The expert inside, part 1—level
Embedded intelligence in field instruments isn't new, but more and better knowledge is getting captured in more sophisticated, easier-to-use and better-networked devices.
Maybe it's all those crystal-clear highballs and free-flowing beverages that make level measurement seem conceptually simple to uninformed observers. However, when they sober up and peer into pitch-black tanks and silos with internal structures, mixers and agitators that must handle viscous and volatile fluids, solids and slurries—not to mention the build-up, dust, vapor, foam and other conditions they generate—well, let's just say accurate level measurement in the real-world is a whole different ballgame.
These challenges have been met by generations of inventive operators, process engineers, system integrators and suppliers, who have developed an array of innovative techniques for precisely determining the level and volume of…
Process, power and plant controls join forces to achieve performance gains
Resource guide: calibration education
Fluke’s faster, easier pressure calibrator
Control 2017 Readers' Choice Awards
Why can a DP flowmeter be used for gas but not liquid?
Acceptable uncertainty in quantity transferred determines flowmeter selection
Q: I'm interested to know why orifice differential pressure (DP) flowmeters aren't used in liquid metering systems (for custody transfer purposes), whereas they're widely used in gas metering systems? What makes an orifice flowmeter a viable, cost-effective choice for gas metering systems only?A. Rashimia.firstname.lastname@example.orgA: The short answer is that orifices are used for both, but because custody transfer (fiscal metering) is such an important topic (see Chapter 2.20 in volume one of my handbook), I will give a more detailed answer.Flowmeter selection can be based on government regulations, industry or national standards, and contractual agreements, and it can also be subject to the approval of such organizations as API, AGA and ISO.The…
Process control as inventory control
Achieving the best APC
Video: The principle of ultrasonic flow
Product roundup: fierce flow measurement, control
This concept eases troubleshooting, CV-MV pairing, developing models and more
Often, chemical process control is fundamentally inventory control. Understanding the cause-and-effect of the inventory is key to understanding the process, troubleshooting, choosing appropriate controlled variable-measured variable (CV-MV) pairing, designing cascade or ratio structures, specifying safety overrides and developing models (either first-principles or empirical).Usually, we don’t measure the inventory. We measure the response to it. Unfortunately, an initial focus on the response often distracts the person from seeing the fundamentals. Recognize the fundamental mechanism. Here are several examples.Inventory of gas molecules results in pressure:A standard air compressor can be an example. The inventory relation of number of…
Product roundup: Multitalented level measurement devices
Is it wise or dangerous to back up differential pressure with nuclear instrumentation?
Virtual sensors validate vital data
Sometimes a level instrument is only as smart as the guy doing the calibration
Pepperl+Fuchs debuts Bebco 7500 purge, pressurization system
Calculating medical flow measurement
Expro unveils first proven electromagnetic transmission of reservoir pressure data to surface across an open-hole well section without casing
2017 State of Technology: temperature and pressure measurement
E+H unveils new Midwest temperature, analyzer plants
Resource guide: Temperature and pressure don't stress
26 things to not do in temperature, flow, valve, differential pressure and pH applications
Meggitt offers HART-enabled vibration sensors
Meggitt's PCH420V vibration sensor has a programmable transmitter that allows vibration data to be accessed by HART enabled process controllers.
Meggitt's PCH420V is the first HART®-enabled piezo-electric vibration sensor enabling continuous online monitoring of balance-of-plant assets with a digital connection to PLC or DCS systems for local analysis of multiple vibration bands. They are capable of installation in multi-drop configurations and reduce wiring requirements. HART functionality enables the user to specify vibration frequency bands, detector types and full-scale measurement ranges—effectively enabling field-configuration for specific monitoring requirements.
PCH420 sensors are powered by the network for continuous coverage, unlike wireless solutions only offering snapshots of asset performance and employing batteries that require frequent replacement. Utilizing PCH…
Designing and testing networking devices for harsh environments
2016 Readers' Choice Awards
Meggitt provides HART-enabled piezo-electric vibration sensors
Resource guide: Weighing systems
Pressurization affects hopper weight
Resource Guide: Weighing systems tip usefulness scale
Water-in-oil analysis uses controlled vortices
Improved technology reduces costs of inaccurate measurements
For many years, end users and their engineering contractors have been installing a quality measurement system (QMS) such as a sampling, mixing and analyzer system (SMAS) for immiscible liquids, including oil and water. It is a tenet of process measurement that any analyzer or sensor is very capable of measuring only a single-phase sample. In fact, most practitioners assume that using two analyzers on one stream for immiscible liquids will solve the measurement problem. It doesn’t—it just requires a double SMAS, each with its own level of uncertainty.
