How to make a Digital Twin of a Bowtie – Introduction

How do you turn a bowtie diagram into an online Digital Twin showing live barrier health information?

Here at Eigen, we build and deploy live data models as part of a Digital Twin for Oil and Gas facilities. One of the challenges in doing this is how to combine the physical and the abstract into a working data model. And a great example of this is the BowTie – a diagram showing all the protective measures against hazardous events and their potential consequences.

A BowTie is developed during the design phase of a facility and, when it goes into operation, there is a regulatory requirement on the operator to have a “Barrier Management Strategy*” for monitoring and maintaining the effectiveness of these safety barriers.

A simple bowtie showing the main elements
Image source: http://umich.edu/~safeche/assets/images/bowtie/bt1/generalbt.jpg

How can we make these bowties “live” during the operating phase of an asset such that the realtime health of all aspects is easily visible and understandable? How can we automate the data capture, processing and aggregation of barrier health score in a reliable and auditable way?

Simple concept of a bowtie showing the health of various barriers

In practice there are many layers to this challenge and, as can be seen from the diagram below, the information on the health and status of all the various barrier elements comes from many different systems (and some elements cannot be made live).

An example of a bowtie in practice showing the different sources of health and status information

At Eigen we have solved this challenge and our software is already live and in operation doing just this. So, as we go through the process for another customer, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of our experience.

Our Eigen Ingenuity platform architecture allows us to solve this challenge at all levels by breaking the problem down into the following three steps:

  • 1. Create a data model or Digital Twin of all the aspects – ideally integrated as an extension to a full data model of a facility
  • 2. Link this model to the systems that store relevant information on the status of objects in the model
  • 3. Define the rules aggregating the health status throughout the model, from barrier safety elements and functions all the way up to Areas, Performance Standards, Systems and Major Accident Hazards (MAH).

This 3-part blog series looks at the first of these steps – how to convert bowtie diagrams and supporting documentation into a working Digital Twin of the Safety Barriers on a facility.

*UK OGA: https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/HS071.pdf
*Norwegian PSA: http://www.ptil.no/getfile.php/1344810/PDF/BARRIERS%20memorandum%202017%20eng.pdf

written by

Murray Callander

posted on

April 21, 2021

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