To stay on top of your integrity programme you need to catch, assess and make best use of the waves of data your facility produces.

Track the changes

The changing flow as a gas field is tapped often means the compressor stations feeding the pipelines must be modified. Different loads, new compression or changes to operating pressure create new problems from vibration and pulsation. Changes to the various input and output loads can cause a station that has run smoothly for decades to suddenly develop vibration problems.

The best way to ensure any changes do not result in excessive vibration and fatigue failures is to measure vibration levels within the station, however, measuring and analysing vibration throughout a station can be challenging. Most stations do not operate at a single steady state. Each compressor has multiple load steps, variable operating speeds, and some compressors shut down under certain operating scenarios. Combined with changing pipeline pressures, the number of possible operating scenarios becomes overwhelming.

Explore every channel

A typical station may require anywhere between 50 and 240 channels of simultaneous vibration and pulsation measurements. Wood’s vibration specialists typically spend a day setting up transducers and mapping channels before they are ready to press the record button. The multichannel analyser records how the entire station reacts during different scenarios, including capturing transient events. This produces more reliable data and gives the operator greater freedom from needing to sustain specific and often difficult operating scenarios while the measurements are taken. One aspect of our multi-channel vibration assessment approach that our clients like is that it provides operational freedom. With fewer channels, operators must try to hold a specific operating scenario steady while transducers are moved around. This can be problematic for them, and in some cases impossible.

Another aspect of our multichannel vibration assessment approach valued by our clients is the ability to capture transient events. This is impossible with fewer channels.

Tests can usually be completed in one day, but more complex troubleshooting cases may require up to three days of data collection.

This is much more efficient than using the simple 2-4 channel analyser, which can take weeks to work through. By collecting multichannel information across the same time period, it is easier to account for changing conditions across the whole system, which could give misleading readings when measured separately over a longer time period.

Turn up the volume

The time challenge is replaced by a volume one; 240 channels measuring a myriad of operational settings generates a mountain of data that is difficult to process. To overcome this challenge, Wood has developed an advanced post-processing software tool called PostPro. Data on vibration, pulsation, revolutions per minute (RPM) and process conditions is compiled into an aggregated database. The software then creates anomaly reports, listing the measurements and their values relative to applicable guidelines.

The tool also flags RPMs with high vibration amplitudes in a ‘speeds to avoid’ chart, which allows operators to run equipment at safe speeds until corrective action is implemented.

Reliable solution, reliable results

PostPro can collect, process, analyse and present hundreds of gigabytes of vibration test data in a short amount of time, providing a valuable advantage for facility owners. The overview of key information helps vibration analysts and operators make meaningful and timely conclusions and determine appropriate actions to ensure safe operation and optimise long-term reliability.

To help you catch and ride the waves of data from your asset contact: Wally.Bratek@woodplc.com