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September 22, 2008
Headlines from Today’s Activities
- Better Fieldbus "Control in Field" Saves Time and Headache
- Refinery Hydrogen Poses Optimization Challenge
- Simulation Workbench Reduces Start–Up Complexity, Uncertainty
- CF Industries Streamlines Procurement with Avantis
- Managing Change to Follow OSHA-PSM Standard
Better Fieldbus "Control in Field" Saves Time and Headaches
To most process control operators and technicians, "Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals," is more than an old lyric from The Who. It’s how many do their jobs, year in and year out, in a wide range of climates and in situations of varying difficulty and danger.
So saving a little precious time out there is good, and curing a few headaches is better. However, saving a lot of time and preventing many headaches is a blessing.
To that end, Invensys Operations Management today unveiled new features of its I/A Series distributed control system (DCS) that enable faster deployment of block configuration, faster device commissioning and easy set-up of control in the field (CIF) loops. It demonstrated I/A Series’ new CIF capabilities on the second day of the company's 2009 Invensys North America Client Conference this week in Houston.
"What used to be a five-day job can now be done in 15 minutes." Invensys’ Charlie Piper demonstrated new I/A Series control system capabilities designed to make it easier to deploy and manage control algorithms in field devices.
Refinery Hydrogen Poses Optimization Challenge
The planning and scheduling of resources in a refinery depend on the availability, allocation and use of hydrogen. That’s why optimization of hydrogen treat–gas systems can offer so many benefits, said Marco Andrei of ExxonMobil Research & Engineering (EMRE) at the 2009 Invensys North America Client Conference in Houston.
Why is hydrogen important in refining operations?
"It needs to meet the desired molecular specifications and to meet increasingly tight product sulfur specs," said Andrei. "Product margin upgrades are driven by the availability of hydrogen. Supply and management of hydrogen is central to optimizing the refinery run plan. Resource planning and scheduling is dependent on hydrogen."
"Hydrogen producers are disturbances or opportunities––they are things you have to live with." ExxonMobil’s Marco Andrei explored the ins and outs of refinery hydrogen flow optimization.
Simulation Workbench Reduces Start–Up Complexity, Uncertainty
Reducing risk and improving delivered system quality are the primary goals of a new package of internal tools and processes that the Invensys Operations Management global delivery team has developed and discussed at the company’s North America Client Conference this week in Houston. The new workbench tools, which already are being used in pilot projects, are designed to give more time to firm up requirements and define project data, automatically validate design before configuration, test a system throughout its life cycle and use medium–fidelity simulation for earlier operator training. It takes design information and combines it with engineering standards and automation rules, and the automation tools create the control, safety and simulation configuration.
"Automation projects face two types of challenges—the pinch and the lever," said Greg McKim, principal consulting engineer, dynamic simulation, at Invensys.
"Things aren’t quite ready when we need them." Invensys’ David James (pictured) and Greg McKim discussed how the company’s new Engineering Toolbox can help shorten the time required to develop an operator simulator.
CF Industries Streamlines Procurement with Avantis
Automating the supplier management process improves accuracy and frees up employees for more strategic initiatives, said Dave Wiedenfeld, senior architect, applications development, at fertilizer manufacturer CF Industries in Donaldsonville, La.
"We don’t do approvals on purchase orders," he said. "We do approvals on requisitions. That’s our control point. We’ve automated that to a certain extent. But if there’s anything out of tolerance, it will have to go through the manual approval. We set up all our vendors to automatically create invoices."
Speaking at the 2009 Invensys North America Client Conference in Houston, Wiedenfeld explained how CF has achieved a significant reduction in the clerical and transactional efforts required to manage its purchase catalog, primary vendors and prices.
"Supply chain management means buying stuff cheaper, better and faster." CF Industries’ Dave Wiedenfeld discussed how Avantis has freed the company’s employees to focus on more strategic activities.
Managing Change to Follow OSHA-PSM Standard
Handling changes to process applications is never particularly easy, but when safety gets involved, it’s a whole other ball game. Properly managing all the needs, variables and requirements inherent in altering any process safety system takes a calm, logical and almost obsessively methodical and well–documented approach. This is needed to overcome the uncertainties and potential dangers that can arise when high-stakes applications are maintained, repaired, updated or replaced.
"Hazards involve equipment failures, human errors, unforeseen chemical reactions or any situation that increases operating risk, such as potential deficiencies in safety management systems. Hazards can be introduced when change occurs, when modifications to a facility’s operation are made, or when replacement equipment doesn’t meet the design criteria of equipment being replaced," said Ulric Roy, Invensys Operations Management’s lead engineer for Triconex safety systems, at a presentation this week at the Invensys North America Client Conference in Houston. "Other changes occur when operating procedures are modified, site staffing changes, or a company reorganizes. Changes that aren’t carefully controlled increase operating risk and can directly cause or lead to catastrophic events."