A Great Place to Start

A Survey of the Process Industry's Favorite First Applications for Wireless Field Networks

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Temporary Measurements

Wireless allows systems integrators and end users to install temporary instrumentation and monitors in various parts of the process to check on developments during process start-ups or turnarounds, and for troubleshooting.

Usmina's Steel Mill

Heat Tracing

Heat tracing is used in the hydrocarbon industry to keep materials in pipelines and processes at the correct temperature. Wireless makes it possible to monitor heat-tracing temperatures quite easily.

Wellhead Monitoring

Oil and natural gas wellheads typically are located in remote areas, where wiring and trenching are not practical because of long distances. Wellheads often operate unmanned, are rarely visited by maintenance personnel and are potentially hazardous. Wireless makes it possible to monitor these sites. One example is the more than 600 wireless Emerson devices currently on their way to the Morichal District oil fields of Venezuela. PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, will use the devices to monitor more than 180 wells, delivering pressure and temperature data.

“We need more reliable and accurate measurements for better wellhead control in order to increase production and meet our commitment to the government,” comments Euclides Rojas, automation and IT manager at Morichal. “Our long-term goal is to modernize more than 500 wells. Emerson’s wireless communications technology has proven itself in our rigorous field trials and is the cost-effective solution we’ve been seeking for this purpose.”

Consider a Wireless Field Network When Your Application Has…


  • Manually collected data: Wireless can eliminate the need to send technicians into the field to read gauges
  • “Must have” measurements: Environmental or safety regulations may require additional measurements. Wireless allows the easy placement of instruments where needed.
  • Need for diagnostics: Many plants have hundreds of HART-based instruments. Wireless allows access to diagnostic information in HART devices.
  • Electrical classification problems: Wireless instruments can be installed in hazardous environments more easily than wired instruments.
  • “Want to have” measurements: Wireless permits adding instruments in locations that could not previously be justified.
  • Long distances involved: Wireless can eliminate the need for long cable runs and trenching to connect tank farms and similar assets spread over a wide area.
  • Many pumps and motors: Plants often have hundreds of pumps and motors. And while continuous condition monitoring is noble in concept, wiring vibration sensors to all of them would be prohibitive. Wireless allows an easy connection.
  • Extreme environments: Hot, dangerous and/or hazardous environments make it difficult to install instruments and run wire. Wireless minimizes the problem.
  • Crowded environments: Wireless eliminates the need to snake new wires through crowded enclosures and conduit.
  • New wiring is too expensive: Installed costs of $50 to $100 per foot can make adding new wired measurement points cost-prohibitive.
  • Need for feedback: Manual valves that have no position feedback can cause safety problems. Wirelessly monitoring can cost as little as 10% of a wired solution.
  • No other way: Wireless works for mobile assets, remote sites and rotating equipment where using wired instruments is impossible or impractical.
Wireless InstrumentWhile many users choose a wireless instrument network as their first wireless project because of the high ROI, recent advances such as this new Panasonic U1 mobile operator station for Emerson’s DeltaV system, will accelerate the adoption of worker mobility applications. This ultra-lightweight, ruggedized PC is Class 1, Div 2, and includes both WiFi and cellular network connections.

INEOS Köln Prevents Unscheduled Downtime

Emerson Smart Wireless technology is enabling polyethylene maker INEOS to detect blocked filters within polyethylene pellet transportation tubes that can lead to production downtime at its plant in Cologne, Germany.

INEOSINEOS produces polyethylene, which is used for a very broad range of products including pipes, packages, films and coating. Polyethylene pellets ready for customer use are transferred to the plants’ silo store through pneumatic conveying systems. Pellets are entrained in streams of air and effectively “blown” from one location to another. The in-coming air is filtered to prevent any pollution of final product. The filters become blocked over time and lose their efficiency, which in turn affects the quality of the end product.

INEOS could have established a preventive maintenance routine and cleaned the filters on a time-based schedule. However, this could mean that filters are cleaned when they don’t need it, or that filters could block between cleanings. Cleaning and unblocking the filters requires INEOS to stop the blowing and that is not good for the process. Should a blockage take place on a weekend, the maintenance costs are higher. INEOS chose to clean the filters on a predictive basis, before they become blocked and lose too much efficiency. By closely monitoring the filter condition the maintenance team can schedule the cleaning work at a time that will minimize the cost and disruption caused.

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