As the oil tank storage industry becomes increasingly competitive and complex it seeks more intelligent and efficient solutions to fuel growth. Perhaps the most important area of development is the growth of automation. Indeed, increasing numbers of operators are using tank storage automation as a key selling point in pitching for new business. Tank storage farm automation is now easier, quicker and less costly than ever before and the industry now boasts a growing number of examples where an investment in automation has given a significant return on investment. There are of course various levels of storage automation from a fully integrated, computerised facility through to a more basic motor-operated system. But without a doubt the implementation of terminal automation technology is one of the most cost effective ways in which to grow your business. Today Tank World examines the top 5 advantages of tank storage automation…
1) Efficiency – improves accuracy, availability and the intelligence of the mission critical devices deployed at the facility. Pumping performance, energy consumption and motor data can all be managed, monitored and utilized in a smarter manner. Whilst automation also ensures that upgrades and maintenance can be made without a significant impact on the facilities output and provides extra robustness due to its redundancy offering.
2) Safety – monitors continuously the system with a focus on alarms, batch conditions, overfill prevention interlocks and reconciliation. If an alarm is triggered, operators are provided the relevant information and tools needed to manage the situation in real-time. Automation decreases the threat of human error. All of which combined plays a major role in mitigating risks and safeguarding against major incidents, and help bring facilities in line with industry regulations.
3) Security – minimizes the time operators are required to spend in the field and total number of personnel needing to be deployed at the tank farm. Automated systems can reinforce existing security be immediately alerting operators to tampering or illegal access to the facilities. Shut down if required can be executed remotely.
4) Resource management – enables the operators to accurately track, manage, reconcile and report inventories by manager, owner and product on a daily basis. Offers constant measurement of product parameters to specific parameters e.g. oil product volume in each tank, total oil product volume for each grade, volume of free oil tanks, total oil product mass for each grade etc. Reports and summaries can be made quickly and processes clearly visualised at graphical user interface at the operator’s workstation.
5) Scalability – the system can be enlarged to accommodate significant growth and expansion. The use of open standards and open architecture ensures compatibility with any device and any control system. In addition integration with manufacturing execution systems is also an opportunity for development.
What other advantages do you see? Leave a comment below or email: Editor@TankStorageForum.com to continue the debate.