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  • A Comparison of WirelessHART and ISA100.11a

    The technology advancements in measurement instruments and final control elements provide greater process insight, reduce engineering costs and contribute to improving the overall operational performance of the plant. These instruments are often collectively referred to as smart devices.

    Emerson Process Management
  • A Place For Positive Displacement

    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.

    Positive Displacement

    Jesse Yoder
  • Adapting Gigabit Ethernet for the Industrial Environment

    With the advancement of computer and data transmission technologies, systems formerly reserved for the office environment are now critical components of the manufacturing floor. The demands of factory automation, in addition to computer hardware and software, have brought the wire and cable networking products that interconnect these technologies into the industrial setting as well.

    With the vast differences between an office and an industrial environment, networking cables such as gigabit Ethernet have had to adapt to these harsh new surroundings, not only from a physical perspective but from a performance perspective as well, in order to function reliably.

    This white paper discusses the constructional differences between standard Gigabit Ethernet and the specifications required for similar cables utilized in an industrial manufacturing environment. Additionally applications for these ruggedized designs are also reviewed.

    C&M Corporation
  • 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.

  • Applying Color Science to Design Effective Human-Machine Interfaces

    Human operators are a key part of any process control system. As such, they constitute part of a complex, causal chain of overall system processing. Human machine interfaces (HMIs) form a key link in that chain by bridging the physical world where processes reside with the perceptual reconstruction and representation of those processes in the heads of human operators and supervisors.

    If an HMI design gives rise to a flawed or inaccurate representation of a process, then error and suboptimal task performance may result. HMIs have become increasingly important links in this chain for two reasons. First, the arrival of distributed control systems (DCS) in the 1970s distanced operators from the physical entities they controlled, requiring all interaction be mediated by HMIs. Second, the ongoing introduction of complex automation into process control is increasingly changing human operators into supervisors. Supervision has complex decision-making requirements that must all be conveyed via HMIs.

    Download this entire white paper to learn more.

    Dirk Beer, Harvey Smallman, Cindy Scott, Mark Nixon
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • How to Manage Vaporization in an Analytical System

    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.

    Doug Nordstrom, Tony Waters, Swagelok
  • How to Select a Pressure Sensor for a Specific Application

    There are over two hundred pressure sensor suppliers around the world, offering products from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. A purchaser or engineer unfamiliar with pressure sensors can become overwhelmed with the price range, quality and options. The first step is to understand his/her application from the media being measured, to the desired electrical output for indication or control. The following is a guide through a variety of options to make a prudent decision.

    Media is the most important item when selecting a pressure sensor for an application. Most sensor suppliers only sell sensors that are rated for benign environments such as clean, dry air. The next tier of suppliers will sell products that will handle mild environments through to difficult/corrosive environments. Clean water, steam, some forms of hydraulic oils and Freon can be considered mild environments. Difficult media tends to be corrosive liquids and gases such as hydrogen sulfide, hydrochloric acid, bleach, bromides, waste water and hydrogen. Wrongful selection of a pressure sensor can lead to catastrophic failure and serious injury. When unsure, ask the pressure sensor manufacturer to provide a chemical compatibility chart with their products. In fluidic systems, such as water and hydraulics, one must understand how the water hammer and pressure transients effect the pressure sensor.

    American Sensor Technologies
  • How to Use a Regulator to Reduce Time Delay in an Analytical System

    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.

    Doug Nordstrom, Mike Adkins, Swagelok
  • 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
  • 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
  • New Differential Pressure Sensor Incorporates LVDT Technology to Create More Environmentally-Resistant, Dependable and Economical Pressure Sensing Solution

    Differential pressure (dP) sensors with electronic signal processing are increasing being used to monitor flow, filter condition and level. Since these devices offer linear and accurate output, they are also replacing the differential pressure switch that only support on-off condition and useless for closed loop control system. These dPs are often configured with expensive valves and fluid filled remote seals for added protection against corrosive media, radiation and/or extreme media temperature ranges when operating in demanding environments. In cold ambient environment specially operating in temperatures below -4 deg F (-20 deg C), the sensor need to be heated either by trace heater or within a heated enclosure to maintain the operation of the dP sensor. In addition to being expensive, these valves and seals tend to be bulky and require time to install and maintain. In many critical applications such as food and pharmaceuticals, filled fluids are a serious concern due to process contamination. In gaseous systems such as hydrogen and oxygen and semiconductor applications, fluid filled sensors are being banned since the leakage of fluid into the process could lead to an explosion and serious safety issues.

    A new series of LVDT (linear variable differential transformer) based oil-less dP sensor with dual channel ASIC (applications specific integrated circuit) have been developed that can operate in a wide range of corrosive materials, radiation and temperature without any oil filling and bulky sealing systems. By encapsulating LVDT proven technology with digital compensation, the pressure sensors combine the benefits of friction-free operation, environmental robustness and unlimited mechanical life. By selecting the diaphragm thickness and material properties, Table 1 show the dP ranges that can be produced using the LVDT technology.

    American Sensor Technologies
  • 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
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