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Reliability Through Correlation and Collaboration

Between Maintenance, Operations and Reliability Improvement Technologies

by Chad Broussard & Alan King

Reliability can cover a broad range of policies, guidelines, assets, strategies, systems and technologies. Energy manufacturing and logistics company, Phillips 66, has the upmost commitment to safety and operating excellence, which includes personal and process safety, environmental excellence and reliability. That commitment led us to develop a reliability program that not only manages equipment health at one site, but effectively and successfully operates assets across approximately 11,000 miles of pipeline. We included 144 pump stations and 22 product terminals of the total assets across the United States. Phillips 66’s transportation business relies on a customized, integrated reliability approach, which uses a proactive maintenance model to identify defects in assets. This approach optimizes the return on asset reliability by maximizing utilization in a way that is cost effective – making good business sense.

Over the past two years, we have listened to our internal customers, including division managers, engineers, supervisors, rotating equipment leads, and technicians, through a careful national survey of each transportation operating division management, compiling a list of reliability needs weighted by cost and potential savings. From this analysis, we formed a reliability team consisting of division rotating equipment leads and subject matter experts to analyze data from our enterprise asset management (EAM) system, complete a high-level gap analysis, and implement a condition monitoring program using vibration analysis to build the foundation for what we consider to be a world-class maintenance reliability program consistent with our corporate focus on safety and operating excellence.

Gap Analysis and Benchmarking

We conducted a benchmark gap analysis comparing Phillips 66 to the overall oil and gas industry in 40 elements of the business, across each regional division. These elements were divided into four major areas - maintenance strategy, work identification, work control and work execution. The gap results helped to guide the design of the reliability centered maintenance (RCM) program, framework and structure, including the Reliability Policy and all necessary elements to enhance the program over the next five to seven years. To ensure we apply organizational expertise, leadership and division management continue to develop and review the reliability policy draft while the team continues to build out each area with guidelines, procedures and specifications.

All of this information, technology, programs and systems have evolved to form the foundation of the Phillips 66 Reliability Program. This initiative examples our proactive culture around reliability which aligns with delivering profitable results.

Figure 1 is an overview of more than 30 elements the team is focusing on and incorporating into the Phillips 66 Transportation Reliability Program.

figure 1Figure 1: The RCM Framework incorporated with the Plan, Do, Access, and Adjust continuous improvement cycle.

In an industrial environment that includes manufacturing facilities, pipelines, plants and refineries, Phillips 66 has an assortment of tools, technologies, processes, and most importantly, resources. Within this diverse environment, we are united by a central goal to run a safe and efficient business. As a result, we implement well-developed policies, strategies and business plans to enable improvements each day and improve our quality and reliability.

Development of Condition Based Monitoring and Maintenance (CBM)

In addition to specifications, training and technicians in place, in 2011, the company added a team consisting of a reliability engineer, rotating equipment subject matter expert (SME), and rotating equipment leads from each division to study alternatives in implementing a new vibration program.

figure 2Figure 2: Oil Tanker Unloading

The company used a three-phase approach. The first phase was to partner with an outside vendor that had the needed technology and support, including external manpower to collect vibration routes, analyze the data, and report back for corrections and improvements. A detailed and thorough business case helped to keep the team on track with parameters for the amount of equipment that could be monitored and a tight accounting for equipment justification and data collection frequency.

Currently, Phillips 66 Transportation has more than 700 drive trains in the rotating equipment vibration program. Across the pipelines and pump stations, the company has two mainline pumps at each pump station, which are about 50 to 75 miles apart. A “boots-on-the-ground,” or manual, vibration data collection strategy would require driving 200 to 300 miles a day visiting three or four pump stations and collecting vibration readings on six mainline pumps. This demonstrates commitment of significant time and labor compared to most industrial plants where the average technician can cover approximately 100 pieces of equipment in an eight-hour period.

figure 3Figure 3: Large vertical pumps are often used at our Terminal Tank Farms to handle the net positive suction head (NPSH).

In the second phase of the program, the team set up external cloud servers where data is uploaded and made available from any computer in the country. The team also purchased vibration data collectors for each division to supplement the vendor’s quarterly vibration routes, and provided training on the software, data collectors, and five remote online vibration suitcases for advanced data acquisition. For example, the vibration levels of rotating equipment are directly related to many factors, including the time the data is gathered. So the team created Class 1, Division 2-rated remote suitcases. These suitcases can be deployed over long periods of time to capture vibration data that may not be seen during a normal route.

The third phase was a two-step process. The first step involved utilizing our data historian and process control system known as SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) to acquire analog data from transmitters and programmable logic controllers, which is transmitted via satellite to the control center. The data is then pushed from SCADA to ProcessBook (aka PI). Once the data is in PI, it is available to all SMEs to correlate seven key parameters, like vibration, suction, discharge, case pressures, control valve percentage, run status and temperature. Using this data, Phillips 66 Transportation can correlate how a piece of equipment is being operated and how the operation is affecting the monitored asset’s physical and mechanical state. All of this information is imparted through the overall vibration velocity (0-.8 in/sec.).

