Hitachi Launches AI-Assisted Predictive Maintenance Service for Petrochemical Plants

By Shin Kai

Company and Product News

Hitachi, Ltd. announced that it has now started offering the predictive maintenance service for petrochemical plants. It makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically classify and analyze the petrochemical plant's operation status in preparation for the real-time detection of changes in conditions and abnormalities that may be signs of failure. The service collects plant operation data and analyzes them by means of the adaptive resonance theory (ART), one of AI-based data clustering technologies, to swiftly detect abnormalities in devices and equipment that constitute the plant arising from multiple causes that are difficult to be discovered by predictive maintenance systems based on ordinary prediction models or by human judgment. It will help reduce not only the workload of operators monitoring the plant's operation but also the failure occurrence ratio to increase efficiency in operation and maintenance.

This predictive maintenance service has been developed and commercialized through a demonstrative trial conducted by Hitachi in collaboration with Showa Denko K.K. at the ethylene plant in Showa Denko's Oita Complex. It came into service for the practical operation of the plant in October 2018.

With the active use of the AI technology of Lumada, Hitachi’s solutions for digital innovation, as well as its abundance of expertise in operational technology (OT) that plant design and process control for energy and chemical field, this technology evaluates signs of changes in conditions and abnormalities in the entire petrochemical plant on a real-time basis. It was confirmed that this technology analyzed conditions for the occurrence of coking as a possible cause of plant failure, which used to be difficult to determine, and successfully detected signs of coking independently from skilled operators when it was applied to the ethylene plant in Showa Denko's Oita Complex.

Accordingly, Hitachi has begun offering this technology that reflected the result of demonstration as predictive maintenance service for petrochemical plants. At Showa Denko, this service will commence full operation for the practical operation of the ethylene plant where the joint demonstrative trial was conducted. To prevent plant failure, Showa Denko will work toward developing operation methods that align with the state of coking and methods of inhibiting coking. In addition, Showa Denko will introduce it to other manufacturing processes and plants.

The introduction of this service allows petrochemical plant manufacturers to transform conventional operation monitoring based on the experience and expertise of skilled operators into more efficient and advanced monitoring based on detection data. Since it detects signs of abnormalities that are overlooked by humans, it helps lower the plant failure ratio as well as maintenance costs.

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