Smart Relay Creates Safety & Efficiency Boom

A large oil & gas exploration company made what is expected to be one of the biggest oil and gas discoveries of the decade in the Permian region’s western part of Texas. The company began evaluating several brands of protection relays to protect their investments in pumps and motors, optimise productivity, and improve safety. After the company’s engineers tried the Littelfuse Bluetooth® Overload Relay MP8000, the company stopped its search and installed MP8000s across the oil-and-gas rich region.

Smart Relay Creates Safety & Efficiency Boom

A large oil & gas exploration company made what is expected to be one of the biggest oil and gas discoveries of the decade in the Permian region’s western part of Texas. The company began evaluating several brands of protection relays to protect their investments in pumps and motors, optimise productivity, and improve safety. After the company’s engineers tried the Littelfuse Bluetooth® Overload Relay MP8000, the company stopped its search and installed MP8000s across the oil-and-gas rich region.

The Challenge

The company was familiar with their systems going down due to electrical system issues, the remote location and loss of productivity that typical relays fail to prevent. In this region, voltage and phase issues can be incredibly problematic. The area is remote, so the system load side is not constant and can result in fluctuating voltage that can cause motors to overheat and fail. When the number of pumps in the area’s operation varies, the load on the utility changes, which causes major voltage swings. If the voltage swings too low or high, then the motor will overheat and insulation will start to burn up faster than what was expected. The company was using two components for motor protection: a thermal overload and a voltage monitor. While the engineers were aware of the pumps going down, they were in the dark about the frequency, exact cause, and time of each occurrence. In the past, contractors had to troubleshoot the pump using clamp-on amp meters. It was not uncommon for them to travel to the site to test the pumping equipment, only to learn that there were no issues.

Oil & Gas

The Solution

The company’s engineers tested products from many manufacturers. The other relays “had nowhere near the protection that the Littelfuse MP8000 has,” one of the company’s engineers said. “The Littelfuse relay was the first motor protection device they gave us to try out that had both voltage monitoring and overload protection in one, single device,” he said. “We used to have to use different devices for overload protection and phase protection and now we don’t.” After the MP8000s were installed, the company reported a 50 percent reduction in the number of calls claiming that the pump equipment was down. “The relay’s real-time data eliminated the need for assumptions about whether the equipment is functioning,” another one of the company’s engineers said.

  • Overload/Overpower
  • Underload/Underpower
  • Overcurrent /Jam
  • Undercurrent
  • Current Unbalance/Phase Loss
  • Phase Reversal
  • Overvoltage
  • Undervoltage
  • Voltage Unbalance
  • Rapid Cycling/Jog
  • Contactor Failure
  • Zero-Sequence Ground Fault
  • PTC Motor Overtemperature

The Outcome

The relay’s trip/fault history changed the number of reports because the details surrounding the “what” and “why” are tracked through MP8000, eliminating any assumptions as to whether the equipment is actually functioning. The Project Lead Engineer said “There is more accountability. The relay’s biggest benefit is that it has ethernet and allows us to plug into it from our office and see everything in the field. This has also really helped us in terms of safety because we don’t have to open the panels as much. Anytime you open the panels, you open the doors to an arc-flash hazard. But now, we are able to look through it via Bluetooth® or from our computers and we can see if there is an actual issue, what the issue is, and what we need to adjust before sending someone to the site. The MP8000 is going to save us a lot of time because it keeps a fault history with timestamps and tells us what problems there have been and how they can be resolved. This eliminates the need to put on PPE and open the panel, the time to troubleshoot and make repairs is drastically reduced. You just need to look at the data retrieved from the device to identify the trip/fault conditions. It is more efficient.”


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Alpha Coal, Queensland

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