How automated real-time noise map can contribute to production efficiency
1. Noise map today:
The most common instrument used for measuring noise level in plants is the handheld sound level meter. Based on the measured noise levels at different locations by the handheld sound level meter, paper noise maps which are being updated every 4 - 6 years are manually created. Actual noise levels could vary significantly between the points in time when these manual readings were made, depending on factors such as the status of the plant equipment and the time of day.
2. Challenges today:
Since paper noise maps are not able to reflect changes in noise levels each time, creating accurate noise maps is challenging, if possible, with current common practice.
However, inaccurate noise maps will affect HSE compliance, which means workers will be exposed to unexpected higher noise levels with the potential to cause critical incidents such as hearing impairments. Also, an inaccurate noise map will decrease production efficiency.
In the O&G industry, workers must comply with governmental noise regulations to ensure the daily noise exposure. The noisier the workplace, the shorter the working hours.
Together with Equinor ASA Norway, we developed a real-time noise level monitoring system. With Yokogawa’s field wireless technology expertise and Equinor’s extensive plant operations knowledge, we were able to develop the wireless noise surveillance system.
What are the issues caused by an inaccurate noise map? Let’s see what we found through our case study.
3. Case Study with Equinor:
Yokogawa and Equinor jointly conducted a field test in a specific area of an operating offshore facility. The below 2 pictures show the result of the test.
Comparing the above 2 noise maps, there are huge gaps in the sound noise level. The gaps are almost 5 dBA.
According to the noise regulations, 6 hours is the maximum number of work hours under the noise levels between 90 and 95 dBA, but it is 12 hours under the noise levels between 85 and 90dBA.
It means that you can increase the time to visit your plant up to 2,190 hours (6 hours x 365days) in a year. This might be an exaggerated estimation, but you can imagine how much you can optimize OPEX!
Due to the fact paper noise maps do not detect unexpected higher noise levels, you can easily imagine how much danger you are expected to be exposed to.
Our wireless noise surveillance system was developed not only to improve HSE issues, it also helps to find abnormal conditions of equipment in the noise map area.
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Wireless Noise Surveillance System is a real-time noise monitoring and mapping system. Monitoring the noise in real time can achieve the optimization of working time. This system also contributes to the SDGs by improving HSE of workers and ensuring acceptable noise levels in the workplaces.