Recent innovations in model identification, automated testing, and controller operating modes are creating opportunities to bring new efficiencies to the process of sustaining APC controllers.07/03/2013
Asset Managements: Best Practices for Developing Device Tasks to Operate with High-Level Batch Recipe Management
As manufacturers with batch operations strive to improve shareholder value through increased profitability, they are increasing investments in factory automation to reduce costs and increase operational flexibility. Equipment suppliers have responded with more capable devices, controls and software to meet these needs.05/23/2013
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
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
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
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
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
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
Customers in all industries are coming more and more under pressure to measure the cost of their utilities. Important drivers for this pressure are the rising cost of energy and various certifications according to EMAS and the ISO 14000 series. Measuring utilities has been neglected in the past and using calibrated technology is necessary for this process. However, many companies only measure their utility consumption at the custody transfer point, and these few measuring occurrences leave room for inaccuracy and poor energy management. By investing money in efficient measuring tools, is possible to set up energy monitoring systems that measure the consumption of each respective utility close to the point of use. This white paper reviews processes that can help you attain better energy management. Download now to learn more.12/14/2009
The plant operator has an extremely valuable and important responsibility: being the force and energy managing a capital enterprise easily worth hundreds of millions of dollars to produce or impact a daily revenue stream of millions, give or take. We ask him to be ever mindful of what the plant might be doing. We ask him to be capable of finding every little problem before it grows into a big one. We ask him to shoulder the burden of everything that goes wrong during his watch, all without any recognition when nothing does, and precious little (if not actual blame) when it goes wrong and he manages to manage. Within his area of responsibility and authority he must be able to view every control loop, most sensors, most pieces of equipment, and much of the supporting utilities, and then adjust as appropriate.
The failure to maintain situational awareness has been present in almost every disaster event that was not the result of spontaneous complete surprise. Start with the assumption that no one wants an accident. That no one would chose disaster over success. But accidents and disasters happen. We now know to a high degree of certainty that they happen because those in charge of ensuring that they do not happen, aren't aware that they are happening. They fail to know the situation. They are unaware of what is really going on, what is likely to happen, or what isn't happening that they think is. As explained in my book Alarm Management for Process Control, the solution is facilitated by effective operator interface design. Let's follow the path of interface design that can lead to better situation awareness.07/08/2009
Public Service Electric and Gas implemented the SAP PM (Plant Maintenance) system in 2000 to enhance the efficiency of its transmission and distribution equipment maintenance. While this application did improve maintenance systems, it did not provide the proactive, predictive approach to T&D maintenance that the company wanted.
A special project was begun in 2001 to design and implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that would allow PSE&G to monitor equipment status and handle maintenance procedures using a condition-based approach rather than a calendar-based system. The PI System from OSIsoft in San Leandro, Calif., is the foundation on which PSE&Gs engineering and IT staffs created their CMMS solution. The system proposal called for a full ROI by 2005, but the system was launched in early 2002 and began delivering cost savings in its first year. It also is extending the life of aging equipment through more efficient monitoring of performance.05/22/2009
Business leaders in todays manufacturing industries are facing a key issue, lack of visibility into plant business performance in real-time. Thus, real-time information for plant costs, production value, and contribution margin are generally not available to key decision-makers within the operation. Energy management is a key area where the lack of real-time information has a significant impact. Most companies still do not have a clear understanding of the relationship between energy consumption and the impact on real-time costs. This lack of critical information makes it difficult to make informed decisions as energy-related pricing and costs change frequently, affecting manufacturing business performance. Energy prices comprise a large percentage of variable costs in most operations. The dynamic nature of their impact on the business further confounds the situation owing to factors such as:
- New green energy sources
- Complex and fast changing energy market rates and metering dynamics
- Multiple fuel-burning choices
- New and changing environmental requirements
During these difficult economic times, this problem is magnified and presents a significant challenge to improving efficiencies and managing environmental responsibilities. Todays business world requires better business information of the manufacturing environment, propagated to all relevant people within the organization to enable and empower better decision-making to improve business performance. Invensys Process Systems (IPS) Real-Time Energy Measurement and Real-Time Energy Empowerment are an effective solution to this problem.
