Process News from Across the Pond

Here are excerpts from the September 2007 issue of Andrew Bond’s Industrial Automation Insider, a monthly newsletter covering the important industrial automation news and issues as seen from the U.K.

By Andrew Bond

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Perhaps surprisingly, Iconics makes no mention in its announcement of the enhanced security offered with Vista, which was the principal reason for achieving certification cited by the first SCADA vendor to do so, Copa-Data.



ISASecure regime moves a step closer

Following repeated calls for an independent body to establish standards and a compliance regime for industrial cyber security, ISA has announced plans to establish a Security Compliance Institute. The move follows a meeting between the ISA-sponsored Automation Standards Compliance Institute (ASCI) and an ad hoc group of influential asset owners and suppliers of industrial automation technology and services in May of this year which set out a program aimed at facilitating independent testing and certification of control system products to a defined set of control system security standards.

The program would use existing control system security industry standards where they were available, develop or facilitate the development of interim standards where they aren’t, and adopt new standards as they become available. To that end it would aim to accelerate the development of industry standards that can be used to certify that control systems products meet a common set of security requirements.

An important aim of the program is to allow control systems products to be integrated securely with the ultimate goal of pushing conformance testing into the product development life cycle so that the products are more intrinsically secure. A well-designed and managed product security certification process would reduce the cost and time expended by asset owners in product selection and deployment and reduce time to market and development and integration costs for vendors and integrators.



Key differentiator

Standards bodies and government agencies would also benefit from better, field-tested standards that were clearly being followed by industry. “The ISASecure designation that is expected to arise from the effort will identify and promote security standards conformant products and systems,” said ASCI managing director Andre Ristaino. “Certification provides the formal recognition of a product’s conformance to an industry standard security specification, creating a key differentiator for the product.”

ISA is currently circulating a membership prospectus summarizing the scope of the program, member benefits and member commitments. It specifically solicits Founding Strategic Members to provide strategic direction and funding. Membership applications must be submitted by September 1. The 21-month launch plan envisages conformance certifications starting in June 2009.



ABB claims first with fully integrated PAT solution

Industrial IT for Process Analytical Technology (IIT for PAT) is ABB’s response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s draft version of its “PAT—A Framework for Innovative Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Quality Assurance” guidance first issued in 2003. The FDA and industry groups have been promoting PAT with the aim of moving pharmaceutical manufacturing from low- to high-efficiency; from high- to low-cost; and from quality by testing to quality by design. “The aim is to focus on the process rather than the end product,” explained Thomas Buijs of ABB’s pharmaceutical center of excellence.

PAT would also lead to improved automation and operator safety, reduced product rework and waste, real-time release of product and continuous improvement. However, adoption of the concept by the life-science industries has been frustrated by a lack of technology which will consistently integrate the different analytical techniques used in pharmaceutical manufacture with automation systems.

IIT for PAT provides a single configurable and scalable system that will collect data from any vendor’s analytical instruments and analyze the data to determine the actual condition of the process. It then passes the resulting information to the control system, which adjusts its outputs to improve or optimize the process. Because the solution is scalable, life-science companies can apply it within a development environment and then scale up to the production plant. Similarly, it can be applied to a single process unit, such as a dryer, or scale up to the full production facility.


ABB is also providing consultative services and engineering expertise to help users to interpret the FDA initiative and to identify the benefits of using PAT, validation and business expertise to aid the cooperation between the different departments, such as quality control, validation, automation and chemistry. It claims that IIT for PAT can reduce cycle times by up to 40%, cut production costs by as much as 30%, increase right-first-time production levels from 90 to 99.9% and reduce by half the non-value-added time and costs involved in laboratory testing and paperwork. In addition, it claims improved production consistency, reduced inventory and lower costs and regulatory issues in upsizing from laboratory to full-scale production and the ability to change purely batch processes into continuous manufacturing processes.

ARC’s Maurice Wilkins describes IIT for PAT as “the world’s first fully integrated PAT solution,” adding that its flexibility and architecture “allows customers to easily integrate it into new or existing processes to achieve the benefits that have been promised by PAT,” while ABB’s Thomas Buijs claims that it will “enable customers to change the way pharmaceuticals are made.”



Emerson’s order book emphasizes Asian impact

The degree to which China and the Far East are coming to dominate process automation vendors’ order books is emphasized by the latest clutch of announcements from Emerson Process Management. Top of the list is the company’s selection to automate digitally what is claimed to be the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals project ever undertaken in China, the Fujian Refining and Ethylene Joint Venture Project in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, which is scheduled for start-up by 2009.

Emerson’s involvement follows its completion last September of front-end engineering and design and includes project management, engineering, integration, testing, commissioning and other site services, all handled out of its Pudong, Shanghai, facility. It will also act as Main Instrument and Controls Contractor (MICC).

The project is a joint venture between Fujian Petrochemical Company Limited, itself a 50/50 venture between Sinopec and Fujian Province, ExxonMobil China Petroleum and Petrochemical and Saudi Aramco Sino, with Fujian’s involvement 50% and each of other two 25%. It will expand existing refining capacity from 80,000 to 240,000 barrels per day and add new petrochemical facilities including an 800,000-tons-per-year ethylene steam cracker, an 800,000-tons-per-year polyethylene unit, a 400,000-tons-per-year polypropylene unit and an aromatics complex to produce 700,000 tons per year of paraxylene together with a 300,000-tons crude berth and associated utilities.

DeltaV x 8

Emerson’s PlantWeb installation will include eight DeltaV systems, AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager software, SIS, fire and gas systems, Rosemount pressure and temperature transmitters and Fisher digital valve controllers.

Meanwhile in Zhuhai, China, Emerson has been selected as main instrument vendor for BP’s Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) plant expansion and will again handle the project from its Pudong, Shanghai, Chemical Centre of Excellence. The PlantWeb installation will include Rosemount measurement and analytical instrumentation, Micro Motion Coriolis flow and density meters, Fisher control valves with FieldVUE digital valve controllers and DeltaV, the last running Emerson’s Advanced Control Suite comprising DeltaV Insight, Inspect, Tune, Fuzzy, Neural and Predict Pro. DeltaV SIS will be installed on an independent network, with diagnostics communication to the process systems.

And still in the Far East, Emerson has been selected as main instrumentation vendor for Lucite International’s methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant currently under construction in Singapore and scheduled to begin operation in 2008. The plant will be the first to utilize Lucite’s patented Alpha technology which is set to end the MMA industry’s historical dependence on scarce acetone, HCN and isobutylene, instead using readily available ethylene, methanol and carbon monoxide. The Singapore plant is the first in a series of Alpha-based production facilities which Lucite plans to build around the world. Emerson’s contribution will include SIS and plant and laboratory information management systems.

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