Wireless remote monitoring of pump jack operations in oil fields

Mike Edwards   

Features SignalFire Wireless Telemetry TiltSCOUT video

A pump jack is a common sight in the oil field used to mechanically extract crude oil out of a non-self-flowing well. Ensuring pump jacks operate according to schedules is imperative to oil production.

Hundreds of thousands of existing pump jacks in North America are not instrumented and must be configured as part of a remote monitoring and control system to optimize operations.

Understanding the operational status of pump jacks at any given time is essential to maintain oil field productivity. Monitoring pump jack status without remote monitoring, however, is ineffective and costly. Retrofitting pump jacks into a wired remote monitoring system also is expensive and time-consuming.

A wired sensor control system requires cable runs from the control room to the pump jack to wire sensors into a network. The wire length between the two points could represent a significant expense. Even when considering wireless asset monitoring technology, the network must operate over wide expanses of the oil field and hardware must stand up to hazardous environments and easily integrate into existing equipment.

The SignalFire Remote Sensing System (SRFSS) offers a wireless remote monitoring and control solution that eliminates wire requirements and retrofits into existing pump jack machinery.

Instead of wired sensors, the SFRSS utilizes a TiltSCOUT as a wireless node that offers simple integration into a supervisory system like a SCADA. The TiltSCOUT magnetically attaches to the pump jack without any tools.

The patent-pending TiltSCOUT uses a three-axis sensor that continually monitors angle to detect the pump jack’s cyclical up-and-down motion to verify operations and report on/off events. The wireless inclinometer sends data to a Gateway that formats it for use at a control center for remote monitoring.

With feedback, workers can determine if a pump jack is idle to can take immediate corrective action to ensure proper operations. Modbus or digital alarming is available at the Gateway of the remote monitoring and control network, so operators can receive notifications if the pump jack stops.

This article and video was supplied by SignalFire Wireless Telemetry.

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