Smart Wireless aperitif
As an aperitif to the main event, Emerson’s Smart Wireless Architecture launch was preceded on the previous evening by the announcement of its entry into the market for the protection of very large turbo machinery in the power generation, oil and gas, and process industries. Traditionally, monitoring systems capable of detecting the onset of the potentially catastrophic failure of these critical assets is supplied as original equipment by the machinery vendor. Emerson is, therefore, initially targeting the retrofit market among end users who, claims machinery health management marketing director, Don Marshall, are looking for tighter integration with the plant control system and want to deal with a single vendor for all their automation and instrumentation requirements. “Customers are tired of dealing with multiple vendors,” he insisted.
Emerson has been in the condition monitoring business ever since it acquired Knoxville, Tenn.-based Computational Systems, Inc (CSI). Now with the launch of the CSI 6000, it is extending its capability and its PlantWeb architecture to include industry-best-practice API 670 protection of turbo machinery which, says David Dunbar, “is a really big deal for us.” Moreover, because it integrates directly with Emerson’s DeltaV and Ovation DCSs and with its AMS Suite asset management system, Marshall is able to claim that Emerson is “the only company that offers integration direct to process control.”
As well as monitoring both relative and absolute vibration, the system can measure case expansion, differential expansion and thrust position and, integrating with the control system, allows operation of the asset to be optimized to meet the users overall performance objectives. With between 40% and 50% of all equipment breakdowns believed to be related to poor operating practice, Emerson argues that “Vibration integrated with process control becomes information.”
Rather surprisingly, however, the subsequent demonstration showed the new system integrating with DeltaV, but made no mention of the role of a safety system, such as Emerson’s own DeltaV SIS, despite the fact that vendors, such as Triconex and ICS Triplex list turbo machinery protection as one of their major areas of application.
When we put the question informally to Emerson executives after the presentation, we didn’t seem to get much more than some rather blank looks.
Honeywell ’s own rotating equipment solution
Honeywell may be in a minority of one when it comes to wireless device level networking, but it and Emerson are pretty much singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to assessing the overall importance of wireless technology and, in particular, its role in the management of plant assets. Was it, therefore, mere coincidence that, just the day before Emerson unveiled its latest offerings in Vienna, Honeywell was announcing the latest addition to the OneWireless portfolio, OneWireless Equipment Health Monitoring or EHM?
This is a compact, eight-channel, 4 x vibration, 4 x 4-20mA device designed to transmit complete spectral and operating parameter information from the field to the plant control room over the OneWireless industrial mesh network. Data on acceleration, velocity, temperature and bearing condition is delivered to process operators and maintenance personnel to alert them to any equipment problems, providing a cost-effective and efficient alternative to manual inspection of rotating equipment such as pumps, compressors and motors. “Wired equipment instrumentation solutions provide effective condition monitoring, but the equipment and installation costs may be impractical, and the few wireless alternatives are very limited in functionality and the information they provide,” said Honeywell Process Solutions global wireless business director Jeff Becker. “OneWireless EHM provides all the information needed to pinpoint problems before equipment failure. It acts as another set of eyes in the field and helps technicians better anticipate maintenance and avoid downtime.”
The Honeywell solution is claimed to include everything necessary to capture and analyze equipment health information, including data acquisition equipment, database management software and installation services. The software can deduce probable bearing defects, misalignment, pump cavitation and impeller wear, and translate the data into alarms that can be configured to appear in the plant’s DCS and in Honeywell’s own asset management platform. Installation on a pre-installed OneWireless network is said to take less than four hours.
Honeywell is also offering OneWireless EHM starter kits, containing everything necessary wirelessly to monitor between four and eight plant assets, depending on individual facility needs.
Effective manufacturing IT gives users 2:1 advantage
MES or, as he would prefer it, MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management) guru, Dennis Brandl, was in London last month to deliver the keynote at what is becoming the IET’s annual event devoted to plant-floor-to-enterprise integration. Despite being the editor of the ISA 95 enterprise/control system integration standard and the chairman of both its IEC/ISO JWG 5 cousin and of the ISA 88 batch control system standard, Brandl’s message is that, while the current cycle of the continuous improvement in manufacturing productivity, which he traces back the stone age, is being driven by IT, the secret is that “It’s not the ‘T,’ it’s the ‘I’.” While Moore’s law – computing power per unit cost doubles every two years – has been and continues to be the enabler, Metcalfe’s law – the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users – is the key.
Broadly, says Brandl, the more you share information, the more valuable it is, but it must be the right information, shared at the right time, with the right people. To be valuable, information, or what Brandl defines as the combination of data and context, must be reviewed, analyzed and verified. More important still, it has to be found – 80% of knowledge workers’ time, it is estimated, is spent looking for information which is known to exist somewhere. So much of the work of the various standards bodies and committees feeding what will eventually be IEC 62264 and which finds its practical expression in what Brandl describes as the de facto standard, WBF’s B2MML (Business to Manufacturing Mark-up Language), has been devoted to defining what the right information is and how it is to be to exchanged consistently across the entire spectrum of manufacturing.