This article describes a new SMAS, referred to as SmartMix®, that uses a novel approach to improve multiphase measurement.
Crude oil sample conditioning systems must comply with…
High-pressure mass spectometers offer robust, real-time, in-situ analysis.
Gas safety for semiconductor fabs
Resource guide: process analyzers seek the truth
Controlling steam: What you don't know can hurt you
Why are steam systems so pervasive?
Greg: Steam is the most common method of providing heat to a process. We are fortunate to have Steve Huffman, vice president of marketing and business development for Mead O’Brien, Inc., to give us inside knowledge inside steam systems. Steve has been providing incredible support for the automation profession. He was ISA president in 2007, Chairman of the Automation Federation in 2007 and 2008, and is currently chairman of Government Relations for the Automation Federation. I have been working with Steve in the review and expansion of the Automation Competency Model (ACM). Steve, why are steam systems so pervasive?Steve: Steam systems are the most efficient means of heat transfer in industry with more heat content per unit volume, higher…
HART PSK achieves practicality
Understanding P, I and D
The greatest source of process control knowledge
New NovaTech controller helps control systems modernize, provides next-generation features
D3v16 delivered with the new PCM5 process controller
What's the best way to upgrade distributed control system software? Give it a new controller to run on. Obvious, really. However, this is still a rare event, sort of like two holes-in-one in a single round of golf or winning two prizes in one raffle.Still, that's exactly what NovaTech has pulled off with the July launch of its D/3 distributed control software, Version 16 (D3v16), which adds high-value, standardized features its users have sought to give them a competitive advantage. Not stopping at one major release, the company is multiplying D3v16's impact by delivering it with the new Process Control Module 5 (PCM5) process controller with embedded cybersecurity, full system virtualization down to the controller, and many ease-of-use…
Reader feedback: April 2018
Schneider Electric details DCS at Foxboro event
Virtual plant virtuosity
2017 State of Technology: control systems
Bedrock Automation releases OSA Remote
Compact controller unifies PLC, RTU and edge control, intrinsic cybersecurity, and universal I/O
Just as all roads led to Rome, most if not all cornerstone functions of process control have been melding into more unified, multi-role devices. One of the leading expressions of this coalescence is Bedrock Automation's new Open Secure Automation (OSA) Remote high-performance controller, which combines PLC, RTU and edge control, universal I/O and intrinsic cybersecurity into a compact, rugged, standalone module that's ideal for remote monitoring and control.
Two models will be available: OSA Remote R10 with 10 soft-selectable channels and OSA Remote R20 with 20 soft-selectable channels. OSA Remote also features free IEC 61131-3 engineering software, wide operating temperature range (-40 °C to 80 C°), all-metal enclosure, and pricing…
Product roundup: PLCs, PACs & PCs get connected
The father of the PLC lives on in all the lives he touched—and will continue to touch
Open system gives precise temperature control
Product roundup: PLCs, PACs and PCs proliferate
SCADA reflects and reinvents
The cloud, IIoT, virtualization and other forces are reshaping supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) into new forms and functions, but can they do it securely?
If it had a face—and it sort of does—would you recognize supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) if you saw it on the street? Would SCADA even recognize itself in a mirror these days?
Chance are, probably not. This is because all the…
Benefits of upgrading to get more information may easily justify the cost
HMIs are multiplying, diversifying, and gaining flexibility
Yokogawa Corp., eSimulation Inc. form partnership
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new eBook from the editors of Control.
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new eBook from the editors of Control.
Topics covered include:
Pressure rising for open, secure systems
Exploring the love/hate relationship with distributed control
An ‘entitlement’ approach to continuous process control improvement
Expanding advanced process control to secondary units
Boilers as fast as fast can be
Continuous improvement of continuous processes
HMIs on tablets, smart phones need to comply with intrinsic safety standards
How to keep devices safe in hazardous areas
Going out in bad weather? You may need a sweater or coat. Working in a harsh or hazardous environment? You and your co-workers will need the right protective and safety gear.
