Case Studies: Fast, Efficient Calibration
Calibration is one of the success factors for Mumbai, India-based Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Patalganga plant, a petrochemical production plant and one of the oil conglomerate’s oldest plants. Vice President of Instrumentation Ranjan Bhattacharya says, “Calibration ensures that the end-product has high quality, as it is process control that ultimately determines the quality of products produced.” Calibration also must meet the plant’s ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 requirements. Overall, calibration requirements are considered high, as they need to meet the traceability requirements of quality for final products and governing bodies.
In total, the Patalganga plant has about 20,000 instruments. Process parameters calibrated include pressure, flow and temperature. The Patalganga plant follows a calibration plan that determines the calibration frequency of each instrument. General Manager of Instrumentation Keyur G. Vora explains, “The calibration frequency of most instruments is between one and three years. According to criticality, instruments are classified into three categories that determine the calibration frequency: vital, essential and desirable. For the instruments classified as vital, the calibration frequency is one year. Some critical instruments, such as analyzers, are calibrated as much as once a week.”
Approximately 30% of the installations are calibrated per year; these mainly include switches and gages. Because calibration is considered a critical task at the Patalganga plant, its own engineers and technicians perform all calibration. Calibration has not, therefore, been outsourced to external service companies. It is performed in workshops and out in the field, and the results are entered and documented into a maintenance management system.
Huge Time SavingsReliance Industries always looks for the best products and solutions in each category. And it was not going to make an exception when it decided to invest in calibration equipment. The company’s number-one criterion for choosing calibration equipment was accuracy. The stability of accuracy was the second most important issue. Other aspects included the flexibility of calibration by choosing appropriate master instruments to meet the company’s day-to-day needs, as well as service support for recalibrating the master instruments. “The task was to search, choose and install a top-of-the-line calibration system that would ultimately work as a reference to other plants. Ideally, a similar system could be used in other Reliance Industries plants as well,” Bhattacharya says.
Using the MCS100 system from calibration solutions provider Beamex (Pietarsaari, Finland), the average time it took to do one pressure calibration dropped from two hours to 30 minutes-a 75% time reduction. The Patalganga plant has been using several Beamex MCS100 workstations for the last three years. The results have been convincing and provided the opportunity to substantially improve the efficiency of calibration operations. The automated calibration functionality of the Beamex MCS100 makes this possible. Performing calibrations is fast and efficient. In addition, no intensive training is needed to operate the system.
“The quality, accuracy, technical features and ease-of use made Beamex a strong alternative when assessing the different suppliers and calibration equipment,” says Vora. “Beamex was able to meet our demanding requirements.”
The overall experience with the Beamex system has been good for the Patalganga plant. Still, there is always room for continuous improvement. The future trends and requirements in terms of calibration at the plant will involve even higher accuracy instruments, as well as the need to automate and simplify all calibration procedures and tasks.
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