Asset Management

Rotating equipment makes the world go ‘round

A wide range of oil & gas equipment and machine providers are releasing their own responses to the introduction of IIoT and the impending age of analytics.
By Kevin Parker October 5, 2019

“What you have to realize, is that the midstream is all about rotating equipment,” said Craig Harclerode, industry principal, oil & gas, with data infrastructure and historian supplier, OSIsoft.

Armed with this interview-derived insight from a manager at one of the seminal technology innovators of our time, anyone would have been well-equipped to hear of the high-tech turn taken at the Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium, held September 15 – 17 in Houston.

A case in point is the announcement made by Bently Nevada, a business of Baker Hughes, the provider of integrated oilfield products, services and digital solutions.

Bently products monitor the mechanical condition of rotating equipment found in machinery-intensive industries. Sixty years ago, Don Bently invented the eddy current proximity probe, the first sensor that measured vibration in high-speed turbo machinery by allowing direct observation of the rotating shaft.

Into a wider world

At the symposium, Bently introduced its response to the latest advances in IT-based industrial computing, aka, the industrial internet of things. “The engineering team is excited about the first major update of this important product line in 20 years,” said Terry J. Knight, president and CEO of Bently Nevada and the measurements and controls business of Baker Hughes.

The Orbit 60 series is an update of the 3500 machinery protection system, which is said to have 85,000 racks installed worldwide, 60,00 of them in oil & gas. The Orbit 60 series collects and processes data, equipping operators with the data and analytics to determine machine health.

When the 3500 was developed there was no concern with cybersecurity, said Knight. The Orbit 60 includes the latest connectivity capabilities but the separation of protection from condition monitoring precludes anyone preempting the equipment’s control.

Moreover, the system has 100x higher signal processing power than the industry standard. A built-in diode enables data transfer from the device to Bently Nevada’s machinery management software System 1 for proactive monitoring and diagnostics.

Edge trends

“This is an edge device. The primary connection is to System 1, but users can do their own analytics, some on the edge, some going to the cloud for fleetwide analyses, if desired. The gateway allows inclusion of process data. What’s most important is that access to data opens up a wider world,” said Steven Sturm, senior product line leader.

Rotating equipment providers and users are always looking for new measurements. “The device is built for flexibility because we’re not certain what the basis for measurement will be,” said Sturm.

While machine learning can be used to mimic the intuitive insight humans use to analyze situations, e.g., “That just doesn’t sound right,” one distinction between machine learning and physics-based analysis, Sturm said, is that physics-based analysis more easily lends itself to root-cause analysis.

More generally, it’s clear that, like Bently Nevada, a wide range of oil & gas equipment and machine providers are releasing their own responses to the introduction of IIoT and the impending age of analytics.

For more on rotating equipment in the oil & gas industry, see Harclerode’s byline in this issue, “Midstream’s dilemma with rotating equipment.”


Kevin Parker
Author Bio: Senior contributing editor, CFE Media