Control Room of Future Headlines Honeywell Roadmap

The Operator Takes Center Stage at Honeywell Users Group Americas

By Keith Larson

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Honeywell Users Group 2013

Anchoring the morning keynote addresses at this week's Honeywell Users Group Americas 2013 in Phoenix, Ariz., was CTO Jason Urso's customary whirlwind tour of Honeywell Process Solutions' latest offerings. Continuing a Star Trek video send-up begun with last year's launch of the company's Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) Orion offering, Urso, in the guise of a certain intrepid starship captain, led the pride of Star Fleet against a project execution challenge from rival Khan.

Leveraging the capabilities of PKS Orion's Universal IO and virtualization technology, Urso and company quickly dispatched four various projects--even as Khan struggled to get a single project underway using traditional engineering approaches. Indeed, virtualization and universal IO allow end users and engineering firms to effectively decouple and streamline software application and physical system engineering tasks. Timelines are far shorter, a range of traditionally sequential tasks are eliminated altogether, and automation "is taken off the critical path," Urso explained.

Central to this year's Experion PKS Orion announcements were a range of control room solutions designed to make operators more effective in their daily tasks and decision-making. The new Experion PKS Operator Console teamed with wireless, tablet-based Mobile Station devices and large-format Collaboration Station screens enable an unprecedented level of collaborative communication and ergonomic flexibility.  Wireless tablets, for example, allow operators to change positions and move about in the control room without losing situational awareness. “In many ways, the control room of the future won’t be limited to the control room at all, and that concept is perfectly illustrated through technologies like OneWireless, because it extends the control room to the field,” explained Urso.

Also on display for the first time at HUG Americas is the company's Premium Platform blade server, which reduces server setup time by up to 90 percent, generates up to 40 percent energy savings and has 22 percent greater density than alternative virtualized server platforms. In addition, the platform has a longer lifecycle, reduced facility footprint and remote management capabilities in a package that is pre-configured, saving time to deploy.

In addition to showing these and other new whiz-bang technology advances, Urso went back to the future to demonstrate how the company will continue to bring forward the extensive installed base of older TDC 3000 systems hardware. Urso outlined a phased approach by which older network and control components will progressively "melt" into Experion over time. It's not automatic and users will need to work with Honeywell to move their systems forward, but the company anticipates that users' intellectual property investments in older TDC 3000 platforms will be supported through 2035.  "That's 50 years of life for the TDC 3000," Urso said. "We take your installed base very seriously."

And while it's hard to imagine what the state-of-the-art in process control will be 22 years from now, it's clear Honeywell Process Solutions plans to be there. With an eye on the stars, but feet firmly planted in its customers' present-day reality.

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