Rockwell Automation is one of the world's largest providers of industrial automation and information solutions. It has customers in more
Rockwell Automation is one of the world's largest providers of industrial automation and information solutions. It has customers in more than 80 countries worldwide and around 22,500 employees. One of its business areas of focus is assisting oil and gas companies in exploration. An example is Hilcorp Energy, a customer company that drills oil in Alaska. The equipment used in drilling, extracting, and refining oil is very expensive. A single fault in the equipment can cost the company around $100,000 to $300,000 per day in lost production. To deal with this problem, it needed technology to monitor the status of such piece of equipment remotely and to predict failures that are likely to happen in the future.
Rockwell Automation considered the opportunity to expand its business in oil and gas industries by gathering data from the exploration sites and analyzing them to improve preventive maintenance decision making regarding the critical equipment, thus, minimizing downtime and drive better performance. The company utilizes its vision of Connected Enterprise with Microsoft's software to monitor and support oil and gas equipment placed in remote areas. Rockwell is now providing solutions to predict failure of equipment along the entire petroleum supply chain, monitoring its health and performance in real time, and to prevent failures in the future. Solutions are provided in the following areas.
• Drilling: Hilcorp Energy has its pumping equipment stationed in Alaska where it drills for oil 24 hours a day. A single failure in equipment can cost Hilcorp a large amount of money. Rockwell connected electrical variable drives of pumping equipment to be processed in the "cloud," to control its machines thousands of miles away from the control room in Ohio. Sensors capture data, and through Rockwell's control gateway, these data are passed to Microsoft Azure Cloud. The solutions derived reach Hilcorp engineers through digital dashboards that provide real-time information about pressure, temperature, flow rate, and dozens of other parameters that help engineers monitor the equipment's health and performance.
These dashboards also display alerts about any possible issues. When one of Hilcorp's pieces of pumping equipment failed, it was identified, tracked, and repaired in less than an hour, saving six hours of tracing the failure and the large cost of lost production.
• Building smarter gas pumps: Today, some delivery trucks use liquid natural gas (LNG) as fuel. Oil companies are updating their filling stations to incorporate LNG pumps. Rockwell Automation installed sensors and variable frequency drives at these pumps to collect realtime data about equipment operations, fuel inventory, and consumption rate. This data are transmitted to Rockwell's cloud platform for processing. Rockwell then generates interactive dashboards and reports using Microsoft Azure (an IoT platform). Results are forwarded to the appropriate stakeholders, giving them a good idea about the health of their capital assets.
The Connected Enterprise solution by Rockwell has accelerated growth for many oil and gas companies like Hilcorp Energy by bringing their operations data to the cloud platform and helping them reduce costly downtime and maintenance. It has resulted in a new business opportunity for industrial age stalwarts like Rockwell Automation.
Questions for Case 13.2
1. What type of information would likely be collected by an oil and gas drilling platform?
2. Does this application fit the three V’s (volume, variety, velocity) of Big Data? Why or why not?
3. Which other industries (list five) could use similar operational measurements and dashboards?
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