2012


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  • Ins and Outs of Partial Stroke Testing

    Depending on the Equipment, Application, and Test Method, You May Be Able to Extend the Full Test Intervals for SIS Valves. This article is written by William L. (Bill) Mostia Jr., PE, of Exida, League City, Texas. Mostia has more than 25 years experience applying safety, instrumentation, and control systems in process facilities. He may be reached at wmostia@exida.com.

    Partial Stroke Testing Article

    William Mostia
    08/05/2001
  • Radioactive Isotopes in Process Measurement

    An Objective Look at the Roles of Cesium-137 and Cobalt-60 in Nuclear Measurement Systems for Industrial Processes

    Level and density measurements in process control are performed by a number of technologies. When the process temperature, pressure, or chemistry is an issue, then nuclear measurement systems have the advantage. These are non-invasive to the vessel and unaffected by the process pressures and chemistries.

    Overall, a nuclear measurement system used for process control consists of a gamma energy emitter and detector. An emitter is placed on one side of a vessel to broadcast a beam of energy to the opposite side of the vessel. The detector is placed in the beam on the opposite side of the vessel. The detector will scintillate in the presence of gamma energy and register counts proportional to the field strength. When the process value (level or specific gravity) is low, the detector will register a high number of counts since less gamma energy is blocked by the process material. When the process value is high, more of the gamma energy is blocked which leads to fewer counts.

    The two most common gamma emitters used for level and density process measurements are isotopes of cobalt and cesium. The goal of this article is an objective comparison of the roles of cesium-137 and cobalt-60 in process measurement. This will be accomplished by reviewing the properties of the two materials and then comparing the use of the materials in process measurement.

    Vega Americas Inc.
    11/05/2012
  • Top Five Missed Opportunities with HMI Alarms and Events

    With any new tech device, whether a cell phone or plant-floor controller, there is inevitably a helpful feature or two you overlooked while reading the manual or taking the introductory tutorial. Although these technological devices still perform their desired, basic functions - discovering an underutilized feature makes you wonder how you ever operated the device without it.

    Interacting with alarms is one of the basic functions your operators expect from their human-machine interface (HMI) software. However, if you're only using the standard alarming functions, you may be missing out on lesser-known features that could help you save time, ease troubleshooting and reduce headaches. The five FactoryTalk Alarms and Events functions listed below are often overlooked and underutilized. See where they fit and if you can find some hidden tools in your plant-floor applications.

    Tony Carrara, Rockwell Automation
    08/29/2012
  • Analysis of 3S CoDeSys Security Vulnerabilities for Industrial Control System Professionals

    This White Paper explains:

    • What the 3S CoDeSys vulnerabilities are and what an attacker can do with them
    • How to find out what control/SCADA devices are affected
    • The risks and potential consequences to SCADA and control systems
    • The compensating controls that will help block known attack vectors

    A number of security vulnerabilities in the CoDeSys Control Runtime System were disclosed in January 2012. In October 2012, fully functional attack tools were also released to the general public.

    While CoDeSys is not widely known in the SCADA and ICS field, its product is embedded in many popular PLCs and industrial controllers. Many vendors are potentially vulnerable, and include devices used in all sectors of manufacturing and infrastructure. As a result, there is a risk that criminals or political groups may attempt to exploit them for either financial or ideological gain.

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

    Tofino
    12/26/2012
  • Plant Gains Power With Asset Management

    Gainsville Regional Utility Leverages Limited Maintenance Resources By Adding an Asset Management System as Part of a Repowering Project.

    To meet growing power demans in the area, the John R. Kelly Generating Station in Gainsville, Fla., repowered an existing 48 MW steam unit by constructing a combined cycle facility. It uses a General Electric gas turbine and an ATS heat recovery steam generator to drive the existing steam turbine.

    Asset Management

    Terry Gordon and Donny Thompson
    06/07/2012
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Wastewater Biosolids

    Wastewater treatment facilities are generally installed for one purpose - to clean up dirty water so that clean water can be discharged back into the environment. Nearly all municipal treatment plants rely on biological processes for wastewater treatment whereby bacteria and other microorganisms, frequently called 'bugs,' do this job of cleaning up the water.

    Siemens
    12/20/2012
  • SCADA Systems - Looking Ahead

    This white paper provides insight into the evolution of the modern SCADA system and looks to the very near future by discussing such timely topics as:

    • Improving system efficiency and security
    • Managing field data and
    • Open standards

    Schneider Electric - Control MicroSystems
    12/18/2012
  • Reduce Energy Costs and Enhance Emissions Monitoring Systems

    The thermal mass flow meter's ability to deliver a direct reading of mass flow rates of air, natural gas and other fuel gases provides a simple, reliable, and costeffective method for tracking and reporting fuel consumption.

    Accurate, repeatable measurement of air and gas, at low and varying flow rates, is also a critical variable in combustion control. Conventional flow meters require pressure and temperature transmitters to compensate for density changes. The thermal mass flow meter, however, measures gas mass flow directly, with no need for additional hardware. The thermal meter also provides better rangeability and a lower pressure drop than orifices, venturis, or turbine meters.

    Energy prices are subject to frequent and abrupt changes and fluctuations. When energy prices are high, daily accounting of natural gas usage should be made a priority for large industrial facilities with multiple processes and/or buildings. Fuel gas flow meters are used to analyze demand, improve operating efficiency, reduce waste and adjust for peak usage. Thermal mass flow meters are frequently used for these energy-accounting applications. In addition, thermal flow meters can help plant managers provide accurate usage reports for environmental compliance, as well as compare measured usage to billing reports from gas providers.

