Industrial Automation Flirts with Wireless
The automation industry increasingly finds wireless attractive, and for several reasons.
- Running a wired network incurs significant labor and material costs, while wireless networks cost far less.
- Wireless offers connectivity for remote areas or areas not currently served by wired networks.
- Wireless controllers and I/O can manage devices and processes even in inaccessible areas, or areas where network wiring is difficult or impossible to install.
- And wireless can offer a way to provide proof-of-concept for a new project before incurring the expense of a wired network.
For all these reasons, automation engineers are beginning to seriously consider wireless solutions (specifically WLAN, wireless Ethernet, or Wi-Fi) for all or part of their applications.
But with all these good reasons to use wireless, several concerns remain. Among them are security, network performance and reliability, availability and cost of I/O components, and the necessity of choosing between wired and wireless solutions up front.04/23/2009
With the rising cost of energy, the use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) is growing at an increasing rate. By optimizing the frequency of a three-phase alternating-current (AC) induction motors voltage supply, a VFD controls the motors speed and torque while providing energy savings. And, these energy savings can be quite substantial 20% or more making VFDs a green solution as well as a wise money-saving investment.
However, in order to be truly green, a technology must be sustainable as well as energy efficient.04/17/2009
The need: Lower life cycle costs and better information flow. The solution: New standards offer more choices for integrating safety and process control
The specialty chemical industry is facing a number of difficult challenges, including increasingly stringent safety and compliance mandates, higher energy and feedstock prices, and aging plants and equipment all intensified by global competition. Compounding these challenges is the expanding breadth of specialty chemical product categories, forcing manufacturers to dedicate major resources and continuously innovate to maintain market share and capitalize on new opportunities.
Despite the size of the industry and the increase in worldwide demand for all types of specialty chemicals, margins must be managed closely due to rising costs, more demanding customers, and the fact that all products no matter how innovative eventually go off-patent and face stiff competition. While operating a chemical plant is tough business, opportunities exist for companies to optimize their investments and improve both productivity and their financial performance.
Risks prevail wherever people store, process or handle hazardous or toxic materials. In the specialty chemical industry, these risks are compounded because the hazard has the potential to impact a numerous of people. A spill of a toxic agent or explosion could be hazardous to a population within a plant or the surrounding area. One growing area of focus in recent years is the critical value of safety in protecting people, and helping safeguard the environment and plant assets, as well as reducing lifecycle costs.
This paper explores how changes in industry standards and technology developments are expanding how safety systems are applied in specialty chemical applications. It also examines the operational and competitive advantages driving the trend toward separate yet interoperable safety and process control platforms with common development tools. These benefits include reduced life cycle costs, expanded access to process data and improved plant-wide integration.04/17/2009
How Wireless Remote Monitoring Enables Low-Cost Data Logging and Control
Economically meeting requirements for monitoring of mobile assets and remote processes always presents project engineers a considerable challenge. While the initial requirements are reasonable, complexityinvariably emerges when the needs of all interested parties are assessed.
This is particularly the case when the asset or process consists of a small number of monitoring points. The requirements can be regulatory or economically-driven. For example, monitoring of combined sewage overflow (CSO) by water utilities meets a regulatory requirement. Compliance with mandates from agencies such as the EPA calls for monitoring of remote locations in which only a single measurement, flow or level, is taken per site.
Monitoring of vendor-managed inventory, such as a chemical level in a tank, is an economically-driven example. Again, only a single measurement, tank level or pressure, is required. Economic goals include customer satisfaction and operation of the delivery/service fleet in the most efficient manner.
Leased generators and pumps exemplify mobile assets in which, at minimum, one or two measurements are recorded. In those cases, however, requirements could grow to dozens of measurements. Customer satisfaction and optimal management and maintenance of the asset inventory are the goals.04/06/2009
Applicable Product: V1000, A1000, E7, F7, G7, and P7
(V/f Motor Control Method)
The techniques for braking of high inertial loads to a stop traditionally involved either Dynamic Braking or DC Injection Braking technology.
This article examines a new load-braking alternative called High-Slip Braking (HSB). We identify the different aspects of HSB, look at what it does, how it works, and how it is different from other braking methods. We also provide examples of real world successes, and discuss the new technologys cost effectiveness.04/02/2009
Off-line analysis of historical process data is an integral part of process optimization and production tracking. OPC helps maximize return on process history investments. OPC not only provides a standardized mechanism for collection of real time process data, it also enables multi-vendor historical analysis solutions. OPC facilitates highly scalable multi-vendor distributed historian architectures. OPC Data Access (DA) and OPC Historical Data Access (HDA) are two specifications that can be combined to solve many of the process history problems.03/30/2009
In the last few years, the cost of energy has increased many fold, this has made the measurement and management of energy a key area of activity in the industry. As the demand of energy increases world wide, the pressure on resources increases and this leads to the increase in costs. It is a simple issue of demand and supply. Even the environment is under threat due to increased release of greenhouse gasses. In the modern competitive world, tangible costs must be reduced and efficiency optimized to be competitive. Even at the recently G8, targets were set at reducing the emissions released through burning of fuels. It is amazing how we can achieve both goals of lower costs through better efficiency and lower emissions through better energy management.
This paper comments on possible ways to manage energy in a processing plant. More specifically we will concentrate on better energy measurement and increasing efficiency through benchmarking and information management. The author will also offer practical ways to reduce operational costs with small capital expenditure and thus a fast ROI.03/30/2009
This white paper discusses how appliance transaction modules enable the sharing of data for tracking and tracing applications.
