I wanted to bring visibility to several recent comments from an earlier post, Major Difference between Foundation Fieldbus and HART Protocols. Here’s the summation thought from the first comment:
…With one software package, and as put above with HART pass-through, you can document EVERY HART instrument on site, and THEN with Plantweb, monitor the lot and see is there are problems, nip them in the bud before they become a problem. EG blocked impulse line on a DP flowmeter. How many weeks or months can go by with this problem, it takes an astute operator to pick it up.
Emerson’s Dan Daugherty, whom you may recall from earlier posts on digital communications added:
I kind of see it as something similar to the transition between using a typewriter v using a computer and printer in terms of adoption attitudes. I remember a lot of people had typewriters and the idea of having to set up and learn a computer with its ever changing software revisions seemed unnecessarily onerous. But a new generation came along knowing nothing of typewriters and is completely at home and at ease using a computer to do what was once done with a typewriter… and more.
Techs and engineers who come out of technical schools these days are not afraid of FF. It has only gotten better, and it will only get better. The dinosaurs will retire and all of this will just be a story someday.
I cannot add to Jonas’ post. I would however offer my own pareto ordering of values over 4-20ma with HART: Continue Reading ▶
Emerson’s Craig Abbott provides the analogy of your car’s fuel gauge to think about how to manage your plant assets.
If you asked a large group of people “How often do you refuel your car?” almost certainly the response would not be as simple as “every Monday morning”, nor would anyone have such a lack of planning to refill only after running dry.
Refilling a fuel tank is one of the simplest maintenance tasks we would perform on a car, essential to the vehicles operation and yet the timing of it is worked out by a complex algorithm that takes in information from the fuel gauge, today’s fuel cost, the amount of travel expected in the near future and the time it would take to refuel – perhaps taking a “pit stop” before or waiting until after that important meeting. We rarely give this algorithm a second thought, but most of us would run through it almost every single day.
In a production facility, there are numerous pieces of equipment that are essential to the continued operation of the plant. They are not critical, in that failure could cause a catastrophic event, however they are essential, so that without them, the facility could be shutdown, or have to operate at limited capacity until repairs are performed. Any delays in repairs have a financial impact over and above the actual cost of the repairs themselves.
Continue Reading ▶
Many process manufacturing, oil & gas processing, and other industrial processes were designed in an era of inexpensive energy. This has not been the case for many years now. Emerson’s Danny Vandeput has written a South African Instrument and Control article, Control the cost of energy, to highlight how technology is helping to address these higher costs.
He opens the article observing:
For some companies, energy costs now amount to over 25% of their total operating costs. At the same time, within industry there has been a greater emphasis on improving the environmental impact of production.
By optimizing energy consumption, emissions can be lowered and overall plant efficiency increased. Danny provides some areas to find energy savings:
…steam traps, compressed air stations and pressure relief valves (PRVs).
As steam flows from the boiler through the distribution network, some condensation occurs. Steam traps:
…are installed to remove condensation and enable the steam to flow freely.
Danny highlights the important role steam traps play: Continue Reading ▶
If you’re a maintenance professional or have responsibility for the reliability of your plant assets, I want to share that the Asset Optimization team is conducting a series of “Ask the Expert” webinars on the CSI 2140 vibration analyzer.
The neat part is that these webinars include customers who have put these portable vibration analyzers to use, share their experiences, and answer any questions you have. Emerson’s Drew Mackley, whom you may recall from earlier machinery health-related posts, provides an overview of the CSI 2140 and shares the webinar stage.
I wished I had shared this sooner but the first of three webinars was held yesterday.
Here’s a 1:44 excerpt from the Q&A portion of that webinar—a question addressed by Tucson Electric’s Gary Gardner: Continue Reading ▶
While integration technologies have helped bridge “islands of automation” over the years, some process manufacturers still have parts of their automated processes disconnected from the rest. Emerson’s Gary Mitchell, a senior industry consultant on the Life Sciences industry team, shares some recent experiences on bridging these islands.
I’m spending a lot of my time recently with both existing and potential customers wishing to improve operations at their legacy facilities by reducing the number of “Islands of Automation”. We use the phrase islands of automation to describe controls/systems that are not connected/integrated.
Islands of automation was a popular term used largely during the 1980s to describe how rapidly developing automation systems were at first unable to communicate easily with each other. Industrial communication protocols, network technologies, and system integration helped to improve this situation. Just a few of the many examples of helping technologies are Modbus, Fieldbus, Ethernet, etc. The term is now more appropriate to information technology, where Enterprise application integration looks to solve the problem of islands of automation in the IT field.
Whilst most pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers have automated their primary manufacturing facilities, the same cannot be said for the majority of secondary manufacturing sites. Continue Reading ▶