1-20 of 30 < first | prev | | last >
  • 1 Gigabit Industrial Ethernet Field Network Delivers Determinism and Accommodates 10/100/1000 Mb TCP/IP Field Devices

    The continuing drive to improve productivity will encourage more automation networking. The driving factors behind this expected growth include lean working, increased traceability legislation, product lifecycle management production (PLM), and improvements in manufacturing cycle times. This requires connecting the factory floor to the corporate offices where enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems make information available backwards into the supply chain, as well as forward to customers. Simply put, everyone wants to see what's happening. As a result, networks and the information they handle are becoming as important as the industrial control functions they manage.

    This white paper describes the open CC-Link IE Field network, an Industrial Ethernet technology, which operates at 1 Gigabit/sec. This data rate is 10 times faster than other Industrial Ethernet technologies in order to provide highly responsive control system communications, while at the same time allowing connection to field devices (RFID readers, vision systems, etc.) that have TCP/IP Ethernet ports communicating at slower 10Mb or 100Mb data rates.

  • A Systematic Approach To Plantwide Control

    This paper summarizes Sigurd Skogestad's struggles in the plantwide control field.

    A chemical plant may have thousands of measurements and control loops. By the term plantwide control it is not meant the tuning and behavior of each of these loops, but rather the control philosophy of the overall plant with emphasis on the structural decisions. In practice, the control system is usually divided into several layers, separated by time scale.

    My interest in this field of plantwide control dates back to 1983 when I started my PhD work at Caltech. As an application, I worked on distillation column control, which is excellent example of a plantwide control problem. I was inspired by Greg Shinskey's book on Distillation Control, which came out with a second edition in 1984 (Shinskey, 1984). In particular, I liked his systematic procedure, which involved computing the steady-state relative gain array (RGA) for 12 different control structures ("configurations"); the DV-configuration, LV-configuration, ratio configuration, and so on. However, when I looked in more detail on the procedure I discovered that its theoretical basis was weak. First, it did not actually include all structures, and it even eliminated the DB-configuration as "impossible" even through it is workable in practise (Luyben, 1989). Second, controllability theory tells that the steady-state RGA by itself is actually not useful, except that one should avoid pairing on negative gains. Third, the procedure focused on dual composition control, while one in practise uses only single end control, for example, because it may be optimal economically to use maximum heating to maximize the recovery of the valuable product.

    Sigurd Skogestad, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • Analysis of the ICONICS GENESIS Security Vulnerabilities for Industrial Control System Professionals

    A number of previously unknown security vulnerabilities in the ICONICS GENESIS32 and GENESIS64 products have been publically disclosed. The release of these vulnerabilities included proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code.

    While we are currently unaware of any malware or cyber attacks taking advantage of these security issues, there is a risk that criminals or political groups may attempt to exploit them for either financial or ideological gain.

    The products affected, namely GENESIS32 and GENESIS 64 are OPC Web-based human-machine interface (HMI) / Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. They are widely used in critical control applications including oil and gas pipelines, military building management systems, airport terminal systems, and power generation plants.

    Of concern to the SCADA and industrial control systems (ICS) community is the fact that, though these vulnerabilities may initially appear to be trivial, a more experienced attacker could exploit them to gain initial system access and then inject additional payloads and/or potentially malicious code. At a minimum, all these vulnerabilities can be used to forcefully crash system servers, causing a denial-of-service condition. What makes these vulnerabilities difficult to detect and prevent is that they expose the core communication application within the GENESIS platform used to manage and transmit messages between various clients and services.

    This White Paper summarizes the current known facts about these vulnerabilities. It also provides guidance regarding a number of possible mitigations and compensating controls that operators of SCADA and ICS systems can take to protect critical operations.

    Learn more about Tofino at www.tofinosecurity.com/blog

    Eric Byres, P. Eng., ISA Fellow, Joel Langill, CEH, CPT, CCNA, Tofino Security | SCADAhacker.com
  • Buyer Beware: SPD and UL Markings? Are You Buying or Selling the Right Product

    Significant changes have taken place regarding Surge Protection Devices and UL 1449. With the changes has come different product marking requirements to identify those testing and product changes. Manufacturers of SPD equipment have long been testing to UL 1449 but only recently have such significant changes taken place regarding a whole product categories testing and performance.

    An updated UL 1449 standard was released titled UL Standard for Safety for Surge Protective Devices, UL 1449 Third Edition, and was dated September 29, 2006. The result was that all manufacturers were required to retest their SPD products to ensure compliance before 9/29/2009.

    The easiest way to notice a new SPD product versus an older product that still may be in inventory is the new gold UL holographic label on the product. The new label must have the SPD and not TVSS which was used during the later part of UL 1449- 2 edition.