    Rich Cada, Fox Thermal Instruments, Inc.
    08/13/2012
  • Designing with Thermocouples: Get the Most from Your Measurements

    More than 60 percent of all industrial temperature measurement applications in the U.S. use thermocouples. Despite their widespread use, there are many misconceptions about thermocouples. This paper will discuss some of the basic technical issues that engineers need to consider when applying thermocouples.

    Phoenix Contact
    12/30/2012
  • How Mitsubishi Electric's Visualization Solutions Increase Productivity and Profitability

    The worldwide Human Machine Interface platform (HMI) market continues to evolve to meet the needs of manufacturers, processors, and OEM users, especially during periods of economic turbulence. This white paper will serve to educate you on the market drivers on through the solution phase. Rest assured this white paper will teach you how to use an HMI to increase productivity and profitability.

    Mitsubishi Electric Automation, ARC Advisory Group
    06/05/2012
  • Signal Conditioning and PC-Based Data Acquisition Handbook

    The third edition of this handbook has been totally revised to include new chapters on Electrical Measurements, Vibration and Sound, Displacement and Position Sensing, and Transducer Electronic Data Sheets (TEDS). It also includes several new subjects and expands on selected items including Fundamental Signal Conditioning.

    All chapters have been enhanced to address more practical applications than theoretical measurement issues. They cover a major topic with sufficient detail to help readers understand the basic principles of sensor operation and the need for careful system interconnections. The handbook also discusses key issues concerning the data acquisition system's multiplexing and signal conditioning circuits, and analog-to-digital converters. These three functions establish the overall accuracy, resolution, speed, and sensitivity of data acquisition systems and determine how well the systems perform.

    Data acquisition systems measure, store, display, and analyze information collected from a variety of devices. Most measurements require a transducer or a sensor, a device that converts a measurable physical quantity into an electrical signal. Examples include temperature, strain, acceleration, pressure, vibration, and sound. Yet others are humidity, flow, level, velocity, charge, pH, and chemical composition.

    Measurement Computing
    04/23/2012
  • Augment Your Staff: Gain Agility and Expertise Through Flexible Staffing

    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.

    Maverick Technologies
    10/30/2012
  • M2M-Building a Connected World

    Juniper Research forecasts that there will be a total of 400 million connected devices in service across all industry segments by the end of the forecast period in 2012. From a sector perspective, the last 18 months have seen significant take up of embedded consumer electronics devices, specifically eReaders, a trend which is expected to continue over the forecast period. In addition consumer and commercial telemantics will show increasing device numbers as automotive manufacturers aim to embrace embedded connectivity in the next five years in a new vehicle sales.

    While the reality of the M2M market may have fallen short of expectations since its early days, in the 2011 to 2012 period Juniper Research has observed an increasingly coherent approach to the market of both operators and M2M-enablers. On one hand, the interfaces built by companies to manage devices are becoming more sophisticated as the power of the Internet and the cloud are leveraged to their full extent. On the other hand, the automation of delivery and control means that the costs associated with M2M roll outs are reduced, improving the economic viability of M2M projects.

    This coincides with a reappraisal by operators of how M2M will deliver revenue, away from standard revenue-per-device towards a revenue model which is defined by the service that is delivered. Both operators and M2M enablers now see the M2M market as a market in its own right, with its own characteristics with respect to revenue generation.

    Juniper Research believes that the combination of cloud-based infrastructure and the introduction of technologies such as Bluetooth low-power at an affordable cost will give the market further impetus, while the acquisition route is strengthening some of the most respected M2M companies, affording them an increased level of sophistication.

    Juniper Research
    10/24/2012
  • Remote Emergency Shutdown Device Improves Safety and Performance at Oil Production Platform

    Updated government regulations created a need for a major international oil and gas company to install a direct, real-time communications link at a platform located off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

    ENI Petroleum is an Italian multinational oil and gas company with around 78,400 employees at sites in 77 countries. ENI operates in the oil and gas, electricity generation and sales, petrochemicals, oil field services construction and engineering industries. It has oil and natural gas production of almost two million barrels per day, with exploration and production efforts at sites throughout North American, Africa and Asia.

    One of these production locations is an oil well platform called the "Devil's Tower" that is located just off the coast of Louisiana in the Mississippi Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico. The platform rises 5,610 ft. above the sea bed. Until 2010, it was the deepest production truss spar in the world. Drill ships perform periodic operations within close proximity to subsea pipelines that transport oil and gas to and from the production platform.

    In this white paper, you will learn how a new data concentrator system allowed the control room and drill ships to communicate at a distance of more than 100 km, providing security in case of an incident while avoiding costly shutdowns.

    Jim McConahay, P.E., senior field applications engineer, Moore Industries and Richard Conway, facility engineer, ENI Petroleum
    11/08/2012
  • A Place For Positive Displacement

    PD Flowmeters Quitely Excell in Low-Flowrate, High Viscosity, and Liquid and Gas Metering Applications

    Positive displacement (PD) flowmeters are the workhorse of today's flowmeter world. They perform many important flow measurements most people take for granted. For example, they are widely used for metering both water and gas in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Chances are good the flowmeter that measures how much water you use at your house is a PD meter.

    Positive Displacement

    Jesse Yoder
    10/02/2002
  • Special Report: Cyber Security

    The technology advances in control systems and open systems have afforded us improved efficiency, productivity and the ability to advance our operations. However, these improved technology advances have also come with risks that threaten these efficiencies. Viruses; an increased dependency on uptime, availability and reliability; operator errors and increased regulations are just some of the threats today's manufacturers need to contend with when managing their operations. In this Putman Media Special Report, we take a look at the cybersecurity issues today's manufacturers need to contend with; identify control systems vulnerabilities and offer a three-step approach for building better cyber security at your operations.

    Honeywell Process Solutions
    02/20/2012
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