How Is the IIoT Affecting the Oil Refinery Industry?



By now, you have probably heard of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is a smaller part of the Internet of Things (IoT) umbrella. The IOT refers to a network of devices that communicate with one another and share data that is sent to a cloud-based service, which is then presented to the end-user.


An example of this could be your Fitbit. Your Fitbit can share data about your activities to your smartphone, which in turns talks to your smart scale and other devices. You can then see a full picture of your health by seeing how much you moved, what your heart rate was, what you ate, whether or not you have lost weight recently, etc. By seeing all of this data in one place, you can then make some conclusions that may improve your weight loss efforts.


Now, obviously, this is a very small example of how the IoT works. Let’s say you’re talking about the IoT on a much larger scale, like on an oil refinery. There was a recent article in Chemical Engineering Online that discussed how more refineries are using digital tools to mitigate the risks and challenges in the current energy market.


Refinery plants that use IIoT-enabled devices and systems, like sensors and automated instruments, are better able to predict when something could go wrong, access current operations, minimize efficiency losses, reduce overall maintenance costs, and improve information access. This enables workers to make better decisions and minimize the risk of any abnormal operations from occurring.


Think about it. With the adaptation of automation systems and cloud technologies, a refinery plant can create a connected IIot System where data can be transferred and accessed by pertinent end users. Sensors connected to a shell tube and heat exchanger could provide valuable data on the efficiency of the transfer between the two states of matter in the shell, allowing operators to assess the situation in real-time. This enables operators to make quicker decisions with more information at their disposal.


The benefits of implementing IIoT technologies in oil refineries may have some challenges (security and implementation among existing systems) but the potential benefits of the IIoT may make these investments well worth it in the end. Just as many other industries are using the IoT, the IIoT should be a common strategy for the oil industry as well. Contact us today to learn more about how Fluorotherm is doing its part to transform the energy industry through best-in-class heat exchangers and more.

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