Smart Monitoring Technology: Saving Lives and Protecting Critical Downstream Assets

Downstream refinery

Let us introduce you to Bob. In late 2020, Bob’s wife gave him an Apple smartwatch for their 17th wedding anniversary. Bob was an avid runner and immediately started using the watch to track his fitness goals.

Bob’s smartwatch included a heart rate app to monitor his heart rate. Immediately, he started noticing erratic readings, with his heart rate jumping up and down. These readings continued for several days, and while he felt fine, Bob scheduled a routine physical with his doctor just in case.

The doctor found a heart arrhythmia, which required heart surgery. The surgery was completed successfully, and Bob was back on his feet in no time, running regularly and using his smartwatch to help him stay in shape. Bob’s smartwatch saved his life.

a man adjusting his smartwatch

Getting Downstream into Shape

What does Bob’s smartwatch have to do with Akselos and downstream oil & gas assets? Just like with Bob, Akselos’ advanced engineering simulation technology can increase efficiency and help get oil & gas downstream technology into shape. For instance, digital twins can give operational and engineering teams critical, near real-time data on the startup of heavy-wall reactor vessels in refineries. Engineers can then use this information to optimize the process, saving time and money.

For example, Akselos’ technology calculated thermal-induced stresses of a refinery reactor in real-time for one of our clients. These calculations will allow the operator to adjust startup accordingly, decreasing the startup time of a refinery by 6-12 hours. Were this relatively minor adjustment replicated across the 600 refineries globally, we could increase efficiency enough to avoid building an entire new refinery.

Preventing Fatal Issues

As with Bob’s smartwatch detecting his heart issue in near real-time and saving his life, digital monitoring is only helpful if it provides real-time tracking to detect issues before they occur.

Akselos’ digital software offers high resolution, targeted monitoring to warn of issues before they arise and show how much life remains before replacement or repair is required. Our structural digital twins can inform maintenance teams of safety-critical areas down to the nearest centimetre or even millimetre. This immediate identification of issues prevents problems from worsening and significantly extends the lifespan of assets.

For instance, Akselos is working with Pan American Energy to build a comprehensive digital twin on refinery cokers. All cokers, regardless of crude type, geography, or operator, endure extreme operating conditions, resulting in accumulated asset damage and asset failure. All coke drums will ultimately need replacement as there is no way to stop asset degradation across time given the thousands of pressure/thermal cycles.

With Akselos’ digital twin technology, it is possible to digitise coker operations by creating a near real-time structural digital twin of the asset. This digital twin avoids fatal issues by demonstrating precisely which high-stress locations require inspection and potential repair.

Learn More

Bob’s smartwatch saving his life demonstrates the enormous benefits of smart monitoring technology for human health. While Akselos will not be saving lives any time soon, our engineering simulation and monitoring technology – one of the fastest and most advanced in the world – increases the efficiency of downstream oil & gas assets and avoids fatal issues occurring.

Discover more about how our technology protects critical downstream assets by watching the following video.

To learn more about our work with downstream oil & gas, visit our website.