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V-LIM upgrade: solving the headache caused by obsolete IMD devices

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01 February 2021

Oil & gas operators are regularly faced with issues relating to obsolescence when parts of their subsea control systems need replacing. Operators usually either prefer to replace parts with like for like alternatives which fit into existing systems, or upgrade the technology to benefit from additional functionality. When critical parts become obsolete, replacement options don’t always fit the original form factor, resulting in additional installation time as well as an increase in maintenance costs and potential loss of production.

Viper Innovations were recently approached by a customer who required an upgraded Line Integrity Monitor (LIM, also known as Insulation Monitoring Device, IMD) to be installed into their controls cabinet. The incumbent supplier could only offer a device which was not a fit and form replacement and would involve significant reworking of the cabinet in order to install a device with a different shape and size. Viper Innovations were pleased to offer the V-LIM as a simple solution to this issue. The V-LIM matched the form of the original device and could easily slot into place, which meant there was no need for a complex installation or other changes to the cabinet. The V-LIM also offered the benefits of its upgraded functionality as a high-tech solution with accurate monitoring.

The V-LIM comes with the flexibility and functionality you would expect from a Viper Innovations product. As well as its advanced embedded technology providing precise and accurate readings with additional capabilities, the V-LIM also follows Viper’s obsolescence policy: any upgrades to the product will be made with backwards compatibility solutions to ensure future refits can be completed with ease and minimum disruption. The V-LIM has an additional feature built in to solve the issue of cross talk interference between monitoring devices, which is a known issue for LIM/IMD devices monitoring multiple electrical channels in the same subsea umbilical. When this feature is enabled, multiple V-LIM units can be synchronised to avoid interference between them and the need to disable or isolate other devices for accurate readings.

Additionally, V-LIM is "V-LIFE ready” – a highly advanced feature for subsea applications which is exclusively provided by Viper Innovations. V-LIFE mode can be activated on the V-LIM unit to increase the Insulation Resistance of a subsea system suffering from low insulation resistance (low IR) without the need for costly subsea intervention or risk of introducing new faults. V-LIMs can usually be installed quickly and efficiently to replace obsolete devices. However, where a V-LIM unit is not a direct like-for-like fit and form replacement, Viper can offer a range of pre-engineered interface modules which provide alternative methods to replacing obsolete equipment of different forms. Therefore, allowing customers to upgrade their existing IMD for a modern V-LIM with advanced features.