Automated tracking and tracing all aspects of a product from its initial ingredients or components, through manufacturing and into the supply chain, is not only a requirement in industries such as food and pharmaceutical, it has also become a viable strategy for all businesses. From automotive and metals to appliances and consumer goods, companies rely on tracking and tracing to lower material, production, inventory, labor and scrap costs while improving customer satisfaction.
By being able to see, analyze, manage and store selected data in real-time, companies are able to make swift changes to optimize selected areas within their production capabilities. They are also able to document their processes from incoming raw materials, through production and onto the supply chain.03/30/2009
This white paper will explain the difference between traditional commercial controlled environments and harsh, industrial environments as well as the type of cabling and interconnectivity products to specify when designing networks for the later. Additionally this white paper includes information on the two popular standards for measuring and rating harsh environments, IP and NEMA.03/30/2009
The purpose of this paper is to trace the history of the development of process control, advanced process control and related applied engineering technologies, and to discuss the reasons why the industry has encountered difficulties. This paper also presents some recommendations to improve the likelihood of successful APC project implementation, and make some predictions about the future direction of the technology.03/26/2009
Electromagnetic flowmeters, also known as mag meters, are popular and proven devices for flow measurement of electrically conductive process fluids and for volumetric filling machine applications. Of prime importance to a mag meters accuracy and long term performance is the condition of the metering section of the flow sensor.
Unlike in most processes, mag meters in filling machine applications are frequently subject to widely varying conditions during normal operation. As a result, they are viable candidates for evaluating their long term performance in an accelerated use environment. Therefore PTB, a German research and approvals agency, in association with KROHNE, undertook an extensive project to study the long term measurement stability of mag meters in filling machine applications.03/24/2009
Todays businesses are struggling to find new channels for growth, improve operational efficiency, reduce the cost of energy, and provide a structure for timely decision-making. This paper proposes a framework from which management can develop an energy management strategy.03/24/2009
State Based Control is a plant automation control design based on the principle that all process facilities operate in recognized, definable Process States that represent a variety of normal and abnormal conditions of the process. State Based Control, implemented with the latest developments in object-based technologies, delivers direct benefits to its adopters in a variety of Operational Excellence categories. It results in productivity increases, higher asset utilization of both people and process, automated responses and recovery for abnormal conditions and provides an environment for knowledge capture directly into the control design.03/23/2009
A clear and realistic set of objectives goes a long way in driving continuous improvements in electrical safety. Resources can be allocated and priorities can be defined once objectives are set. The risk control hierarchy (RCH) in the ANSI-Z10 standard provides electrical safety professionals with an excellent roadmap for setting the right safety objectives that result in the reduction of electrical risks. RCH helps improve a plant electrical safety program and inspires manufactures to improve their electrical equipment designs. RCH provides a mean to measure the effectiveness of an electrical safety initiative much the same way a project management uses financial measurements to evaluate a project.03/16/2009
With the economy slowing down on a global basis, managers are reluctant to spend money or move forward on prior plans. Indeed, many companies are postponing or cancelling projects and many have begun cost cutting measures that almost always mean job eliminations.Reducing costs is a responsible management action; the goal is to protect the return on the investors equity. Video can provide a solution to many of the issues that remain, even when people are laid off or factories are closed.03/12/2009
KPIs are an excellent performance measurement tool that businesses in many different sectors employ to improve performance. The key to KPIs is finding a way to quickly gather and simply distribute the key business information without becoming beholden to large, complex databases and applications. The problem is that somewhere along the line the burden imparted by gathering and compiling month-end KPIs has become greater than the value these sometimes outdated numbers represent. How much effort, custom coding, and cost must go into compiling and communicating these measures?03/12/2009
Portal technology is invigorating todays corporate environments. The business world began to take portal technology seriously when the price to acquire start-up portal sites, such as My Space and Flickr, exceeded all anticipated market values. Today, portals are big business. Corporations ranging from SAP to Microsoft are investing millions of dollars in portal technology. New technology frameworks and architecture have changed the direction of portal solutions from recreational portals to the enterprise. Networking technology enables users to access portal-based web sites from anywhere and through any device that can connect to the internet. The purpose of this paper is to help you determine how your company can benefit from a portal environment, and from the OSIsoft suite of visualization components. For the first time, you can combine data stored in PI with enterprise systems and other data sources into easily accessible information, visible to individuals, teams, sites, and the enterprise.03/12/2009
Industrial enterprises must squeeze the most out of their assets in today's challenging business environment. The price of entry into many markets is operational efficiency plus effective, real-time reaction to changes in internal or external market conditions. Read this white paper to learn how you can boost your company's ROA by maximizing your asset performance strategy.03/12/2009
Manufacturers are under extreme pressure to increase operational efficiency as a means to increase reliability and maintain margins. Six Sigma is providing a powerful means for companies to improve performance. The use of this methodical, statistics-based approach is increasing across a range of industries. Those in the process industries are discovering the PI System can provide critical support to Six Sigma teams at every step of their effort. This paper discusses how to the PI System can support a Six Sigma initiative. QNI, an Australian minerals resource company, serves as an example.03/12/2009
Energy and information are a significant and growing fraction of manufacturing costs and require lifecycle cost management. New facilities will have to be built and operated in order to conserve resources, and existing facilities will have to be upgraded cost effectively. This is not new economics, regulation, and innovation drive business economics but today the external environment is even more dynamic and requires an appropriate response.
There is little a user can do about regulation, epoch technology breakthroughs, or market changes except monitor their effect and be prepared to change their business strategy; improved management of energy and information, however is under their control.
This white paper provides a description of the utility market, the changes that we can expect, and the reasons behind these changes. It also describes guidelines for the industrial user to develop a dynamic energy response.03/12/2009