Watch this video
New Information and Resources on Real-Time Energy Management Solutions Now Available From IPS
Learn how real-time energy management can reduce energy costs and consumption.04/28/2009
How Wireless Remote Monitoring Enables Low-Cost Data Logging and Control
Economically meeting requirements for monitoring of mobile assets and remote processes always presents project engineers a considerable challenge. While the initial requirements are reasonable, complexityinvariably emerges when the needs of all interested parties are assessed.
This is particularly the case when the asset or process consists of a small number of monitoring points. The requirements can be regulatory or economically-driven. For example, monitoring of combined sewage overflow (CSO) by water utilities meets a regulatory requirement. Compliance with mandates from agencies such as the EPA calls for monitoring of remote locations in which only a single measurement, flow or level, is taken per site.
Monitoring of vendor-managed inventory, such as a chemical level in a tank, is an economically-driven example. Again, only a single measurement, tank level or pressure, is required. Economic goals include customer satisfaction and operation of the delivery/service fleet in the most efficient manner.
Leased generators and pumps exemplify mobile assets in which, at minimum, one or two measurements are recorded. In those cases, however, requirements could grow to dozens of measurements. Customer satisfaction and optimal management and maintenance of the asset inventory are the goals.04/06/2009
In the last few years, the cost of energy has increased many fold, this has made the measurement and management of energy a key area of activity in the industry. As the demand of energy increases world wide, the pressure on resources increases and this leads to the increase in costs. It is a simple issue of demand and supply. Even the environment is under threat due to increased release of greenhouse gasses. In the modern competitive world, tangible costs must be reduced and efficiency optimized to be competitive. Even at the recently G8, targets were set at reducing the emissions released through burning of fuels. It is amazing how we can achieve both goals of lower costs through better efficiency and lower emissions through better energy management.
This paper comments on possible ways to manage energy in a processing plant. More specifically we will concentrate on better energy measurement and increasing efficiency through benchmarking and information management. The author will also offer practical ways to reduce operational costs with small capital expenditure and thus a fast ROI.03/30/2009
Todays businesses are struggling to find new channels for growth, improve operational efficiency, reduce the cost of energy, and provide a structure for timely decision-making. This paper proposes a framework from which management can develop an energy management strategy.03/24/2009
State Based Control is a plant automation control design based on the principle that all process facilities operate in recognized, definable Process States that represent a variety of normal and abnormal conditions of the process. State Based Control, implemented with the latest developments in object-based technologies, delivers direct benefits to its adopters in a variety of Operational Excellence categories. It results in productivity increases, higher asset utilization of both people and process, automated responses and recovery for abnormal conditions and provides an environment for knowledge capture directly into the control design.03/23/2009
KPIs are an excellent performance measurement tool that businesses in many different sectors employ to improve performance. The key to KPIs is finding a way to quickly gather and simply distribute the key business information without becoming beholden to large, complex databases and applications. The problem is that somewhere along the line the burden imparted by gathering and compiling month-end KPIs has become greater than the value these sometimes outdated numbers represent. How much effort, custom coding, and cost must go into compiling and communicating these measures?03/12/2009
Portal technology is invigorating todays corporate environments. The business world began to take portal technology seriously when the price to acquire start-up portal sites, such as My Space and Flickr, exceeded all anticipated market values. Today, portals are big business. Corporations ranging from SAP to Microsoft are investing millions of dollars in portal technology. New technology frameworks and architecture have changed the direction of portal solutions from recreational portals to the enterprise. Networking technology enables users to access portal-based web sites from anywhere and through any device that can connect to the internet. The purpose of this paper is to help you determine how your company can benefit from a portal environment, and from the OSIsoft suite of visualization components. For the first time, you can combine data stored in PI with enterprise systems and other data sources into easily accessible information, visible to individuals, teams, sites, and the enterprise.03/12/2009
Industrial enterprises must squeeze the most out of their assets in today's challenging business environment. The price of entry into many markets is operational efficiency plus effective, real-time reaction to changes in internal or external market conditions. Read this white paper to learn how you can boost your company's ROA by maximizing your asset performance strategy.03/12/2009