  • Calibrating Temperature Instruments

    The most commonly and most frequently measurable variable in industry is temperature. Every temperature measurement is different, which makes the temperature calibration process slow and expensive. While standards determine accuracy to which manufacturers must comply, they nevertheless do not determine the permanency of accuracy. Therefore, the user must be sure to verify the permanency of accuracy. If temperature is a significant measurable variable from the point of view of the process, it is necessary to calibrate the instrument and the temperature sensor.

    Download this white paper to learn how to calibrate temperature instruments and why this is so important.

  • Cloud Instrumentation, the Instrument Is In the Cloud

    A short bit of history helps to understand why the cloud instrumentation development is so significant.

    The first created instruments, let us call them traditional instruments, are of standalone or box format. Users connect sensors directly to the box instrument front panel, which contains the measurement circuitry and displays the results. Initially it was on analog meters and later with digital displays.

    In many cases, test engineers wanted to have instruments communicate with each other, for instance in a stimulus/response experiment, when a signal generator instructs a digitizer when to start taking samples. This was initially done with serial links, but in the 1970s the Hewlett Packard Interface Bus, which evolved into today's IEEE-488 interface, became extremely popular for connecting instruments.

    The next major breakthrough in measurement technology came with the availability of desktop computers, which made it more cost effective to run test programs, control instruments as well as collect data and allow test engineers to process and display data. Plug-in IEEE-488 boards allowed minicomputers and later PCs to perform these tasks.

    Today such interface cards are often not needed thanks to instruments that communicate with PCs directly over USB or the Ethernet, and most recently even over wireless Ethernet schemes.

    Marius Ghercioiu, President of Tag4M at Cores Electronic LLC
  • Cloud-Based SCADA Systems: The Benefits and Risks

    Is Moving Your SCADA System to the Cloud Right For Your Company?

    Cloud computing is a hot topic. As people become increasingly reliant on accessing important information through the Internet, the idea of storing or displaying vital real-time data in the cloud has become more commonplace. With tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google pushing forward the cloud computing concept, it seems to be more than just a passing trend.

    Recently the focus of cloud computing has started to shift from consumer-based applications to enterprise management systems. With the promise of less overhead, lower prices, quick installation, and easy scalability, cloud computing appears to be a very attractive option for many companies.

    Common questions surround this new technology: What is the "cloud"? What kind of information should be stored there? What are the benefits and risks involved? Is moving toward cloud computing right for your company?

    Cloud computing is not a "fix-all" solution. It has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them is key to making a decision about whether it's right for your company. We'll explore the major benefits and risks involved, and give you a set of factors to consider when choosing what information to put on the cloud.

    Inductive Automation
  • Cybersecurity Through Real-Time Distributed Control Systems

    Critical infrastructure sites and facilities are becoming increasingly dependent on interconnected physical and cyber-based real-time distributed control systems (RTDCSs). A mounting cybersecurity threat results from the nature of these ubiquitous and sometimes unrestrained communications interconnections.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • De-mystifying GHG Monitoring and Reporting - Achieve Benefits from Compliance

    This presentation discusses:
    - Highlights of Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule (GHG MRR)
    – Overview of Subpart A: General Provisions
    – Overview of Subpart C: Stationary Combustion Units
    – Several Industry specific requirements
    - Green facilities of the future?
    – Automation impact
    – Energy and carbon management impact

    Benefits from GHG Compliance
    1. Enhance loss control (business process and procedures)
    2. Enhance key equipment performance
    3. Improve energy efficiency/emission recovery

    Gulf Coast Chemical Plant Case Study

    Patrick Truesdale, Emerson Process Management - ISA
  • Five Critical Factors for Selecting Fieldbus Valve Manifolds

    In today's highly automated machines, fieldbus valve manifolds are replacing conventional hardwired solutions. They more easily perform vital functions by integrating communication interfaces to pneumatic valve manifolds with input/output (I/O) capabilities. This allows programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to more efficiently turn valves on and off and to channel I/O data from sensors, lights, relays, individual valves, or other I/O devices via various industrial networks. The resulting integrated control packages can also be optimized to allow diagnostic benefits not previously available.

    Fieldbus valve manifolds from manufacturers such as Festo, SMC, and Numatics find wide utility in packaging, automotive/tire, and material handling applications, as well as in the pharmaceutical, chemical, water, and wastewater industries. They are specified for purchase by controls engineers at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who design and develop industrial automation solutions - as well as by end users in relevant industries.

    This paper presents controls engineers, specifiers, and buyers with new insights into five crucial factors they must consider before selecting pneumatic fieldbus valve manifolds - commissioning, distribution, modularity, diagnostics, and recovery - while also outlining some shortcomings of conventional approaches. Finally, it highlights new designs that offer substantial improvements in the application, performance, and maintenance of these valve manifolds from the end users’ and OEMs' points of view.

