2009

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  • Six Sigma: What? Why? How?

    This whitepaper provides the history of the Six Sigma Symbol and explanations on the Six Sigma concept, the Six Sigma implementation, the Six Sigma calculation and more. Download this paper now.

    Product variation and defects undercut customer loyalty as well as company profits. Six Sigma is a rigorous, disciplined, data-driven methodology that was developed to enhance product quality and company profitability by improving manufacturing and business processes.

    Six Sigma uses statistical analysis to quantitatively measure how a process is performing. That process can involve manufacturing, business practices, products, or service. To be defined as Six Sigma means that the process does not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO) – which translates to 99.9997% efficiency.

    A Six Sigma defect is considered anything that can cause customer dissatisfaction, such as being outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is the total number of chances for a defect to occur.

    Six Sigma Concept

    The Six Sigma concept was developed by Motorola in 1986 with the stated goal of improving manufacturing processes and reducing product defects and variation. The underlying goal was to achieve near quality perfection with 99.9997% of variable values within specifications.

    Dataforth
    07/17/2009
  • Conformal Coated Industrial Ethernet Switch Protects Mission Critical Applications

    What is Conformal Coating and why is it important in Industrial Ethernet switches? In mission critical and harsh environments like where most Industrial hardened Ethernet switches are deployed, conformal coating acts as protection against moisture, dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes that if non-protected could result in a complete failure of the electronic system. These applications include mining, metal industries, oil & gas, military applications, chemical processing and food and beverage industries. For additional protection to address the demands of the environmental conditions, Ethernet Direct offers state-of-the art conformal coating on Industrial Ethernet switches that meets MIL-I-46058C standardEthernet networks will expand in time.

    Conformal coatings encapsulate circuit boards and their electronic components in order to prevent the ingress of moisture, fungus, dust and other environmental contaminants. After the coating is made on the switches, it provides environmental and mechanical protection to significantly extend the life of the components and circuitry to meet the challenges in severe industrial environments.

    Based on the increasing demands in various industries, customers' are deploying conformal coatings with expectations to increase the performance of the switch, ease of application, sustainability, quality, functionality, and environmental properties. All of the above expectations require special attention and procedure carried out by Ethernet Direct when manufacturing even single Industrial Ethernet switch in order to ensure that all conformal coated designed switches meet the expected standards. Ethernet Direct continuously to improve the environmental performance and offers conformal coatings Industrial Ethernet switches to enhance more specific demands in industrial applications.

    A product may suffer from degraded life and accuracy if the PCB surface comes in contact with ionic substances, making it contaminated. The ionic substances can be in the form of fingerprint or humidity. Having applied conformal coating effectively reduces the effects of mechanical stress, vibrations or temperature changes when an Industrial Ethernet switch could be installed.

    Ethernet Direct
    07/14/2009
  • The Eye for Plant Operator's Eyes

    The plant operator has an extremely valuable and important responsibility: being the force and energy managing a capital enterprise easily worth hundreds of millions of dollars to produce or impact a daily revenue stream of millions, give or take. We ask him to be ever mindful of what the plant might be doing. We ask him to be capable of finding every little problem before it grows into a big one. We ask him to shoulder the burden of everything that goes wrong during his watch, all without any recognition when nothing does, and precious little (if not actual blame) when it goes wrong and he manages to manage. Within his area of responsibility and authority he must be able to view every control loop, most sensors, most pieces of equipment, and much of the supporting utilities, and then adjust as appropriate.

    The failure to maintain situational awareness has been present in almost every disaster event that was not the result of spontaneous complete surprise. Start with the assumption that no one wants an accident. That no one would chose disaster over success. But accidents and disasters happen. We now know to a high degree of certainty that they happen because those in charge of ensuring that they do not happen, aren't aware that they are happening. They fail to know the situation. They are unaware of what is really going on, what is likely to happen, or what isn't happening that they think is. As explained in my book Alarm Management for Process Control, the solution is facilitated by effective operator interface design. Let's follow the path of interface design that can lead to better situation awareness.

