One of the problems I have with multiple tracks is that I haven't invented a cloning process yet... Of course, if I ever do figure out how to clone myself, I won't be working here any more (grin). So the problem remains, how to cover two or more presentations that are going on simultaneously. So here's a sample of the presentations going on this afternoon:
PlantTriage Installation at Gas PlantMayankumar Shah, from RasGas in Doha, Qatar, presented the application of a PlantTriage system at a natural gas plant in the Middle East. Over 400 control loops were monitored, and specific issues with the equipment and tuning were identified. Oscillation detection was used to identify the root cause of a major process cycle. Shah's presentation discussed the methods used, and the key benefits from the installation.
Techniques to Improve OPC ConnectivityJohn Weber from Software Toolbox gave a fascinating tutorial on key subjects for OPC Connectivity: tunnelling, scripting, bridging, aggregation, etc. He pointed out that there are a number of OPC Server vendors and they each have strong and weak points. He even talked about using Excel to aggregate data from OPC ("Ding Dong, the Witch is dead!-- the patent business is over). He provided some OPC Usage Best Practices. First, evaluate and select your OPC server,configure your OPC server, test with a test client, validate values, know what you need and how often, and then bring in PlantTriage. Tags in the OPC server when the HMI client expect/wants you to. There are plenty of reasons not to tag. You CAN pass through PLC addresses directly. Most OPC DA servers are smart enough to understand that syntax. Weber also talked about OPC UA... it ain't ready yet, but it will be...
Alarm Basics for Advanced AlarmingDavid Strobhar, of Beville Engineering talked about the Holy Grail. The "holy grail" of alarm management is to automatically vary alarm parameters based upon the state of the process. Alarm trip-points, priorities, and even alarming of specific conditions would change as the plant moved from steady state to upset to shutdown to startup. However, prior to making this happen, the base alarm system must meet the principles of good alarm system design. The path to the hold grail is through a well designed and and maintained basic alarm system. An example of a simple progression from an unmanaged alarm system to a partial state-based alarm system was described. Problems in applying state-based techniques to an alarm system that has not meet the basics in alarm management were delineated. Causes and pitfalls in achieving a good base alarm system were discussed, and next steps in managing alarms for a state-based approach were listed.
Documenting the Financial Impacts of Performance ImprovementExpertune's George Buckbee talked about making dollars and cents. You must show the value in economic terms. You have to move from abstract to concrete measures, because the work is not "nice to do" but it really delivers profits. Many things are important in Manufacturing Reality:
- maintenance costs
- energy costs
- Close the opportunity gap
- reduce waste and scrap
- reduce unplanned downtime
- reduce maintenance costs
- improve process efficiency