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Monitoring process valves
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Published April 9, 2007

The oil companies that operate on the Norwegian continental shelf loose considerable income from the production due to diverse problems with control valves like hysteresis and internal leakage. The result is reduced capacity for the plant. Increased degree of automation and focus on remote operation put new requirements to knowledge and utilization of new cost-effective tools.

Focus on monitoring and coping with control valve problems is caused by several conditions including:

  • Increased degree of automation means less attention to each individual valve and more types of tasks for the operator
  • Increased degree of remote operation
  • Development of instrumentation and IT systems gives a considerably larger amount of process data
  • Stiction in control valves for e.g. level and pressure loops may lead to lower regularity and reduced production
  • Internal leakage reduces the production

Important operating problems such as hysteresis caused by stiction in control valves and a badly tuned controller, give special oscillating signals in logged data.

Based on data analysis (e.g. tools for analysis of control loop performance (CPM)) and simulator models, we map problems and give advice regarding monitoring tools, tuning of controllers, improved control structures or valve characteristics, and maintenance.

Contact person at SINTEF Applied Cybernetics: Finn Are Michelsen