Topic: Asset Management
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White Papers: In Depth Research
Wireless Technology in Industrial Automation
The use of wireless technology in industrial automation systems offers a number of potential benefits, from the obvious cost reduction brought about by the elimination of wiring to the availability of better plant information, improved productivity and better asset management.
However, its practical implementation faces a number of challenges: not least the present lack of a universally agreed standard. This white paper looks at some of these challenges and presents the approach being taken by Yokogawa.
In order to understand the ways in which wireless technology can aid the implementation of industrial automation systems, it is first important to clarify what is meant by the word 'wireless' in this context.
Download this white paper to learn more.
Field Device Integration (FDI): Making Device Management Easy
Author: Larry O'Brien, Fieldbus Foundation
End users have struggled with different forms of device integration technology over the years, but the FDI effort aims to rationalize the worlds' leading technologies for managing information from intelligent field devices. With FDI, managing the flood of information from today's intelligent devices will get much easier. FDI will allow users to focus on how to best use their applications instead of worrying about how everything will connect together. FDI also means reduced development costs for device and system suppliers.
The installed base of fieldbus devices and indeed all intelligent field devices continues to grow significantly. As any experienced user will tell you, however, intelligent devices can pose an information management problem, especially when you have devices on different networks with different underlying technologies for displaying and managing information.
Historically, the two primary technologies used for presenting and managing information from intelligent devices are FDT and EDDL. Both technologies are complimentary in some ways and overlap in other ways. Many in the industry felt that rationalizing the two technologies to form a single solution would be a good idea, particularly since all the major suppliers support both FDT and EDDL technology. This was how the Field Device Integration (FDI) project was born.
FDI activities continued, but were somewhat sporadic, until 2011, when all of the five major technology foundations, including FDT Group, HART Communication Foundation, OPC Foundation, Profibus International and Fieldbus Foundation signed an agreement to form FDI Cooperation LLC, a company dedicated to seeing through the development of the FDI specification its associated development tools, and product testing and registration.
The real goal of FDI is to make life easier for the end user. FDI promises a common set of development tools and a single path to managing the flood of information from intelligent devices across different networks to the applications and ultimately the people that need it. It offers standardization, transparency, and, ultimately, reduced cost. The Fieldbus Foundation is committed to the long-term success of FDI.
Alarm Management and Graphics Projects. Pros and Cons
Author: Ian Nimmo
No doubt everyone who has a DCS has encountered alarm management issues and User Interface overload. Why is that you may ask? Well, DCS arrived in a market place that had enforced restrictions of alarms due to physical space limitations and an instrument panel that allowed pattern recognition of process changes. To do anything with raw alarm was almost impossible; the only feature found in the electro-mechanical alarm annunciator box was first-up alarm indication and the ability to suppress the alarm by removing the electronics from the box.
Although a lot of alarm management projects start and fail due to poor understanding of the scope of the probelm, lack of resources or money, loss of momentum, and no identifiable return on investment, the real key to success is to establish responsibility.
Augment Your Staff: Gain Agility and Expertise Through Flexible Staffing
Author: Maverick Technologies
For many process plants, there are three distinct tasks with respect to their control, instrumentation and information systems -- otherwise known as the automation system. The first task category is operations. and maintenance. The plant must be kept up and running with minimal downtime, with maintenance, performed as needed.
The second task includes continuous improvements. The existing automation system must be made to increase throughput, reduce downtime, cut energy costs, improve quality and make other enhancements to the production processes. These improvements are necessary to stay competitive in worldwide markets, and firms that neglect this task will fall hopelessly behind.
Third, capital projects must be planned and executed for a variety of reasons, from adding capacity to regulatory compliance to changing the range of products produced. In many process plants, operations and maintenance tasks can consume all the available automation professional man-hours from on-site staff, leaving little or no time for continuous improvements and capital projects. In the worst cases, many plants find it difficult to recruit and maintain even the minimal staffing required for operations and maintenance.
There are two possible approaches to address these staffing issues. The first is to add more permanent staff at the plant level, and the second is to seek assistance from an outside service provider such as a systems integrator -- also known as staff augmentation or outsourcing. Adding permanent staff can be problematic at many process plants for a number of reasons as explained below.
As detailed in a recent Control magazine cover story, demand for experienced automation personnel relative to supply is at an all-time high by many indicators. A quote from the article illustrates the point.
"The demand for process automation professionals is high, and the talent pool is small and shrinking," said Alan Carty, president of recruiting firm Automationtechies in Minneapolis. "Systems integrators, end users and process control product manufacturers are all seeking these people. I've been recruiting for 12 years, and I feel that current demand relative to supply is at an all-time peak."
Exacerbating the situation, many process plant managers have trouble recruiting workers to their. specific locales, which are almost always far from the urban areas favored by many automation, professionals, particularly recent graduates.
Another significant issue primarily affects staffing for plant automation operations and maintenance positions, and that's the requirement for 24/7/365 support. When faced with the choice between working regular hours versus being on-call around the clock -- including weekends and holidays - many automation professionals, opt for the former.
Even if these problems are overcome with sufficient staffing for operations and maintenance, providing sufficient personnel for continuous improvement and capital projects remains an issue.
This task in particular often requires specialized skills that existing plant operations and maintenance staff may not possess. Furthermore, many continuous improvement projects and larger capital projects often require relatively high staffing levels for implementation, then much lower staffing levels for ongoing operations and maintenance.
- It monitors flow, temperature and density
- Siemens’ Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) enables users to develop and commission automation systems quickly and intuitively, which eliminates the traditional integration of separate software packages
- The OPC Universal Connectivity Server allows vendors and OEMS to provide secure connectivity to every major control system and application on the market.
- Software helps improve plant reliability by ensuring field workers adhere to best practices and keep assets running within safe operating limits.
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