Engines + Emissions

Automation: One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

Dresser-Rand’s Gas Engine Technology Center team in Fort Collins, Colorado helps reduce emissions, improve automation and increase equipment reliability for a wide range of natural gas engines based on your specific goals.

Clients with a problem want one thing: a resolution.

Clients don’t come to Dresser-Rand to only buy products and services. They come to Dresser-Rand to find the best solution with the lowest total cost of ownership.

This is especially true with the Enginuity® products that originate at Dresser-Rand’s Gas Engine Technology Center, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Here, our engineers focus on technologies that reduce emissions and improve reliability and efficiency for most brands of reciprocating engines in natural gas production and transmission.

Today, control and automation systems perform a variety of tasks that were unheard of just a few years ago. Maintaining reliable operations within a wide range of operating requirements and strict emissions regulations requires a level of accuracy far beyond what was once achievable with earlier control systems. With its acquisition of Enginuity five years ago, Dresser-Rand expanded its field proven control standards which now range from start-stop sequencing and parametric emissions monitoring system (PEMS), to combustion-based air-fuel ratio control and condition monitoring – and many solutions in between.

Finding the Right Solution

For the staff in Fort Collins, understanding the client’s problem is an essential first step, especially when it comes to automation projects. Taking on the client’s perspective is important, because often clients only “feel a pain” and do not necessarily know the root cause or how to address it. The engineering team digs deep into the details to define an effective solution by working closely with the client, especially the on-site team who will ultimately be responsible for taking care of and operating the finished product. The Dresser-Rand team then selects the appropriate equipment (hardware / software) for the task and determines how to best integrate applicable technologies. The engineers develop solutions with close attention to solving the known issues and satisfying any regulatory requirements, environmental or otherwise. The team also works with the client’s schedule and life cycle requirements. By following that blueprint, the team is able to offer clients the right solution, ultimately addressing the issues they face and resolving the root problem.

Solving engine performance, reliability and emissions issues is not only about installing off-the-shelf hardware. What separates Dresser-Rand engineers from the rest of the pack is the fact that they take the time to look at the bigger picture. For us, this means incorporating the engine with the compressor and understanding the role the equipment plays at a facility and system level. Also important is a solid understanding of how the equipment is maintained and how routine and preventative maintenance practices play into the design of the system.

What Does Automation Mean to the Team in Fort Collins?

Jay Holden, general manager for Dresser-Rand’s Enginuity strategic business unit, relates, “Automation falls into two major categories for our team. The first area is solving OEM fundamental control issues, whether it is replacing a black box with an open architecture PLC or fixing poor control algorithms or misapplied end devices. The second area is supporting our clients with PLC modernization projects. In either scenario, our team works closely with the client to understand the issues and opportunities for improvement, as the end result is always increased reliability.”

Dresser-Rand engineers look at how clients operate their equipment; they analyze maintenance practices and discuss the client’s philosophy on capital improvements. With that information, they can combine products and services to create a holistic solution. Whether the goal is to save fuel, to reduce emissions or solely to improve machine reliability, our engineering team designs a customized solution for the varying conditions many of our clients face.

Pipeline Client Sees Increase in Equipment Reliability

Take Station 47 of the Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) in Louisiana, for example. The control system installed on a competitor’s gas engine used older black box technology, was difficult to operate and not easy to troubleshoot. After collaborating with the client to identify and address the existing system issues, Dresser-Rand engineers recommended replacing the OEM control system with the Enginuity iFLEX™ control system. Additionally, the control and monitoring end devices were upgraded to more robust market standard that allowed easy integration with the iFLEX system and standard maintenance that could be performed by TGP. This integrated system architecture features Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable automation controllers that communicate data to a PanelView Plus operator terminal. The iFLEX system can be integrated with local station or remote management systems and it maintains unit operability better than the OEM controls and is fully integrated with the engine and compressor.

Furthermore, the equipment is protected with alarms and shutdown triggers calibrated specifically for this site. One great benefit of the iFLEX control system is that it allows the client the ability to troubleshoot and modify or add to the system as required because it is built on an open architecture platform.

Mike Thompson, an Electrical and Controls Technician at Tennessee Gas Pipeline said, “The control and automation package developed by Dresser-Rand for the Wartsila 18V-34SG engine has proved to be quite an accomplishment for both Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline Station 47 and Dresser-Rand. The hard work and outstanding efforts of the Dresser-Rand Gas Engine Technology Center team has significantly improved the overall reliability of this critical unit, which is utilized to keep natural gas flowing down the pipe to our customers. If problems do arise however, with the installation of the Allen-Bradley PLC as the primary processor for the control system our technicians can now access an open platform which allows them to quickly troubleshoot and complete repairs in a timely manner. But probably the most significant positive fact is, now our operations personnel can safely and reliably start this unit and place it online with virtually no assistance, which has greatly reduced after-hour callouts.”

A Trusted Advisor in the Industry

With more than 200 years of cumulative experience of some of the most respected engine, combustion, gas compression, and control engineers in the industry, Dresser-Rand takes pride in its familiarity with most gas driven engines, including Waukesha, White Superior, Ingersoll Rand, Clark, Cooper, Wartsila, Nordberg, Jenbacher, Worthington, Enterprise, Guascor®, and Caterpillar designs, among other brands. These engineers have demonstrated an ability to apply their gas engine knowledge by programming valuable control philosophies and algorithms, taking a standard iFLEX product and customizing it for new applications. By working closely with its clients, the Fort Collins team has become a trusted advisor in the industry and has provided more than 600 retrofits worldwide.

Leave it to the Dresser-Rand Gas Engine Technology team in Fort Collins to lead the way in helping clients take the mystery out of engines and their control and automation systems with solutions to help meet the strictest emissions regulations and boost reliability.

Tags: Emissions Solutions, Enginuity

other articles from insights issue Spring / Summer 2014