    D. H. Rothenberg
    07/08/2009
  • Cutting the Cost of Flexible Operation in a Competitive Power Market

    Starting a power-generating unit involves bringing a plant from shutdown conditions to synchronization between the electrical generator and the transmission network or grid. Optimizing this process requires a careful balance which minimizes startup energy costs and limits plant damage. Traditionally, the startup of a coal-fired unit is performed manually by highly skilled operators. For RWE npower, however, an analysis of the startup methodology using the PI System from OSIsoft revealed significant variation in the company's techniques. Having identified the reasons for the variations, RWE npower then standardized and optimized the procedures to ensure that best practices were achieved for every startup.

    OSIsoft
    06/01/2009
  • The PI System Revolutionizes One Utility's Electric Transmission and Distribution Power System Data

    As with most electric transmission and distribution (T&D) companies, growth does not come without many challenges commonly faced by most large utility companies: diverse data sources in different locations with restricted access; numerous manual data retrieval processes with limited ability for people outside the control center to immediately observe what problems have occurred; and operating in an interactive environment.

    In 2003, one T&D utility implemented OSIsoft's PI System (PI) across all transmission and distribution operations. This decision dramatically changed the way the utility was able to access power system data and conduct business. Now operators, engineers, analysts, managers and executives are able to monitor real-time power system data using easy-to-configure displays with the ability to trend and analyze in real time or historical mode. PI gave the utility the ability to monitor transmission line status from the Emergency Operations Center when crises arise. Systems are now integrated, and data is provided to operations, management, planning, forecasting and regulatory compliance groups.

    OSIsoft
    06/01/2009
  • WiredCity Helps Westar Energy Keep the Network and the Power Flowing

    Westar Energy Inc. turned to WiredCity’s IT Monitor as its primary means of preventing network and system problems inside its power plant network. The decision was spurred on by Westar Energy's familiarity and satisfaction with WiredCity’s parent company, OSIsoft Inc., whose Real-time Performance Management (RtPM) Platform has had a successful track record in Westar Energy's power generation plants. In addition to improving the quality of network service and ensuring that power traders maintain critical Internet connectivity, Westar Energy discovered new uses for IT Monitor, including tracking down a virus and tuning an Oracle database, which saved a potentially costly upgrade.

    OSIsoft
    06/01/2009
  • Surface Acoustic Wave Technology-Based Temperature Monitoring of High Voltage and High Current Switchgear Boxes

    Safety is a big concern when it comes to managing power distribution systems. High voltage and high current switchgear boxes serve an important role in establishing points of control within the power distribution system. The high voltages and current flowing through switchgear boxes greatly increase the probability of electric arcing and arc blasts. An arc blast is characterized by intense amounts of heat, pressure, shrapnel and molten copper. Great strides have been made in building arc resistant switchgears, nevertheless accidents have happened and the state of technology is far from completely eliminating them. One solution to this problem is to monitor the temperature of switchgear boxes to elicit early warning signs of imminent failure. Conventional methods of monitoring switchgear temperature are expensive and not entirely effective. Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology can provide a passively powered (battery-less), wireless temperature measurement solution that is suited for switchgears. This application note explores how a SAW based solution can provide a reliable, safe and cost-effective means of monitoring switchgear temperature.

    SenGenuity
    05/27/2009
  • Public Service Electric and Gas Deploys PI System as Foundation for CMMS System

    Public Service Electric and Gas implemented the SAP PM (Plant Maintenance) system in 2000 to enhance the efficiency of its transmission and distribution equipment maintenance. While this application did improve maintenance systems, it did not provide the proactive, predictive approach to T&D maintenance that the company wanted.

    A special project was begun in 2001 to design and implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that would allow PSE&G to monitor equipment status and handle maintenance procedures using a condition-based approach rather than a calendar-based system. The PI System from OSIsoft in San Leandro, Calif., is the foundation on which PSE&G’s engineering and IT staffs created their CMMS solution. The system proposal called for a full ROI by 2005, but the system was launched in early 2002 and began delivering cost savings in its first year. It also is extending the life of aging equipment through more efficient monitoring of performance.

    OSIsoft
    05/22/2009
  • QNI Uses the OSIsoft PI System to Control Refinery Operations and Gain 41 Percent IRR in 3.5 Years

    Until a few years ago, QNI’s cobalt/nickel refinery in Yabulu, Australia, used manual process-recording methods. Process engineers found it difficult to determine the influence of variables on product quality and to generate timely reports for management. Management was frustrated by the challenges of accounting for monthly reconciled recovery, determining where losses occurred and tracking quality by batch.

