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Increase Profitability in the LNG Industry with Effective Turbomachinery Control

Turbomachinery plays a vital role in LNG production. However, concerns remain about the safety of such machinery. Uwe Bruckhoff, TMC application manager at HIMA, looks at how to prevent potential hazards – and explores the opportunities of improved turbomachinery safety.

Accidents related to turbomachinery raise concerns about safety in the LNG industry. Issues such as overspeeding can lead to injuries or, in extreme cases, fatalities. Therefore, turbomachinery operators cannot afford to be lax when it comes to their machinery. Correctly safeguarding turbomachinery actually enables operators to run facilities not only more safely, but also more cost-efficiently and to achieve higher levels of availability. 

Getting Integration Right Lays the Foundations for Safe Operation

The first step to ensuring functional safety of turbomachinery at your plant is applying relevant functional safety methodologies. General safety standards, such as IEC 61511, IEC 61508, and ISA84.00.01-2004 also help to reduce the risk of severe accidents. In this way, operators ensure higher plant availability and consequently greater profitability.

Nonetheless, proper care must be taken when applying safety standards within systems. Many different components – often from several manufacturers – control a turbomachine. This creates complexity due to factors including different wiring and communication protocols, which lead to higher engineering costs. An integrated system, such as HIMax from HIMA, comes into its own in this situation. The FlexSILon TMC safety solution standardizes key aspects of a system by sharing hardware, sensors, or software code, for example. This alleviates the aforementioned issues and streamlines the system. HIMax covers these requirements for integrated, SIL 3 compliant turbomachinery control.

Keep Things Simple for Consistent Safety

HIMax enables easy integration of safety and non-safety critical control functions. Electronic overspeed protection is at the core of a turbine’s safety functions. HIMA has developed a module for exactly this, integrated within the HIMax system. The module operates independently and does not interact with the safety system’s CPU.

Open Communication Results in Greater Flexibility

As a result, operators can achieve non-stop operation of their turbines over the entire plant lifecycle. Furthermore, this eliminates the need for multiple solutions from multiple manufacturers – making management and operation significantly easier. The HIMA solution supports open communication and external connection based on manufacturer-independent standards. Consequently, operators are not restricted by vendor lock-in, and the FlexSILon TMC system can be integrated into an existing automation environment. The result: Simplified communication that is less prone to failure.

Become Safer. Become More Profitable.

By utilizing integrated turbomachinery control and monitoring, operators can consistently fulfill functional safety requirements and standards. At the same time, LNG production also becomes more operationally efficient. By not operating multiple disparate and hard-to-wire solutions, operators can reduce costs and complexity. When it comes to controlling safety-critical functions, the ultimate aim is “partitioned integration”. Operators can achieve this by creating the system using independent functional safety modules with specialized hardware and software where relevant.

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