    Numatics, Enrico De Carolis
  • How Stuxnet Spreads - A Study of Infection Paths in Best Practice Systems

    The Stuxnet worm is a sophisticated piece of computer malware designed to sabotage industrial processes controlled by Siemens SIMATIC WinCC, S7 and PCS 7 control systems. The worm used both known and previously unknown vulnerabilities to spread, and was powerful enough to evade state-of-the-practice security technologies and procedures.

    Since the discovery of the Stuxnet worm in July 2010, there has been extensive analysis by Symantec, ESET, Langner and others of the worm’s internal workings and the various vulnerabilities it exploits. From the antivirus point of view, this makes perfect sense. Understanding how the worm was designed helps antivirus product vendors make better malware detection software.

    What has not been discussed in any depth is how the worm might have migrated from the outside world to a supposedly isolated and secure industrial control system (ICS). To the owners and operators of industrial control systems, this matters. Other worms will follow in Stuxnet's footsteps and understanding the routes that a directed worm takes as it targets an ICS is critical if these vulnerable pathways are to be closed. Only by understanding the full array of threats and pathways into a SCADA or control network can critical processes be made truly secure.

    It is easy to imagine a trivial scenario and a corresponding trivial solution:
    Scenario: Joe finds a USB flash drive in the parking lot and brings it into the control room where he plugs it into the PLC programming station.
    Solution: Ban all USB flash drives in the control room.

    While this may be a possibility, it is far more likely that Stuxnet travelled a circuitous path to its final victim. Certainly, the designers of the worm expected it to - they designed at least seven different propagation techniques for Stuxnet to use. Thus, a more realistic analysis of penetration and infection pathways is needed.

    This White Paper is intended to address this gap by analyzing a range of potential "infection pathways" in a typical ICS system. Some of these are obvious, but others less so. By shedding light on the multitude of infection pathways, we hope that the designers and operators of industrial facilities can take the appropriate steps to make control systems much more secure from all threats.

    Tofino Security | Abterra Technologies | ScadaHacker.com
  • Implementing 21st Century Smart Manufacturing

    This report describes a framework for a proposed path forward for Smart Manufacturing in a number of priority areas. The report reflects the views of a national cross-section of industry leaders involved in planning the future of the process industries, vendors supplying technology solutions for manufacturing operations, and academic researchers engaged in a range of associated systems research. The report is based on information generated during the workshop on Implementing 21st Century Smart Manufacturing held in Washington, D.C. in September 2010, and from subsequent discussions among members of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition. A complete list of participants who contributed their valuable ideas at the workshop is shown on the facing page.

    21st Century Smart Manufacturing applies information and manufacturing intelligence to integrate the voice, demands and intelligence of the 'customer' throughout the entire manufacturing supply chain. This enables a coordinated and performance-oriented manufacturing enterprise that quickly responds to the customer and minimizes energy and material usage while maximizing environmental sustainability, health and safety, and economic competitiveness. Innovations that allow diverse devices, machines, and equipment to communicate seamlessly are opening the door for much wider use of system simulation and optimization software in the operation and control of advanced manufacturing systems. Today, smart tools and systems that both generate and use greater amounts of data and information are being used to innovate, plan, design, build, operate, maintain, and manage industrial facilities

    Executive Summaryand systems in dynamic ways that significantly increase efficiency, reduce waste, and improve competitiveness.

    While industry is making progress in developing and using smart manufacturing, the infrastructure and capabilities needed to deliver the full potential of this knowledge-based manufacturing environment have yet to be developed. Challenges include incorporating and integrating customer intelligence and demand dynamics and the needs for greater affordability, operator usability, protection of proprietary data, systems interoperability, and cyber security.

    To identify and prioritize the actions needed to overcome some of these challenges in smart manufacturing, a workshop on Implementing 21st Century Smart Manufacturing was held in Washington, D.C., on September 14-15, 2010.

    SMLC Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition
  • Is There a One Size Fits All SPD?

    Frequently, our customers will ask for a "one size fits all" Surge Protective Device (SPD), eliminating the need to stock several different part numbers to meet their customers needs. Some manufactures claim to have a one size fits all Surge Protection Device (SPD), however there is absolutely no benefit of this to the end user. Why? The one size fits all approach could in most cases actually cause damage to the equipment it should be protecting.

  • M2E (Machine to Enterprise) Integration Has Never Been Easier

    Are you taking advantage of it?