We can then utilize the remote vibration suitcases to accurately help diagnose the vibration data. The suitcase has eight channels to take readings from eight different measurement locations. This allows us to capture spectral and waveform data through cellular technology, and transfer that data to the cloud server for analysis and reporting. It also allows us to understand whether an operational technique is causing the vibration or performance anomaly. In that case, the Operations Control Center can help the pipeline controllers develop the awareness needed to operate the pipelines at the best efficiency point (BEP) on the pump curve, delivering optimum reliability.

In the second step of Phase Three, the team is beginning to populate equipment characteristics into a rule-based decision support software. This will help accurately diagnose equipment faults and correlate the severity. Alarms are designed to alert if a vibration level breaches its set points. In effect, this software speeds up the learning curve for internal technicians.

Figure 5: #1 Mainline Pump Before/Analysis Phase (illustration) and After Modifications.

Staying up-to-date is challenging; this complex asset reliability program will be ever-evolving. The company is using new technology and a qualified partner to ensure the program is a success. For example, web-based vibration programs show green, red and yellow status indicating the alarm statuses along pipeline segments that make up our pipeline and terminal divisions. These alarm set points are measuring the several key parameters.

Return on Investment (KPI Metrics)

The financial results from the condition based monitoring (CBM) program produced a powerful success story. The contract cost of the program resulted in a $2 million maintenance cost reduction in 2013, yielding a ROI of 250 percent.

The proactive approach has also realized savings through “cost avoidances” by catching rotating equipment anomalies before they failed. This avoids the tremendous burden of expediting necessary parts and labor to get the repairs completed, not to mention any lost profit opportunity (LPO) occurrences that could apply in certain situations.

Evaluating the Results

The results show a conservative estimated savings of $1 million in cost avoidances, including $500,000 at one refinery that avoided an LPO. The cost avoidances are defined as early fault detection that helps prevent costs associated with failing equipment. All of the divisions experienced savings. Highlights include:

  • Pump Station 1: Spectral data on an electric motor showed looseness and imbalance in rotor assembly, and misalignment across the coupling. The rotor cage had actually shifted in the core and the rotor was loose on the shaft. Because CBM - vibration analysis detected the problem, the repair cost was only $21,000 instead of the typical $120,000.
  • Pump Station 2: Spectral data and temperatures indicated a problem with the outboard bearing. Operators shut down the pump, repaired flat spots in bearings and polished the shaft at the site. Temperatures dropped 15 degrees and the vibration returned to normal, yielding a repair savings of $60,000.
  • Lubrication Program: In performing our analysis, the team found cases of “wrong oil for the application” issues. The discovery and resulting decisions resulted in a one-time savings of more than $100,000.
  • Operational Deflection Shape: In addition to savings, the program has driven innovation. Over the past couple of months, Phillips 66 Transportation has utilized a technology known as operational deflection shape, which offers visibility on how equipment or structures move based on vibration amplitudes and phase angles.

A mainline pump was experiencing higher than desired levels of vibration after installing a new foundation and motor, as shown in the data. The divisions worked together to identify a structural resonance on the pump frame support legs. These modifications were applied as reinforcement endplates to add stiffness to the pump, as shown in Figure 5. This single analysis lowered the vibration levels from .27 in/sec. velocity to about .05 to .08 in/sec. This was a reduction in vibration levels of more than 80 percent, which eliminated the nuisance of alarm trips at the pump station. The reduction in vibration also improves reliability and eliminates equipment component wear on seals, bearings and couplings.

Figure 6 shows a temporary engine installed at a Pump Station. The discharge piping was experiencing vibrations between six inches per second and 10 inches per second, depending on the pump’s operation. Steel normally starts to break with vibration levels that exceed one inch per second. The rotating equipment lead and local team quickly utilized a vibration suitcase device, Figure 7, that monitors the vibrations every five to 60 minutes. The data was tracked from a wireless device and the team got vibration updates from a cloud server. Today, the vibration has been reduced to .3 inches per second and the team has decided to bury the piping underground to remove the resonant vibration frequency from the associated discharge piping, see Figure 8.

figure 6Figure 6: Skid mounted engine and positive displacement pump.

figure 7Figure 7: Mobile vibration suitcase

figure 8Figure 8: The picture shows the completed modifications with the buried piping and a discharge dampener (orange) installed on the end of the piping. You can also see the accelerometers with yellow cables mounted on the piping linking it to the mobile suitcase.

We continue enhancing our condition monitoring program with web-based reporting and vibration reports, mainline pump vibration alerts and key performance indicators to keep us abreast of any vibration anomalies the equiment experiences along approximately 11,000 miles of pipeline.


Phillips 66’s investment in asset reliability is yielding significant savings. Asset reliability is helping the company avoid costly repairs and reap financial savings through utilization of a system that is integrated in operational excellence. In addition, utilization and production is driving revenue through increased capacity.

Operational asset reliability improves asset availability and performance and quality. These improvements create more capacity for the organization, while supporting the company’s commitment to safety and operating excellence. Moreover, as we see it, the efforts in optimizing the return on asset reliability have helped position Phillips 66 Transportation as a leader in pipeline and terminal operations.

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