrating at Texmark:

Refinery of the Future Solutions

Connected Worker

Objective Utilizes tailored software combinations enabled on wearable devices, smartphones and tablets to provide an effective way for field workers to visualize, consume and communicate actionable information.

Technologies Mini video cameras, noise-cancelling microphones, micro-processing computers, wearable devices, AR data visualization SW, location-based networking & digital-twin SW processing.

Partners CBT, RealWear, PTC & HPE

Asset Integrity Management

Objective Allow optimized inspection, repair and workload planning by providing asset maintenance, performance and location/tracking information.

Technologies Mechanical integrity SW app, digital-twin processing, advanced networking, integration with ERP & other enterprise SW apps

Partners CBT, HPE & Antea

Video as a Sensor

Objective Utilize artificial intelligence to turn a live video feed into a smart sensor and alerting system that can help operations teams be safer and better informed.

Technologies “Qualified” video cameras & analytical data modeling, AI live video feed with smart sensor & ML alerting system, & "incident" notification

Partners Intel, CBT & HPE

Condition Monitoring & Predictive Maintenance

Objective Provide personnel access to real-time assessments on asset performance, enabling proactive maintenance planning.

Technologies Condition-monitoring sensors & I/O devices, edge compute/gateways, analytical data modeling, & data conversion & visualization

Partners CBT, HPE, NI, OSIsoft, PTC, SparkCognition, & Allied Reliability

Worker Safety & Security

Objective Integrate instruments capable of collecting & processing video, audio & bio-metric data, to assess the health & operational condition of workers in the field.

Technologies Mini video cameras, noise-cancelling microphones, micro-processing computers, wearable devices, location-based/digital-twin SW processing, & SW data analytics

Partners CBT & GuardHat