The use of wireless technology in industrial automation systems offers a number of potential benefits, from the obvious cost reduction brought about by the elimination of wiring to the availability of better plant information, improved productivity and better asset management.05/15/2013
Recent studies show that OEMs are well-aware of the available energy efficiency technologies for improving the efficiency of their equipment and machines. But while many OEMs are conscious of the growing pressure and demands coming from the market, they are reluctant to make changes due to the perception that new technologies will make their machines more expensive to sell. In fact, companies that endorse energy efficiency and sustainability in their thinking experience stronger loyalty from their customers. This document will discuss how adopting an energy efficiency strategy concerning automation and control systems can help OEMs develop more sustainable and energy-efficient machines, as well as how these new technologies that OEMs can use to differentiate their offerings bring benefits and new values to end users.04/29/2013
End users have struggled with different forms of device integration technology over the years, but the FDI effort aims to rationalize the worlds' leading technologies for managing information from intelligent field devices.04/09/2013
New technology is being deployed into control rooms every day; technology that brings significant increases in productivity as well as the ability to troubleshoot and do root cause analysis. Download this white paper to learn more about how the application of 3-D technology at SCA's pulp and paper plant in Sweden enables operators and managers alike to visualize data in a way that is relevant to their job function.03/11/2013
No doubt everyone who has a DCS has encountered alarm management issues and User Interface overload. Why is that you may ask?01/28/2013
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.10/30/2012
Visual management is the process of displaying critical information that helps to drive productivity throughout the organization by increasing efficiency, quality and uptime.10/15/2012
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
Communicating To the Enterprise Isn't Science Fiction. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to transport any object across great distances almost instantly? In the building automation systems of today's buildings and facilities, real-time information does just that. A modern building management system monitors and operates all technical facilities. Managing these data sources ensures optimal building performance by enabling control of building systems in an integrated manner. However enterprise facility management requires more than just building automation control systems. Download this white paper to learn how you can improve the design and operation of building processes, reducing emissions and improving energy usage, by connecting building automation systems to the enterprise using OPC.07/25/2012
IDC interviewed 100 manufacturers in the U.K., France and Italy to get more insights into their sustainability approaches. What was asked ranged from how sustainability was linked to business performance and how operational risk management and energy management can be improved to how product safety and compliance costs could be reduced. Download this white paper to find out more about how European manufacturers are tackling their sustainability efforts.06/25/2012
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
Strategic philosophies or practices such as Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement are used by many organizations to help improve processes, drive productivity and maintain a competitive edge in today's ever-increasing global economy. Despite varying concepts, each practice uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess, analyze and track business manufacturing processes. Even if an organization does not employ formal continuous improvement initiatives, efficiency gains can still be realized by borrowing lessons learned through the visual management techniques of those processes. This white paper discusses three common visual management solutions for displaying KPIs and andon messages in order to drive productivity and improve profitability.05/21/2012
Operational Risk Management: A Clear Path to Proactively Managing Risk and Ensuring Operational Continuity
Without a consistent way to manage people, assets and process safety, companies are more susceptible to risks that drive up costs and can cause serious incidents. You must proactively manage and reduce operational risk, but it requires discipline. This SAP Executive Insight Paper answers the following questions:
- What can we do to ensure operational continuity?
- How can we give our people the skills and tools necessary to ensure safe operations?
- How can we manage operational risks while delivering return on investment?05/14/2012
Standards-based industrial communication infrastructures have become popular with manufacturers and industry. See how companies are now using this technology to predict and prevent equipment degradation and failure.03/12/2012
Real-time asset management is one adaptation that provides immediate success. In general, there is an immediate need to move from reactive maintenance procedures and practices to a more strategic approach. OPC connectivity is the vehicle to achieve this goal. It provides the integration of real-time systems to corporate CMMS applications, improving PM programs, enabling true CBM implementations, and providing easy tracking and monitoring of soft assets. OPC is a standard technology platform from which an organization can build real-time applications and practices, ultimately leading to an immediate impact on the bottom line.12/05/2011
Preventing unplanned shutdowns, reducing downtime, and lowering maintenance costs have been shown to provide significant financial benefits. One way to achieve these results is to make certain that all installed assets are used to the best of their ability.
FDT Technology can be easily used in existing or new plants and can bring significant operational and financial benefits throughout the plant life cycle.
This paper provides an overview of FDT Technology and suggests text to use as part of your proposal or ordering specifications to make sure you are putting your assets to work.07/19/2011
Read this Aberdeen review of how best-in-class companies provide visibility into manufacturing operations while using real-time interoperability between manufacturing systems and business systems.07/20/2010
A complete alarm philosophy document (APD) covers all the elements, including design principles, KPIs and escalation policies. Creating an APD to outline these elements is the first step in a successful alarm management project. This paper provides an overview for the essential elements for a complete APD.06/09/2010
Despite the heightened concern for energy infrastructure security-influenced in part by growing threats from international terrorism and piracy-mitigating physical security risks in the world's energy producing regions is a challenge that governments and companies have grappled with for decades. The paper discusses key requirements for an effective platform security strategy, and describes the latest technology enabling an integrated security management system.04/20/2010
Alarm management affects the bottom line. A well-functioning alarm system can help a process run closer to its ideal operating point - leading to higher yields, reduced production costs, increased throughput and higher quality, all of which add up to higher profits. Poor alarm management, on the other hand, is one of the leading causes of unplanned downtime and has been a major contributor to some of the worst industrial accidents on record. Changing the practices and procedures used in the plant has become easier and more important with the release of a new ISA standard on alarm management. The ISA-18.2 standard, which provides a blueprint for creating a safer and more productive plant, is expected to be adopted by OSHA and insurance agencies as "good engineering practice." Download this white paper to see an overview of the new standard, examples of how to follow it and more.03/22/2010