The same goes for tools and accessories, especially all the human-machine…
2017 State of Technology: HMIs and industrial PCs
Working with IoT is not as easy as it sounds
Avoiding the Internet of spam still requires human intelligence
Factoring life cycle variables helps make intelligent motor-drive purchases
The largest potential for electric motor energy savings lies in system- and process-level optimization
Early electric motors were operated at one speed, guided by available current and voltage and often drive belt and pulley systems that mechanically controlled system speed and power. As motors evolved, efficiency improved, mostly by changing output control from mechanical to electrical and eventually leading to the creation of modern adjustable speed drives (AC drives).
Today, the largest potential for electric motor energy savings lies in system- and process-level optimization. Many different measures can be taken to improve the performance of processes and systems, but AC drives have the most important role to play. System-level optimization is possible thanks to several key elements in AC drive technology:
Motor independence: Drives…
Motors, drives deliver force behind the scenes
Resource guide: motors and drives turn on process industries
How automation can best affect the ratio that defines energy efficiency
Nord Drivesystems delivers biggest gearbox
Product roundup: Valve technologies
Innovations in valve technologies are getting an assist from equally creative accessories
THREE- AND FOUR-WAY SPOOLSAsco Series 362 and 562 are three- and four-way solenoid-operated spool valves with a corrosion-resistant design for reliable valve automation in oil and gas applications. They have low-power and low-temperature options, and are available in sizes from ¼-in. to 1-in. Their stainless-steel, encapsulated coil has ATEX, IECEx: Ex d and UL, CSA Class I, Div 1 hazardous-location approvals, which is combined with a compact design and low-wattage coil for global use. Emerson800-972-ASCO (2726)FAST, ACCURATE FINAL CONTROLEDP300 provides fast, accurate positioning for final control elements due to its innovative, robotics-based control algorithm. EDP300 is an electronically configurable positioner designed for mounting…
How to sequence valves to smooth the transition from small to large
How to eliminate uncertainty, risk when performing partial stroke tests
Ethanol plant learns why pipe cracks
Common automation myths debunked
Smart instruments deliver
Tips and tricks to get valuable information out where it can so some good.
John Rezabek recently discussed how to make more effective use of the infrastructure we likely already have installed, and in particular the investment in positioners (“Can things of yore deliver gold?”). Here are some suggestions on how easy it…
Resource Guide: valves, actuators and positioners
Reader feedback: How large does an actuator have to be to handle actual process conditions?
New Valve Actuators Address Both Ends of Torque Spectrum
Leeway on the learning curve
Please cut others and yourself some slack as you learn about IIoT and other concepts
While I agree there's nothing new under the sun, I've also mentioned before that what's really new is just a deeper understanding of things with which we thought were completely familiar. For instance, I thought I knew all about Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" book and movie about the Mercury astronauts, including the older lady tending the dilapidated bar at the beginning of the story, and casually putting newly arrived test pilots in their place. I knew all the quips, but what I didn't know was that character, Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes, is right up there with Amelia Earhardt and Bessie Coleman as one of the most important female aviators of the 20th century. No kidding.
As usual, I wised up after running across a late-night showing of…
Interfaces lighten the load
Knowledge on demand - Part 2
Tapping into better, faster, more useful process information—for wiser decisions—can be easier than you think.
Putting fingertips to workOf course, once quicker access to data is gained and better decisions are possible, some users are also confronted with unexpected capabilities and new roles based on that enhanced information and perspective. For…
Reader feedback: May 2018
OI package empowers operations
Advice on implementing ANSI/ISA standards for operator interfaces
Risk management offers an expanding menu of opportunities for ROI
Our process plants are not exempt from the forces of chaos, so when the caller ID indicates the plant, we might worry that it brings news of an unexpected trip or an injury to an employee or contractor.
