1660254025307 Thoughtbulbsmarthero

How to smarten up enclosures

Jan. 22, 2020
A look at how Bechtel Oil and Gas proved out before standardizing on ready-made intelligent enclosures with configurable I/O

There's been a subtle shift in the market from conventional I/O to universal I/O. The savings on labor and materials seemed obvious, but Bechtel Oil and Gas decided to prove it out before standardizing on ready-made intelligent enclosures with configurable I/O. An internal study revealed 15-30% savings on each Bechtel LNG project. “We get to see a lot of new technologies,” said Robert Resendez, control and automation team manager, Bechtel Oil and Gas, who spoke about his company’s implementations at Schneider Electirc’s Innovation Days in Austin, Texas. “We get to implement a lot of new technologies.”

In 2013, Bechtel had just come off of seven LNG projects. “One of the biggest challenges was design development because of the changes,” explained Resendez. “We were at the factory acceptance test (FAT) for eight to 12 months on all of them because of design development. What could we do to fix this problem? Universal I/O was a no-brainer. I don’t have to increase cabinet size. The marshaling cabinets were the big changer because we didn’t have to rewire.”

The obvious savings came to light immediately, but Bechtel wanted to know the overall impact on costs. The new system also increased certain costs, but the net effect was evident. “In 2013, we started vetting the systems and looking at them from an engineering standpoint,” said Resendez. “In the conventional system, we had a cabinet and then each I/O had to go to a marshaling cabinet, then out to intermediate junction boxes and then copper cable out to the instruments. This is the standard.”

With the remote I/O, the intermediate junction boxes were replaced with intelligent enclosures. “All the I/O is now moved out to the eld,” explained Resendez. “The connection back is now fiberoptic cable, so we’ve reduced the cable size and the structure by eliminating the copper cable. And the marshaling cabinets have all but gone away.”

Bechtel took a project it had just completed with 2,253 I/O signals going to four buildings. “We had an I/O rack room, a utility substation, compressor substation and propane condenser substation,” said Resendez. “We replaced the junction boxes with the smart enclosures. Eighty eld junction boxes were replaced with 39 Smart I/O boxes.” The majority of homerun cabling was eliminated, reducing 195 homerun cables to 16 cables.

“We eliminated 21,000 homerun cable terminations,” said Resendez. “We eliminated almost 2 million linear feet of cable. We eliminated all 23 marshaling cabinets, and DCS cabinets went from eight to five. Because we eliminated cabinets, we reduced the footprint from 864 sq ft to 234 sq ft. In some other projects, we’ve eliminated a whole building.”

About the author: Mike Bacidore
About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

Sponsored Recommendations

2024 State of Technology Report: PLCs & PACs

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been a popular method of machine control since the PLC was invented in the late 1960s as a replacement for relay logic. The similarly...

Power Distribution Resource Guide

When it comes to selecting the right power supply, there are many key factors and best practices to consider.

Safe Speed and Positioning with Autonomous Mobile Robots

Here are some tips for ensuring safe speed and positioning for AMRs using integrated safety technology – many of these tips also apply to automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Faster, Accurate and Reliable Motion Control With Advanced Inductive Technology

This white paper describes new technology offering improved position measurement capabilities in reliability, speed, accuracy and more.