    To gain control over its operations and processes, QNI needed to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Though QNI already had a functioning ABB distributed control system, it couldn’t store process data for more than three weeks — not really long enough to track production records and monitor KPIs. Faced with ISO 9001 compliance and the need to implement Six Sigma in its manufacture of high-grade nickel and cobalt products, QNI chose OSIsoft’s solution to combine production data from its six business units with their total of eight separate control rooms.

    OSIsoft
    05/22/2009
  • OSIsoft Helps the Roche Group Employ Real-Time Performance Management and Increase Operational Efficiencies

    The Roche Group maintains three types of manufacturing facilities: chemical, biotech and galenical. To sustain growth in an increasingly competitive global business environment, the company sought a technically superior information platform that would enable operational improvements in efficiency, performance, quality and compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

    Roche considered the PI System to be the best foundation to gain visibility into operational performance and enable faster response time and analysis for more cost-effective actions. As a successful global initiative, PI allows management to make more effective business decisions based on reliable and current information. Local plant management can optimize process operations to respond to real-world product demand. Operators, engineers, chemists and managers can now plan better, improve production and increase efficiency.

    OSIsoft
    05/22/2009
  • PI System Helps Methanol Producer Improve Quality and Performance, Stay Competitive

    Since 1997, the Chilean-based operations of Methanex, the world’s largest producer and marketer of methanol, have been using the PI System from OSIsoft to improve product quality. With the success of using real-time data to improve operations, the company has recently begun to implement OSIsoft’s PI System as a strategic initiative to more fully integrate and distribute operations information throughout the company for better competitive advantages.

    OSIsoft
    05/15/2009
  • OSIsoft Helps MWRA Improve Real-Time Plant Performance, Aid Boston Harbor Cleanup

    A wastewater treatment organization in Massachusetts has been implementing OSIsoft’s PI System (PI) as the core of an enterprise-wide solution. With the help of the real-time data collected and distributed by PI, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) is able to achieve real-time notification of events to the employees who need to know; real-time pricing of power in order to determine the most cost-effective approach to on-site power usage; deliver accurate and timely compliance reporting to local and federal agencies; and, perhaps best of all, play a key role in improving the quality of the environment in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.

    OSIsoft
    05/15/2009
  • Using RtPortal iViews to Reduce Energy Management Costs and Meet Conservation Goals

    The Kodak Park, located in Rochester, N.Y., is over 100 years old. The site has 1300 acres, two utility power plants, two company-owned water and waste water treatment plants, 150 buildings and 11,000 employees. The Kodak Park utility power plants have enormous generation output and demand requirements including 2,000,000 pounds per hour steam load and a 125 MW electric load.

    The site also has 600 electric distribution meters, 600 additional non-electric distribution meters and many generation site meters. The utilities systems were operated and monitored by a group of disparate building automation systems and distributed control systems.

    With such a vast energy and management system, Kodak shares many of the same concerns as regional utility companies— conservation, optimization of resources and consolidation of data from various legacy systems. Any new technology solution added to this mix had to be compatible with our well-defined information architecture requirements.

    OSIsoft
    05/01/2009
  • Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Monitors Environmental Emissions with the OSIsoft PI System

    Formed in 2001 as the result of a government initiative to create competitive subsidiaries in the power generation industry, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) needed to monitor different variables at its multiple nuclear power facilities. KHNP also wanted to actively manage the changing business conditions in Korea. There was increasing public and government concern about safety and the environmental impact of nuclear power. Residents in the towns surrounding the plants were demanding greater transparency of operations and systems. Additional requirements were to enhance the efficiency of information between facilities and integrate plant data with the company’s SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system. To solve information access and transparency problems, KNHP chose the PI System from OSIsoft.

    OSIsoft
    05/01/2009
  • Who Are Your Bandwidth Hogs

    As industrial Ethernet networks grow in number and importance, keeping the right traffic on – and off – the network becomes essential

    The use of Ethernet for industrial automation has grown dramatically. One of the main benefits of moving from legacy fieldbus to Ethernet is the ability to connect the front office to the manufacturing system. This is possible because Ethernet is not a proprietary communication protocol. The non-proprietary nature of Ethernet allows engineers to mix and match equipment from different vendors and get competitive bids. This combination of better office-factory communication and open standards helped industrial Ethernet gain recent widespread acceptance.

