The 2009 HART Plant of the Year Award was won by Mitsubishi Chemical's ethylene plant at Kashima, Japan, the HART Communication Foundation (HCF) announced in mid-December. Mitsubishi, Japan's largest chemical company, has more than 800 HART enabled field devices at the plant, integrated with its DCS and asset management systems through multiplexers and HART-enabled I/O. They provide access to real-time continuous process variables and diagnostics and enable the diagnosis of abnormal process conditions and the tracking of equipment health 24 hours a day. Estimated operational savings for the plant are running at between $20,000 and $30,000 per day. In addition, two or three device failures have been detected before they caused unplanned shutdowns, each of which would have incurred an estimated $600,000 in lost production per day with a minimum production restart time of five days. The company has designated HART as its standard communication protocol for the plant, replacing older devices with HART-enabled equivalents whenever possible.
Hard to imagine a more doom laden project than the launch of a major materials handling and industrial automation exhibition in the financial disaster area of Dubai in February 2010. No great surprise then to hear from German trade show promoter Deutsche Messe on December 16, less than two months before they were due to take place, that it was postponing the Dubai premieres of CeMAT Middle East, Industrial Automation (IA) Middle East and Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) Middle East from next month until 2011. The ostensible reason, according to the statement, is that "Due to scheduling changes and a resulting overlap of topics, the Dubai World Trade Center is no longer able to accommodate the trade fairs at the originally planned time and location," which, given the short notice, sounds at best extremely convenient if a little unlikely. It was left to Deutsche Messe board member Andreas Gruchow to put the best face he could on the decision. "In the eyes of Deutsche Messe, the United Arab Emirates, and particularly Dubai, continue to represent a key exhibition location in the medium and long term," he said. "After careful analysis, we have decided to postpone the debut of these tradeshows until 2011." All of which sounds suspiciously like the triumph of hope over experience. Perhaps Dr. Gruchow should get together with his counterparts at ISA.