Automation technology cuts gas consumption at Baker Hughes GE plant

baker hughes ge

Following a recent upgrade of its process control technology and installation of new automation solutions, Baker Hughes GE – a Tyneside based designer and manufacturer of oil and gas pipe systems – has reported substantial reductions in gas consumption.

Challenges & Actions

The new system features Beckhoff automation hardware as part of an open-source system built by TR Control Solutions and was designed to combat steadily rising energy bills and suspected inefficient heating systems.

With multiple unsupported legacy building management systems (BMS) all running independently of each other and with no visibility for facilities managers (FMs), the old system was excessively fragmented and no longer fit for purpose. TR Control Solutions implemented a centralised building energy management system (BEMS) which can be accessed by FMs on the local network. Newly introduced site maps offer live temperature updates and clear status visualisation, whilst heating and cooling setpoints can be controlled from a desktop or mobile device. Users can also view an operational log to gain access to historical data.

ecoDriver BEMS dashboard

Fully commissioned by TR Control Solutions, the innovative and modern automation system features integrated hand switches and fault signals, with intelligent sensors replacing faulty, unreliable and outdated sensor technology.

Lessons &  Results

The inefficiencies of the previous system were starkly highlighted through its inability to understand heating demand and appropriate temperature setpoints. This meant that the heating was often left on continuously, regardless of whether or not it was actually needed, and checking the status of the heating meant walking to the BMS panel and making manual adjustments. After the implementation of the new system, having taken weather into account, gas consumption at Baker Hughes GE fell by an incredible 32% when measured against the same period a year earlier – securing a return on investment (ROI) in just six months.

As an example of the new system’s flexibility and capacity to accept technologies and enhancements from multiple vendors, integrated outside air temperature sensors were recently added to the system in order to ensure that the heating is turned off when the outside air temperature rises above a certain value. This undoubtedly played a part in minimising gas consumption at the facility and there is potential to reduce consumption still further by introducing energy-saving assets such as door interlocks.

The data collected by TR Control Solutions’ asset|Driver platform will also ensure there is a systematic analysis of consumption so that savings can be maintained on a long-term basis.

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