2010

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  • Improving SCADA Operations Using Wireless Instrumentation

    The purpose of this paper is to explore the particular ways in which operators can tightly integrate wireless instrumentation networks with SCADA and realize.

    Integrating wireless instrumentation with SCADA systems can drive operational efficiency and reduce deployment costs.

    The use of wireless instruments in pipelines and gas production operations has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Driven by cost cutting measures and the need to gain more operational visibility to meet regulatory requirements, wireless instruments eliminate expensive trenching and cabling while providing access to hard-to-reach areas using self-contained, battery-powered instruments. However, SCADA engineers and operators are facing the challenge of integrating wireless instrumentation networks with other communication infrastructure available in the field. Managing and debugging dispersed wireless networks presents a new level of complexity to field operators that could deter them from adopting wireless instrumentation despite the exceptional savings.

    This paper will look into the particular ways in which operators can tightly integrate wireless instrumentation networks with SCADA and realize the full benefits of such an integrated solution.

    Control Microsystems
    06/29/2010
  • Application Considerations for Continuous Level and Inventory Monitoring of Powder and Bulk Solids

    Continuous level measurement is about one thing, e.g. answering the question "how much stuff do I have". There are many applications where you need to know how much material is in a bin, silo or other vessel type. Usually the desired engineering unit is expressed in terms of volume or weight. "Measuring" volume or weight is not always the most practical approach, sometimes it isn't even viable. Take those silos you have, how do you weigh the ingredients if the silos weren't installed with load systems? Not an easy or inexpensive question to answer. So what do we do? This is where continuous level measurement sensors and systems come into play and offer a viable and cost effective approach.

    The purpose of this white paper is to discuss and inform about the application considerations when you need to measure the level of material continuously or simply determine on a continuous basis how much stuff you have in your vessels.

    BlueLevel
    07/20/2010
  • One Code to Save Millions: ASME Codes and Standards Guide Dominion in Efficiency, Cost Savings and Safety

    In order to stay on track with technology and provide the safest and most efficient working environment at Dominion's nuclear power plants, Dominion follows the codes and standards developed by ASME. ASME's mission is for its Standards & Certification organization "to develop the preeminent, universally applicable codes, standards, conformity assessment programs, and related products and services for the benefit of humanity." These codes and standards have a significant impact on the industry and save companies millions of dollars per year as well as assist in accident prevention and the development of more efficient production and operational practices. This case study illustrates how ASME has helped Dominion become more efficient, increasing cost savings and improving safety measures.

    ASME
    03/25/2010
  • Plant Modeling: A First Step to Early Verification of Control Systems

    Today's control system engineers face competing design demands: increase embedded system performance and functionality, without sacrificing quality or breaking the budget. It is difficult to meet these challenges using traditional design and verification approaches.

    Without simulation it is impossible to verify a control design until late in the development process when hardware prototypes become available. This is not an insurmountable problem for simpler designs with predictable system behavior, because there are fewer sources of error in simpler control algorithms--and those errors can often be resolved by tuning the controller on the hardware prototype.

    Today's multidomain designs combine mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, control, and embedded software components. For these systems, it is no longer practical to delay verification until late in the development process. As system complexity grows, the potential for errors and suboptimal designs increase. These problems are easiest to address when they are identified early in the development process. When design problems are discovered late, they are often expensive to correct and require time-consuming hardware fixes. In some cases the hardware simply cannot be changed late in the development process, resulting in a product that fails to meet its original specifications.

    Traditional verification methods are also inadequate for testing all corner cases in a design. For some control applications, it is impractical or unsafe to test the full operating envelope of the system on hardware.

    Arkadiy Turevskiy, Technical Marketing Manager, The MathWorks
    03/02/2010
  • ISA100 and Wireless Standards Convergence

    ISA100 is one of three standards competing in industrial wireless sensing. What is distinctive about ISA100? What are the prospects for convergence of standards? What would convergence be worth to the industrial wireless market?

    ISA100 is a major standards initiative managed by the International Society of Automation (ISA). In addition to standards development, a new organization, the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI), is charged with delivering compliance certification services for the work of ISA100.

    The ISA100 committee establishes standards, recommended practices, technical reports, and related information for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment, with an initial focus on the field level. Given the committee's broad scope, they have formed a number of working groups to pursue specific tasks. The primary deliverable from the Committee thus far is the standard ISA-100.11a, "Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications". However a quick glance at the list of working groups shows that several other topics will be addressed by future ISA100 deliverables.

    In 2006, at about the same time ISA100 was forming, the ISA also created the non-profit Automation Standards Compliance Institute (ASCI). This organization manages certification, conformance, and compliance assessment activities in the ISA's automation domain.

    ASCI extends the standards work of ISA by facilitating the effective implementation and independent testing of ISA standards. It creates a vital link between the development of standards and industries' implementation of the standards. The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) functions as an operational group within ASCI. Operating the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute within ASCI allows it to leverage the infrastructure of ASCI, which in addition to WCI, is shared by several ASCI compliance programs.

    ARC Advisory Group
    11/22/2010
  • An IT Perspective of Control Systems Security

    Enterprises with industrial operations typically utilize at least two types of computer networks – Information Technology (IT) - a network that supports enterprise information system functions like finance, HR, order entry, planning, email and document creation; and Operational Technology (OT) - a network that controls operations in real-time. This second type of network supports realtime or control system products, generally referred to as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distributed Control Systems (DCS), Energy Management Systems (EMS) or Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), depending on the industry.

    There has been much discussion and debate around the convergence between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). In an effort to provide better visibility and information flow between revenue generating OT assets and enterprise applications, these systems have often been interconnected, in many cases without properly securing the control systems from cyber attack first. If the IT and OT networks are interconnected, yet not properly secured, a breach to one network can easily transverse to the other, leaving the entire computing infrastructure at risk.

    At first glance, interconnected IT and OT networks appear to share similar technologies and so a common approach to cyber-security might be indicated. However, upon deeper inspection, many important differences in IT and OT networks will be revealed. The unique characteristics of OT systems and networks preclude many traditional IT enterprise security products from operating safely without impairing operations, and when introduced, can provide significant disruption and downtime to these real-time, revenue generating assets.

    This paper is intended to educate IT professionals on the unique requirements of operational technology and what is required to properly secure these networks from cyber attack, so that organizations can assure security, reliability and safety of information and revenue generating assets.

    Learn more about Industrial Dedender

    Andrew Ginter, ISP, CIPS, CISSP, Chief Security Officer, Industrial Defender, Inc.
    02/26/2010
  • An Analysis of Whitelisting Security Solutions and Their Applicability in Control Systems

    Whitelisting is described by its advocates as "the next great thing" that will displace anti-virus technologies as the host intrusion prevention technology of choice. Anti-virus has a checkered history in operations networks and control systems – many people have horror stories of how they installed anti-virus and so impaired their test system that they simply couldn't trust deploying it in production.

    While anti-virus systems detect "bad" files that match signatures of known malware, whitelisting technologies identify "good" executables on a host and refuse to execute unauthorized or modified executables, presumably because such executables may contain malware. This is a least privilege approach of denying everything that is not specifically approved.

    In this paper the Industrial Defender team performs an independent analysis of a variety of whitelisting solutions for their applicability to control systems. The paper closes with some recommendations related to this technology and areas for further research.

    Lear more about Industrial Defender

    Andrew Ginter, ISP, CIPS, CISSP, Chief Security Officer, Industrial Defender, Inc.
    02/26/2010
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