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Entries » Blog » Digitalization: The key to efficient tank storage

Eva Gansen |

Digitalization: The key to efficient tank storage

Tank storageDigitalization is not just a buzzword of our times. For the tank and terminal industry in particular, specialized digital processes are the key for efficient operations at the lowest possible total cost of ownership. With a well-established range of products and services, Siemens supports tank operators to stay ahead of the competition in today‘s highly volatile markets.

 

Siemens is a major technology partner with a comprehensive range of sensors and measuring equipment, and we are also familiar with the special requirements of the industry and support operations with state-of-the-art process control and automation systems. As a result Siemens is a reliable partner from field-level all the way out to management execution level.

 

System solution with industry-specific genes

While a modular tank management system such as Siemens TMS can be used as a standalone solution, its full potential unfolds when used in combination with an existing infrastructure. Combining Siemens SITRANS instrumentation with the Siemens process control and safety system SIMATIC PCS 7 and Siemens XHQ Operations Intelligence will result in a digital solution that easily merges with any third party MES/ERP to deliver superior control and reliability. Finally, it is compatible with the latest cloud applications for increased integration and future new developments.

The Siemens value chain of tank farms does not end here. There are also many underlying systems in areas such as data communications, as well as electrical or fire and gas detection.

 

Holistic approach to digitalization

Digital technologies play an increasingly dominant role in the tank terminal industry and are the major reason for future investments. They not only provide a basis for accelerating established processes, they also enable site operators to provide their operations with a considerable higher level of transparency and flexibility.

Future success in the industry will require the ability to respond quickly to market demands by adapting existing capacities to maximize output. The key to such goals is a highly flexible supply chain and storage management in combination with minimum downtime as well as safe and efficient loading/unloading processes.

We support such goals with a holistic system approach that starts with analyzing all life cycle phases of a storage plant from the initial plant design to engineering, construction, installation, and commissioning through to ongoing operation and maintenance - for electrical, automation, instrumentation and safety equipment

 

Engineering for the digital plant

The digital future calls for an effective engineering process that combines industry know-how with state-of-the-art development tools. With the engineering software COMOS, Siemens offers the ideal platform for optimizing engineering transparency and process flow efficiency over the entire lifecycle of a plant. In addition, the SIMIT software solution enables simulation and testing and even facilitates the virtual commissioning of an automation design prior to implementation.

Full digital process control is guaranteed by the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control system. It is an open system that forms a solid basis for a variety of add-ons to enhance process stability and flexibility. For example, XHQ is an effective analysis solution that enables continuous monitoring and plant performance improvements. It is designed to enable better decision-making through the use of key performance indicators and dashboards.

 

Driving the digital storage plant

One major enabling technology at field level is smart sensors that allow remote parameterizing, monitoring, and diagnosis. They not only provide the hardware basis for safer operation and simplified maintenance, they also support the increased requirements imposed by an increasing number of tanks and tank farms in combination with loading and unloading processes at increased frequencies.

Combined with such an advanced measuring and monitoring technology, variable speed drives of the Siemens SINAMICS family add a new level of economy and efficiency to plant operation. Their energy-efficient frequency converter technology not only streamlines all pumping operations, and in addition, in combination with SIMATIC PCS7 PowerControl they are also seamlessly integrated into the digital process automation environment.

 

Security teaming up with safety

Tank storage operations often involve sensitive or even hazardous process media. The tank and storage industry is therefore faced with increasingly stricter safety regulations. Siemens reacts to this situation with an integrated safety approach in combination with highly integrated and automated processes as well as intelligent and reliable measurement and control solutions.

Integrated safety also includes remote storage facilities equipped with advanced Siemens tele control and surveillance technologies. They ensure partially unmanned operation and help to protect remote operations against the unauthorized movement of people or assets by detecting, tracking, and creating alerts to emergency situations.

 

Preparing for the digital challenge

There is no doubt about it – the future of the tank and storage industry is digital. digital process control will enable plant operators to meet the challenges of the future. It’s a future that calls for transfer logistics at increasing speed, faster and more efficient operations and resource distribution as well as optimized asset management and utilization.

This will certainly call for investments, but it also lays the groundwork for a new level of flexibility, efficiency, safety and reliability. It will also reduce the total cost of ownership of a plant while improving its return on investment.

 

Want to find out more? Meet with our experts at StocExpo 2018 Booth I18, March 20-22, 2018, in Rotterdam, Netherlands – or check out our tank storage solutions at: www.siemens.com/tms

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