    But with these benefits come potential problems. As networks and the services they provide evolve and servers or user machines are replaced and upgraded, the likelihood of passing unwanted, often obsolete protocols within the network increases.

    Potentially more challenging is the existence of unknown protocols that may degrade the performance of the network. Unknown protocols are often caused by well-intended but uninformed employees who attach unauthorized devices, such as wireless access points, to the network. They can also be caused by traffic such as streaming audio from employees listening to Internet radio stations while working.

    Mara White, Fluke Networks
    04/28/2009
  • Real-Time Energy Measurement and Empowerment

    Business leaders in today’s manufacturing industries are facing a key issue, lack of visibility into plant business performance in real-time. Thus, real-time information for plant costs, production value, and contribution margin are generally not available to key decision-makers within the operation. Energy management is a key area where the lack of real-time information has a significant impact. Most companies still do not have a clear understanding of the relationship between energy consumption and the impact on real-time costs. This lack of critical information makes it difficult to make informed decisions as energy-related pricing and costs change frequently, affecting manufacturing business performance. Energy prices comprise a large percentage of variable costs in most operations. The dynamic nature of their impact on the business further confounds the situation owing to factors such as:

    - New green energy sources
    - Complex and fast changing energy market rates and metering dynamics
    - Multiple fuel-burning choices
    - New and changing environmental requirements

    During these difficult economic times, this problem is magnified and presents a significant challenge to improving efficiencies and managing environmental responsibilities. Today’s business world requires better business information of the manufacturing environment, propagated to all relevant people within the organization to enable and empower better decision-making to improve business performance. Invensys Process Systems (IPS) Real-Time Energy Measurement and Real-Time Energy Empowerment are an effective solution to this problem.

    Watch this video
    New Information and Resources on Real-Time Energy Management Solutions Now Available From IPS
    Learn how real-time energy management can reduce energy costs and consumption.

    Russ Barr, Invensys Process Systems
    04/28/2009
  • OSIsoft Helps Innovene Run More Efficiently: Analysis Framework Expands Analysis Capability

    In 2000, Innovene’s Sarralbe, France plant updated its antiquated legacy system infrastructure with the OSIsoft PI System to provide real-time and historical information. Next, the company wanted to increase operational and development efficiencies. They sought to avoid multiple manual inputs and to minimize custom application development.

    In 2004, the Innovene, Sarralbe site implemented OSIsoft’s Analysis Framework (AF) for faster application configuration to help employees analyze and optimize processes more efficiently. Innovene was impressed with the OSIsoft suite of products, and they were convinced that AF could effectively leverage the power of the new infrastructure.

    OSIsoft
    04/24/2009
  • Using Analysis Framework to Improve Decision Making and Optimize Production

    IPLOM, a privately held company, manufactures environmentally compatible fuel products. As a small player in a competitive market, IPLOM needed to manage and optimize production in a real-time environment. IPLOM also needed to demonstrate the consistency of the products in real-time in an easily accessible Web site to its customers.

    IPLOM first selected OSIsoft Sigmafine to provide mass balance yields. After one year, the company purchased the PI System and is now planning an RtWebParts implementation.

    OSIsoft
    04/24/2009
  • Integrating Manufacturing Data from the Plant Floor into SAP

    Like many companies, Janssen Pharmaceutical was implementing SAP as their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. In order to integrate manufacturing data from the plant floor into SAP, Janssen simultaneously installed the OSIsoft PI System. For the first time, financial people, who had never been able to link to the production floor, were now costing in real time. People in Operations, Engineering, Quality Assurance (QA), Environmental and Security were able to obtain multiple views from one data source, resulting in better operational visibility, process improvement and collaboration. The use of the PI System has led to better decisions and ongoing improvements such as: reduced cycle times, superior batch quality and releases, thorough incident investigations, decreased process variability, real-time costing, and better alarm management and security monitoring.

    Now, with the implementation of OSIsoft’s RtReports product, Janssen can provide QA with a tool that streamlines the validation process for faster and more accurate compliance monitoring and reporting. The reams of paper with sign-offs and manual inputs from production to QA have been replaced with a few targeted reports that include batch trends. Production is able to reduce cycle time with configurable, real-time batch performance reporting. Of significant importance to Janssen’s business evolution is that RtReports has become a major part of Janssen’s progression towards electronic batch records.

    OSIsoft
    04/24/2009
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