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Automated tanker loading at Shell

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article image Ten Coriolis flow meters installed.

ENDRESS+Hauser's Promass flow meters linked by Profibus, have streamlined loading bay capabilities at the Shell Lubricant Centre at Stanlow in Ellesmere Port, UK, for its bulk finished products - mainly hydraulic and engine oils.

Shell's main objectives in constructing the new bay were to increase loading efficiency, and to move away from traditional 'top loading' of tankers to the more safety-conscious 'bottom loading' method.

Given that the products concerned are typically non-conductive, Coriolis flow meters (which provide mass flow, density and temperature outputs) offer the most accurate and repeatable measuring technology.

At Endress+Hauser's suggestion, 10 Promass 83F Coriolis mass flowmeters were installed, linked by a Profibus DP communication network.

The Profibus network makes a wealth of additional application information (including density and temperature data) available, and significantly reduces cabling and I/O requirements.

Since Shell loads tankers by volume, these measurements can be accurately derived from the temperature-compensated density and mass flow measurements.

The Promass Coriolis flow meters also feature a self-monitoring 'health check' for optimum performance. Furthermore, they are secure and tamper-proof and account for all product transfers from the storage tanks, allowing seamless integration into Shell's inventory control system.

The key benefit of Shell's new loading system is that it supports driver-initiated loading, which significantly increases loading efficiency by eliminating the need for drivers to wait for a manual communications link-up to the pumps.

The driver simply enters a load number into a computer panel, and the order details are automatically requested. The driver's load number is then validated and the details (eg load quantity, lubricant grade) are sent for automatic loading.

This approach greatly increases process security by cutting out manual involvement. It also eliminates incorrect operation, since the pumps will not dispense if the information is not valid. Furthermore, it saves time and money by reducing the number of steps involved by 50%.

"," comments Chris Turner, E&I engineer at the Shell Lubricant Centre said driver-initiated loading had proved a real benefit all round.

"All the data provided by the Profibus network, such as diagnostic information, has helped us maintain smooth operation and system integrity and the Promass flowmeters are low-maintenance, accurate, secure and user-friendly.”

Endress+Hauser's Applicator Selection software tool at www.endress.com.au can help customers explore their level measurement options and determine exactly which Promass flowmeter solution they need.

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