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.08/29/2012
Every manufacturing industry is experiencing an increasing speed of business in several areas including changing schedules, customer needs, costs of materials, business models, and technologies. At the same time, many manufacturing sites - particularly in the discrete industries - have growing complexity in their operations which makes it more difficult to adapt. There are more SKUs and data to keep track of due to product proliferation, smaller lot sizes and compliance to government regulations.
The demands for improved speed and agility conflict with the plants' ability to respond. Visibility into current operations, including the control system, is the primary reason manufacturers buy Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). This visibility provides the information necessary for informed decision making in real-time by all levels of personnel - plant floor to the executives.
MES applications contain the critical business processes for executing a production schedule. These systems perform the production-centric functions of planning, controlling, operating and informing. Control systems execute these functions to produce the goods needed to fulfill customer orders. By integrating MES with control systems, manufacturing becomes more agile for responding to change in this increasingly dynamic business environment. Integrating the control system with the MES allows for more effective and broader set of production management functions to improve operational performance.
To improve their response to operational issues, managers look to technology for connecting plant floor and business systems for automated business processes. Some manufacturers have implemented point solutions on a case-by-case basis. Because of the higher development costs and support issues, this approach is not acceptable. An integration platform is needed.08/20/2012
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.08/13/2012
Let's take a closer look at the process of vaporization and how we can manipulate the variables -- temperature, pressure, and flow -- to ensure proper vaporization and an accurate analytical result.08/09/2012
Process measurements are instantaneous but analyzer responses never are. From the tap to the analyzer, there is always a time delay. Unfortunately, this delay is often underestimated or misunderstood.
Time delay is defined as the amount of time it takes for a new sample to reach the analyzer. One way to control time delay is with a regulator. Regulators control pressure, and pressure in an analytical system is closely related to time. In the case of gas systems with a controlled flow rate, the lower the pressure, the shorter the time delay.
Delay may occur in any of the major parts of an analytical instrumentation (AI) system, including the process line, tap and probe, field station, transport line, sample conditioning system, stream switching system, and analyzer.08/03/2012
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.06/07/2012
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.06/05/2012
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.04/23/2012
In this white paper, Mike Fahrion discusses 10 basic rules that will help you ensure success in the design and implementation of your wireless network.04/09/2012
This paper will address
- Knowing when to do a pH sensor calibration versus a calibration check
- How to properly clean a pH sensor
- How to perform a pH sensor calibration
- A decision tree for step by step guidance
The phrase in the above title is actually incorrect in its sequence of wording. All pH readings are supposed to be taken and accepted only when the pH sensor is clean. After all, a contaminated pH sensor may yield an incorrect reading. So one must make sure the sensor is clean before doing a calibration. Once a pH sensor is installed in the process and operating, how do you determine when it is time to take the sensor out of the process and do a cleaning, or a calibration? Does one perform both a cleaning and a calibration or just a cleaning, or just a calibration, or does one just perform a calibration check in buffers or...?
This is something that can be quite confusing, especially when the operational practices and procedures documented by your company's Quality Control or Environmental Practices department may not be specific enough when they describe the procedure or the timing on when to conduct the pH calibration and maintenance. Inversely, the procedures may be too specific, detailing many more procedures and operations than are actually required.
In practical terms, users must develop their own maintenance and calibration schedule. This schedule is accomplished by taking the pH sensor out of the process after a set amount of time, perhaps after a day or two to perform a visual inspection of the sensor. If after inspection you find no debris or fouling on the electrode and reference surfaces with the naked eye, rinse the sensor off in distilled water and perform a buffer check.02/27/2012
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.02/20/2012
This paper will address the application of Guided Wave Radar (GWR), also known as Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR), in your steam loop. Included will be discussions of how this technology functions and differs from more traditional forms of level indication.
The heart and soul of any boiler based power generation system is the steam loop or circuit. Without the proper availability of water in this system, efficiency suffers. In more extreme circumstances damage to other components from either too much water (carryover) or too little water (low water condition) will occur and shorten a boiler's lifespan. In the most extreme situation a dry fire accident could occur resulting in severe damage and personal injury.
Level indication in the steam loop is critical, yet the methods employed to measure it have been slow to evolve or change. Some of that has been due to code requirements (PG-60 of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code) or a simple lack of confidence in "new" technology. It has only been in the past 15 to 20 years (recent in terms of boiler/steam loop history) that technologies such as magnetic level gages or differential pressure devices have been used in place of direct reading glass gauges on applications such as feedwater tanks, high pressure preheaters or hotwells. These same devices are now utilized for drum level indication as well. The most recent addition to the technology basket for steam loop applications has been Guided Wave Radar. Used in conjunction with other technologies it is seen as a reliable cost effective choice for redundant level measurement in all steam loop applications, including drum level.02/17/2012
Download this white paper to learn how to calculate total uncertainty of temperature calibration with a fry block and have a system that saves time, reduces costs and increases productivity.01/11/2012
PD Flowmeters Quietly Excel 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.10/02/2002
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 firstname.lastname@example.org/05/2001