This Week at Exchange: Inspiring Ingenuity with HIPPS, Part 2

As mentioned in a post earlier this week, Applied Control is presenting with URS about the HIPPS (high integrity pressure protection system) solution deployed as a process control and safety system in a greenfield plant. Here is a continuation of the interview with URS prior to Emerson Exchange.

Q: What are the top three features or products that make it “excellent”?

  • An integrated common platform for the process control system, safety instrumented system and the HIPPS system provides a common access and interface to all aspects of plant controls, including partial stroke testing and documentation of test results. The PlantWeb system does everything in one package.

  • A complete documentation package for HIPPS. Safety rated certificates for components that comprise the system provided with SIL calculation (61511) in a single documentation package saved us a lot of time and cost. The Emerson product line of SIL rated components assembled to deliver a SIL 3 solution confirmed by SIL Verification IEC 61511 Compliance Report was key.

  • A complete system (Sensors, Logic Solver, and Final Control Elements) that was assembled off-site (at Applied Controls) and a documented Factory Acceptance Test that was executed prior to shipment to the site for installation. Emerson was able to provide local site installation support.

Q: Is there a single feature or component key to this architecture that really drives the value, or is it the architecture – i.e., the sum of the parts?

There is a little of both:

  • On the project execution side, supplying a complete HIPPS system including sensors, logic solver, final control elements, software, system integration, analysis, testing, and supporting documentation from a single source provided the best value. Coordinating procurement of equipment from various suppliers, analyzing their component documentation, system assembly and testing would have resulted in significant additional cost and schedule. A single source solution also reduced risk.
  • On the operational side, providing Partial Stroke Test as an automatic integral function of the system provides significant value to the end user. There is great value in the ability to document and store test results for the operator. Otherwise someone would need to go to the field and do a lot of work. The data produced during the test validates that the actuators are in fact working. Operators stroke the actuator 80-85% open, which gives them the confidence to know everything mechanically is working without causing a process slowdown. Without this function, the plant has to shut down the inlet source, which requires a total plant shutdown. Completely closing the shutoff valves is also known as a “full-proof” test.

The ability to extend the frequency of “full-proof” testing is the greatest value. Our goal was to perform it once a year during a scheduled maintenance shutdown. The frequency is determined by the SIL3 calculation, which incorporates device certifications mentioned previously, and is extended by the ability to perform partial stroke tests. Without Partial Stroke Tests the plant would most likely have to shut down every 6 months. Shutdowns and startups are highly inefficient and costly, and greatly impact profitability.

  • The “sum of the parts” is also a big part of the value. Sophisticated diagnostics available to the application as it relates to component integration between the CSLS, transmitters, and valves. This is part of the PlantWeb predictive intelligence. All of the components have been designed to predict when the system is compromised and is not safe.

The AMS Device Manager ValveLink SNAP-ON provides diagnostic information during partial stroke tests, monitors valves without disturbing the process, provides ability to review and compare diagnostic graphs, and detects emerging repair needs before valve performance is impacted.


Q: Before you began your implementation, what was your vision, your stated goal?

During Hazards Analysis it was determined that overpressure of the gas treatment plant equipment from the pipeline was a very real possibility with potentially disastrous consequences. The goal was to provide a safe and effective means to prevent the overpressure scenario in a manner that met current codes and standards, schedule and cost (feasibility), and to meet SIL 3 with only one full-proof test requirement per year.

Q: Before implementation, what was the biggest problem you had to solve?

The conventional approach to overpressure protection is the use of safety relief valves. The use of pressure safety valves was not an attractive solution. First this would require a significant number of very large relief valves. The second factor is that the gas that would be relieved would have to go to a flare for incineration. The expected flowrate required a much larger flare than would otherwise be required thus having a significant cost impact to the project. Finally the incineration of large volumes of natural gas would be a detrimental event of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and the loss of large amounts of produced gas would have a detrimental impact to the operation’s economics. Added to the cost of larger equipment – the biggest thing was the flare header that is hundreds of feet in length, and the requirement to make it much longer and larger would have resulted in significant additional investment.

The other option to design the plant to pipeline design pressure was deemed impractical and would make the project economically unjustified. Additionally the project could not have been delivered in time to meet the contract terms.

Q: To what extent did the PlantWeb solution solve your problems?

To solve our problem it was determined that it would be desirable to have HIPPS supplied as a complete package. As engineers we investigated options for procuring the HIPPS as a complete system and found that there were a limited number of options available. Applied Controls was able to provide a totally integrated package using PlantWeb technologies that we were unable to find anywhere else. This saved engineering time and provided a faster startup schedule. All certifications were provided, engineering and assembly of the complete system including integration with the balance of plant system. PlantWeb also provided the most complete diagnostics. The PlantWeb based HIPPS design also integrated seamlessly in another URS project that used a third party DCS system.


