Reliable Remote Monitoring Keeps Well Sites Productive

Mostly brownfield operations, upstream oil, and gas production sites require materials, equipment, and delivery systems to work together to produce high rates of utilization. With hydraulic fracturing pumps, drilling equipment, blenders, and multiple types of storage tanks for sand, water, and chemicals, there are lots of moving parts to keep running smoothly.

Remote Monitoring

Roughneck Equipment leases a wide variety of equipment and chemical delivery systems to oil and gas producers—from small to supermajors. Helping to ease integration challenges for its customers at well sites, the company has added remote monitoring to its machinery, which has proven its ability to improve operational performance.

“Most of our equipment on a frac pad integrates with what the oil and gas industry calls the data van,” says Alex Yousefian, automation and controls manager at Roughneck Equipment. “The van receives all the data from the well site—pumps, chemicals, everything.”

The Equipment

The company relies on PROFINET-enabled Siemens 1200 programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and Siemens ET 200 CPU controllers to keep track of its equipment operations and provide diagnostics to detect and correct any operational problems. Using PROFINET communications reduces the complexity for Roughneck and its third-party equipment.

Most oil and gas production companies still rely on analog I/O control; Roughneck uses PLC analog cards to provide operational data from its delivery systems to the data vans. “The ability to provide control and diagnostic capability all on one cable is desirable from a manufacturing and troubleshooting standpoint,” Yousefian says. “Instead of having multiple wires, all control functionality is simplified.

The simplicity extends to the company’s ability to use different types of drives for its electric motors due to PROFINET’s open standard. The variable-frequency drives (VFDs) used for the chemical delivery system come from Siemens, Danfoss, and Vacon. Roughneck is also considering leveraging PROFIdrive functionality on its equipment to provide easier programming and further expedite system integration at well sites.

According to Roughneck, the company provides about 10 parameters to a well site’s data van. “We’re delivering chemicals and, as important as that is, they have all kinds of operating parameters, such as well pressure and pump flows,” Yousefian says.

PROFINET is more flexible, reliable, and fault-tolerant than other industrial Ethernet systems, Yousefian notes, making it easier to ensure that Roughneck’s equipment stays productive. “As an Ethernet technology, PROFINETallows us to remote access the unit and troubleshoot equipment,” he says. “If additional data or functionality is needed, we don’t need to add new wires and programming, which saves us thousands of dollars. The only work required is additional software, which makes it easy and cost-effective to modify our systems and enables us to easily read and write hundreds of parameters.”

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