Monitoring mission-critical electrical equipment at one of South Africa’s only inland petrol refineries
Commissioned in 1971, the Natref petrol refinery – located in the industrial region of Sasolburg – is one of South Africa’s oldest inland refineries. Historically, engineers at the refinery have had difficulties with monitoring the operations of circuit breakers at the refinery’s substations, leading to increased maintenance costs and unplanned downtime.
Here, Ian Loudon, International Sales and Marketing Manager at Omniflex, discusses how alarm annunciators and sequence of events recording came to the aid of plant operational managers at the refinery.
The Natref petrol refinery, a jointly owned venture by Sasol and Total, has been at the cutting edge of refining technology ever since its inception nearly half a century ago. Because the local market for heavy fuel oil is limited, Natref is designed to get the most out of crude oil. By optimising its use of the bottoms upgrading refining process, Natref can produce 70 percent more white product than coastal refineries, which rely on heavy fuel oil.
Across the 17 substations situated on site at Natref, automatically operated circuit breakers are used to protect electrical circuits from damage in the event of a short circuit or system overload. They do this by interrupting current flow if a fault is detected. Unlike a fuse, which can only be used once before being replaced, circuit breakers are reset to resume normal operation. However, they have a finite operating life and can only be reset a certain number of times before being replaced.
Read the full article in the March issue of PBSI
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