Wireless technology delivers track-and-trace

Paul Boughton

For real-time information, both about plant operation and personnel safety, wireless technology is at the heart of new communications developments. Sean Ottewell reports.

Wide-area passive radio frequency identification (RFID) supplier Mojix has been appointed by BP to deliver track-and-trace technology for the US$7 billion (EUR5 billion) Clair Ridge oil platform construction that will operate in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland.

This solution provides real-time visibility of oil platform components moving from suppliers located around the globe to the platform's construction site. BP is using this solution to monitor and manage the supply chain which includes tracking crates, heavy lift and out of gauge equipment, containers and vessels to improve the efficiency and safety during the construction.

Mojix says its STAR 3000 System delivers next-generation wide-area passive RFID at warehouses and yards, creating supply chain visibility which will result in cost savings and risk mitigation for BP.

BP deployed the Mojix STAR 3000 System as the cornerstone of its global track-and-trace of the supply chain for the construction of the Clair Ridge platform in Asia. Two different types of tag technology are used by BP including passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags on all materials and components and global positioning (GPS) sensor telemetry tags on containers and heavy equipment. The passive tag and GPS location information is consolidated from around the globe into the Mojix's centralised, web-based, visibility platform. Finally, commercial ocean vessel tracking information is integrated to the same centralised visibility platform giving BP a single-point of view of the location and flow of goods on roads, oceans, and warehouses.


Alderley has secured its largest metering order to date with a contract to provide 22 gas and liquid metering skids for the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) telemetry project in Kuwait. The £19.5 million (EUR23 million) contract was awarded by South Korean company Daelim Industrial.

KOC is implementing telemetry systems for monitoring and controlling the majority of the gas and liquid petroleum products pipelines that provide fuel to government and other consumer network facilities.

The scope of supply for Alderley includes 10 gas ultrasonic metering skids, one gas coriolis metering skid, two liquid ultrasonic metering skids and four liquid coriolis metering skids. A further four liquid coriolis metering skids and one liquid ultrasonic metering skid will be supplied for use by Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). Each of the 22 metering skids will come with the associated controls which will consist of supervisory systems, S600+ flow computers and programmable logic controllers. The control systems will be installed in remote temperature controlled control panels using solar and main grid power supplies depending upon their locations.

Meanwhile, with the introduction of the Smart Wireless Gateway 1410, Emerson Process Management says it is making it easier for process industry customers with remote operations to set up and run wireless networks.

Aggressive schedules

Often remote operations such as oil and gas wellheads have challenges with difficult installations, high costs and insufficient field personnel to keep pace with aggressive schedules. As a result, they are constantly one step behind - juggling equipment, crews, schedules, and data, with limited insight into what is really needed where.

The Smart Wireless Gateway 1410 helps integrate the critical insights into the production data while significantly reducing the need to send personnel to the field. It connects WirelessHART self-organising networks with host systems and data applications.

Because the Smart Wireless Gateway manages the network automatically, there is no need to configure communication paths. This means that additional data points can easily be added to remote operations. The added insight provided with a wireless network using the Smart Wireless Gateway 1410 can also help reduce environmental and safety issues, such as tank overfills and wellhead integrity.

The Smart Wireless Gateway 1410 was specifically designed to meet the needs of smaller networks (up to 25 devices) required for remote applications, without giving up the security and flexibility inherent with the existing higher volume Smart Wireless Gateway 1420.

Consolidating control functions

In upstream oil and gas processes, there is an ever pressing need to prevent accidents and protect the environment. Accordingly, there is a growing demand for safety instrumented systems that can detect abnormal conditions and safely initiate emergency shutdowns. However, wells and pipelines are typically distributed over a wide area and often have limited space for the installation of equipment. To improve operational efficiency and reduce hardware costs, there is a need to consolidate the functions performed by control and safety instrumented systems. In response to these needs, Yokogawa is releasing a new version of the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system (vR3.02.10) and has enhanced the DPharp EJX multivariable transmitter.

To compensate the gas flow rate, differential pressure, static pressure, and temperature must be measured. The DPharp EJX multivariable transmitter is a sensor that can measure all three of these variables. As the Modbus protocol is widely used in upstream oil and gas processes for communications between sensors and gas flow rate compensation devices, Yokogawa has added Modbus protocol support to the DPharp EJX multivariable transmitter. This sensor can thus be used together with ProSafe-RS to perform highly reliable and accurate gas flow rate calculations.

Real time information on status of personnel and contractors

Apprion has launched the latest version of ION Mustering, its personnel safety application for industrial facilities. ION Mustering provides real-time information and communication about the status of employees and contractors, enabling plants to locate personnel in real-time and providing efficient communication that can save lives and keep facilities' most valuable asset - their personnel - safe.

"The imperative for safe plant operation has never been greater. ARC's surveys of manufacturers find that real-time location tracking solutions such as ION Mustering are much preferred. In an emergency real-time data is comprehensive, accurate, up to date, and readily available," says Harry Forbes of Boston-based ARC Advisory Group.

In the day to day operations of industrial facilities, nothing is more critical than the safety and health of personnel. Unfortunately, says Apprion, many facilities are still utilising archaic, manual processes and systems during critical emergency activities. One serious incident puts the lives of many at risk. ION Mustering ensures greater protection for employees, contractors, and the surrounding community with faster, more accurate and efficient mustering than traditional manual processes, real-time monitoring of worker health, location and status and visual confirmation of personnel safety.

"Our customers have stressed that personnel safety is the top priority at their facilities," said Sarah Prinster, vice-president of marketing at Apprion. "We focused our design and engineering efforts on our ION Mustering application with features such as area entry logs and broadcast alerts to give industrial sites the best solution possible for personnel safety during critical industrial activities."

The ION Mustering application provides wireless technology and the integrated ION dashboard to verify the location and status of all personnel during an emergency.

Recent Issues