Q: How did you organize your team to move the project forward – what were the hurdles and obstacles?

The best thing we did was to partner with Applied Control (the Local Business Partner) – saved a lot of engineering time on specifications certification, documentation, etc.

As the engineer we prepared a specification for the complete HIPPS package. The specification was developed in conjunction with Applied Control Equipment. Applied Control worked within the Emerson Process organization to locate resources to meet the requirements of our specifications. They provided a proposal that met these needs and identified qualified individuals with the knowledge and experience required for success.

Q: What are the daily tasks/challenges that you faced, and how did PlantWeb change those tasks/challenges, or help you meet them?

The ability extend plant shut downs to once per year for full-proof testing through the use of partial stroke testing during normal plant operations with PlantWeb documented results.

The ability of a safety system to maintain SIL is a life cycle requirement. Certain testing to maintain integrity level is necessary. PlantWeb gave us the ability to shut down only once per year for “full-proof” testing.

Digital information within the HIPPS solution allows you to have more automated and more efficient testing with documented results.

Q: What new/modified work or business processes have you established in order to take advantage of the features of PlantWeb?

As this was a new greenfield project PlantWeb did not necessarily provide a new or modified process but the Valve Link and automated partial stroke testing had a significant impact on the effort to properly maintain and test the HIPPS.

Engineering processes were modified with use of CHARMS-electronic marshalling. Everything just gets so simple, and the cost savings are significant. There are no big expenses for late engineering changes inherent with conventional remote I/O solutions. Even if we used Fieldbus we would need to run cable trays separate from the power. But CHARMS use fiber optic, and we could run that right in the power trays that exist. Otherwise we would have had to pay for thousands of feed of cable trays! We nearly eliminated the need to run instrument cable trays.

Q: What were your greatest organizational successes by taking advantage of the technology?  

Having Emerson and Applied Controls educating us on how to make the best use of their instruments.


Q: What are the three biggest benefits you are realizing from the PlantWeb architecture?

  1. Low cost solution by getting everything from one company.
  2. Faster startup schedule
  3. Common platform:
    • Reduces spare parts inventory

    • Reduces the number of systems to learn and keep current

    • Eliminates interfaces between systems which reduces complexity and integration efforts

Q: Where did you see the biggest cost reduction?

The biggest cost reduction was associated with substantially less capital investment in plant equipment, such as relief devices and flare. This totaled tens of millions of dollars. The project really was not feasible otherwise.

Utilization of remote CHARMS I/O mounted in the field for the process control system and safety system reduced capital and installation costs for cable and cable trays and saved on the order of $100K. The elimination of cables and cable tray at high elevations on the top of pipe racks improved project safety by eliminating a significant amount of high work as well.

Q: Where did you see the biggest strategic gains?

The project was able to achieve a solution to a complex problem while complying with codes and accepted practices at a reasonable cost. We saved 8 weeks in the project schedule. The customer accepted gas on schedule, and no penalties were applied. If delayed, the penalties would have been tens of thousands of dollars per day.

Q: Can you demonstrate ROI?

The system pays for itself 100 times over if it prevents one unexpected shutdown. CHARMS saved $300K, and we saved millions in scaled-down equipment.


Q: What is your biggest challenge today?Many of our clients have standards and guidelines for engineering and design. Getting clients to accept these new HIPPS technologies and integrating them into their practices has been difficult. In instances where the client is willing to utilize new technologies there have been quantifiable benefits.

Q: Is there any game changing technology you have your eye on today? What do you see as the next big innovation in the process industry?

Benefit of SIS with Charms I/O and ability to put it out in the field and remotely integrate it into the balance of the control system via fiber. We want to make that standard because of the great cost savings and engineering savings and ability of SIS charms to integrate into non-Emerson control systems.

Clients do seem to be more receptive to remote I/O located in the equivalent of field junction boxes. This technology is a far better approach than bus technologies as more data is carried on fewer lines and installation engineering is far simpler. The electro-magnetic immunity of fiber optics eliminates much of the need for dedicated instrument cable tray.

Also Mobile Worker: Utilizing a mobile tablet to connect to HIPPS for the partial stroke test. Currently, one person in the control room calls out on the radio to someone at the valve to confirm it moved. A Toughbook enables one person to do it alone.

About URS:

URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world. URS provides services for federal, oil and gas, infrastructure, power, and industrial projects and programs.

About Emerson Exchange:

The Emerson Global Users Exchange is more than an industry-leading technical conference…it is a community of manufacturing leaders committed to extracting the most from their automation investment…and sharing their learning with each other.


This entry was posted in Applied Control, Emerson Exchange, Emerson Process Management. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.