    Over the years, we've had sensor upgrades for process measurement, improved controllers for automation, HMI/SCADA installations for Operator visibility, Historians for data archiving and operational analytics, and now we have enterprise integration for improved material management, corporate agility, regulatory compliance and a host of other features. The manager makes the decision, and the engineer is saddled with a lot of work and stress. That work often rolls downhill, creating opportunity for System Integrators. We are all in an age where there is a technology abundance, leading to many ways to skin the cat. Have you researched all the alternatives? Are you up to speed with the latest tools to solve complicated enterprise integration?

    What does integration mean to you? It may mean sending data to your corporate database, enabling tools from Oracle, SAP and other enterprise vendors to report and analyze on it. The first step is usually to create an enterprise dashboard of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). That should keep management happy for a while. But then, the focus will shift to even tighter integration. You'll want to close the loop on equipment, enabling data to flow from the enterprise back down to the equipment. How you accomplish all this is very much driven by your automation perspective. Will you control this from the Enterprise, or will you coordinate this from the plant floor.

    Roy Kok
  • Maintaining Installations In Hazardous Areas

    Flameproof enclosure (Ex d) and intrinsic safety (Ex i) are very common equipment protection methods in Process Automation. One reason to use Ex d is the amount of energy which could not be provided via Ex i. This disadvantage has gone with the introduction of intrinsically safe, dynamic methods of arc prevention such as DART or Power-i. This white paper shows that when using intrinsic safety, installation, maintenance and inspection costs will be reduced.

    This paper addresses decision makers and professionals responsible for automation systems in hazardous areas. A good understanding of the principles of explosion protection is required.

    Thomas Klatt, Pepperl+Fuchs
  • Murphy's Law Consequences in Automation

    The most popular rendition of Murphy's Law is, "What can go wrong will, and at the worst possible time…" In today's automation world, we are building ever more complicated automation and management systems, designed to eek the last bit of quality and production performance our of our processes. We are creating some fertile ground for the production of future Murphy's Law crops. Minimizing these risks, from all perspectives - Automation Vendor, System Integrator, and End User, is essential to create solutions that will degrade gracefully to minimize downtime.

    Why am I writing about this now? Two Words - Hard Drive. As Baz Luhrmann once said in a commencement speech turned into "Sun Tan Song," "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." OK, in my case it was 3:15 on a Monday and I had to do a hard boot. That was it – "Drive not recognized." New Drive in hand, some software upgrades at the same time, backups that were out of date and a day later of loading, copying, recovering and I was 90% whole again, (not what the plant manager would want to hear, right?). A few shortcuts to get back on line quickly – Antivirus software can wait, documentation of the new system setup can wait, I won't forget to update that temporary license I got from my software vendor, to get back up and running… By now you're likely shaking your head saying Yup, I've been there… Oh, but it gets better. The next morning I wake up to a message saying there is a problem with the Operating System, and the system can't boot. Recover with a Boot Disk, scan the drive and there are bad clusters. The Bathtub Curve still exists…

    Roy Kok, AutomationSMX
  • Navigating the UL Safety Requirements for Surge Protection

    Specifiers and users of Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) are adjusting to new terminology and requirements. UL revised their 1449 Safety Standard for Surge Protective Devices to increase safety. The National Electrical Code (NEC) incorporated specific language to require the use of these safer products. This tip sheet will explain some of the changes affecting specifiers and users.

  • Paperless Calibration Improves Quality and Cuts Costs

    Paper is part of our everyday lives - whether in the workplace or at home. Global consumption of paper has grown 400% in the last 40 years. As manufacturing companies, our consumption of paper is far higher than it needs to be, especially given that there are technologies, software and electronic devices readily available today which render the use of paper in the workplace unnecessary. Calibrating instruments is an enormous task that consumes vast amounts of paperwork. Far too many automation companies still use paper-based calibration systems, which means they are missing out on the benefits of moving towards a paperless calibration system.

    Download this white paper to learn more about the benefits of moving towards a paperless calibration system.

  • Permanent Electrical Safety Devices Will Verify Zero Electrical Energy

    Article 120.1 of the NFPA 70E establishes the procedure for creating an electrically safe work condition. Since this was written, the day-to-day practice of electrical safety has changed going beyond the precise language of Article 120.1(1-6). This is due to the increased usage of permanent electrical safety devices (PESDs) in Lock-out/Tagout procedures. The relatively new concept of permanent electrical safety devices actually improves the workers' ability to safely isolate electrical energy beyond that which was originally conceived when Article 120 was written. PESDs go beyond the high standard, yet they still adhere to the core principles found in Article 120.1. With PESDs incorporated into safety procedures and installed correctly into electrical enclosures, workers can transition the once-risky endeavors of verifying voltage into a less precarious undertaking that never exposes them to voltage. Since, every electrical incident has one required ingredient - voltage, electrical safety is radically improved by eliminating exposure to voltage while still validating zero energy from outside the panel.

    Grace Engineered Products, Inc.
1-20 of 30 < first | prev | | last >