It always helps to have a guide who can show you around—especially when you're one of more than 10,000 visitors trying to navigate all the innovative solutions being shown by close to 150 exhibitors at Automation Fair, presented by Rockwell Automation this week in Houston.
This mission was successfully accomplished by the event's Oil and Gas pavilion, centrally located in the exhibit hall and serving as a vital clearinghouse for oil and gas industry professionals to learn about Rockwell Automation's process control abilities and technologies. The booth provided an overview of the company’s process know-how and experience, and also directed visitors to manyother exhibits showcasing technologies in which they were interested. Some of the most popular referrals included M.G. Bryan’s cloud-enabled fracking truck, vMonitor remote monitoring solutions, SCADA for pipelines using ControlLogix PLCs, and the PlantPAx process control platform.
"We put a lot of thought and planning into the oil and gas exhibit, which coincides with the first time Automation Fair has been held in Houston, with Rockwell Automation's increased focus on the oil and gas industries, and the recent emergence of the shale gas industry," said Nigel Hitchings, Commercial Program Manager in Rockwell Automation's Oil and Gas Solutions division.
"The booth provides an excellent overview of Rockwell Automation's process control and supply chain capabilities. We're showing all the upstream, midstream, downstream and other solutions we can deliver, and then visitors can quickly focus on what they're most interested in. The goal is to bring them in, give them an overview of what we can do and then send them back out to all the deep-dive technologies on the show floor."
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Most notably, the Oil & Gas pavilion was highlighted by a full-sized process control room reproduction, including wall-sized display screens from Barco Visualization Technology. It also featured ergonomic control room furniture from EvoSite, including adjustable desks and chairs to help operators avoid stress and fatigue. The pavilion’s desktop HMIs displayed a variety of Rockwell Software FactoryTalk software solutions, such as FactoryTalk View and VantagePoint. All demonstrated the grayscale, muted colors and prioritized data that characterize today's latest human-centered design principles.
"The pavilion's control room is a model of the war rooms, command centers or centralized control rooms that can be found in process control facilities worldwide," said added Bob Ell, regional director of Rockwell Automation's Oil and Gas division in Canada. "We're also demonstrating how operations and remote monitoring data can interact with the enterprise and financial levels to help reduce costs for the overall business. These include vMonitor, which can take data from RTUs and controllers at well site or other field locations, and then distribute it via web-based SCADA or a cloud-based data center."
Besides its central control room, the Oil & Gas pavilion included four other main sections:
- The "Capabilities" area consisted of three interactive, vertical touch screens with supply-chain maps that let users navigate different industry segments, such as offshore and onshore exploration and production, oil and gas processing, pipelines and transportation, downstream refining and LNG production.
- "Subsea Control Solutions" showcased Rockwell Automation's AADvance controller, which has multiple redundancy functions and no single point of failure capabilities, so it can serve in ultra-deep, subsea settings in up to 12,000 feet of water, including short-term drilling applications running for two or three months, or long-term production applications running for 15 to 20 years.
- "Solutions and Successes" included a 6 x 20-foot, interactive, touchscreen wall, which visitors could use to call up case studies, sweep around documents, and zoom in on interesting solutions from Rockwell Automation and about 90 of its Encompass Partner, OEM, Solution Provider and other PartnerNetwork Program members with expertise in oil and gas applications and services. All of these examples are located at http://oilandgas.rockwellautomation.com.
- The "Wayfinder" section was a dedicated desk where visitors could get quick referrals to other relevant show floor locations.
"Some customers still thought we couldn't do DCS," Hitchings added. "But when they saw the Oil & Gas exhibit, they said, 'Oh, you guys really can!' And they're also acknowledging that PlantPAx does DCS and more."