A few years ago, my insurance man asked me, “You’re an engineer, aren’t you?” I was indeed, I said, and he went on to explain that I was eligible for a rate reduction, I just needed to fax him documentation of the degree I’d earned decades…
Why automation has limitations in emergency situations
How to reduce alarm chatter
Prepare to rationalize and operate on alarms from the Internet of Things
Our readers tell us who they think delivers the best technology in our industry
There's knowledge in our readers. That's why every year we ask our loyal audience to help us determine which automation service providers offer the best products and brands they can rely on to get the best combination of performance, ease of use,…
How Smart Can You Get? The Newest in Data Recorders
Data Acquisition Must-Haves
The Latest Data Acquisition Tools
Data Acquisition and Logging Gets on Track
Application gateways enable collection of edge data
Gathering data from industrial devices at the edge is key to unlocking insights
Conventional Internet of Things (IoT) approaches to enterprise/edge connectivity in a broad spectrum of process facilities are being upstaged by new application gateway technologies. These devices enable collection of data from industrial assets at the edge and push that data to the cloud, without interrupting existing SCADA functionality and without the need to replace existing hardware.Enabling highly-scalable enterprise infrastructures with plug-and-play simplicity, these gateways provide heightened, layered security without system overburdening. For process automation applications, they open the door to simpler IoT accessibility from edge to enterprise, with improved asset utilization, higher process efficiency and productivity, and…
We all can be data analysts
Knowledge on demand - Part 1
Resource guide: Sure-fire intrinsic safety
Intrinsic safety gives an inch
Ask the experts: Level switch safety; level for flow
Where wireless meets intrinsic safety
15 ways to fail at fieldbus - Part 1
It's still easy to make installation harder than it needs to be
If you are a “BG” (before Google) user of computer technology, you might remember when operating systems like Windows 95 and its successors touted an “easy” path to device integration. Most of the technologies—like USB and FireWire—were bus interfaces where disparate devices—keyboard, mouse, scanner, external drive—were auto-detected and presumably auto-configured for use by the PC. It was dicey in the early days, and many of us renamed the concept “plug and pray.” Today's reality is much closer to the original vision, but you’ll most likely still encounter a “Windows failed to install a driver for this device” message from time to time.You might find a few engineers who will say fieldbus is easy, and continuing…
Task force to release new Power over Ethernet wiring standard
Resource guide: Fieldbus, Ethernet networks explained
New standard is specifically designed for harsh environments and will support short-reach, high-noise installations
Ethernet and IP-based systems have had limitations to prevent use as field sensor networks for moving data packets around a facility. Now one of those limitations—the power-to-the-field hurdle—is about to be overcome. The IEEE P802.3cg 10 Mb/s Single Pair Ethernet Task Force expects to release a new standard describing power over Ethernet (PoE) twisted-pair wiring option within the year.This new standard is specifically designed for harsh environments and will support short-reach (15 m/50 ft.), high-noise installations (automobiles). It also will support long hauls of up to 1,000 m (3,280 ft.), while being able to survive certain fault conditions.The long-haul, point-to-point configuration will support a trunk up to 1,000 m with…
SMC's EX600-W wireless system combines speed, security
The Mechanics' Institute shows how to meet today's digitalization challenges
Slip rings use CC-Link IE for gigabit data transfer
Conductix-Wampfler has chosen CC-Link IE open gigabit Ethernet to provide a high performance connection solution for its range of slip rings
Conductix-Wampfler has chosen CC-Link IE open gigabit Ethernet to provide a high performance connection solution for its range of slip rings. Traditionally used to provide continuous power and data communication to equipment mounted on a rotating assembly, the slip rings have been developed to help new and existing machinery enter the Industry 4.0 era with high-speed data connectivity.Conductix-Wampfler is a world leader in the design and manufacture of power, signal and data transmission systems for a wide range of mobile equipment and machinery. Key industrial applications include container handling, tunnelling, mining, bulk material handling and process machinery. Typical machines include cranes, rotating arms and gantries,…
Phoenix Contact introduces new VIP-ER system
Marshalling system supports configurable I/O
The introduction of configurable I/O has given users a new world of opportunity and advantages. With this evolution though, there remain traditional requirements and challenges like safely marshalling signals, converting voltages and simplifying loop checks.“The Honeywell Universal I/O solution is fantastic because it’s software- rather than hardware-based, so people who want to can keep their marshalling,” says Michael Hardman, product specialist, Phoenix Contact. But traditional marshalling requires I/O-specific components for each point, such as relays, fuses and isolators, which traditionally must be individually wired."Phoenix Contact’s new VIP-ER system allows users to configure the wiring functionality for any type of…
Resource Guide: I/O, terminal blocks
How do we deal with the brittle?
We all know reach can exceed grasp, but at least in accessing and using process control information, many longtime hurdles are shrinking. Finally, knowledge-on-demand is closer at hand—physically, if not always mentally.The old chasms were often…
App Platform aims to ‘drive the 33s’
Opto 22 adds mobility to operator interfaces with groov Action Plan
Mobile trends in industrial automation
Power supplies: just another detail?
Careful specification can prevent startup problems and maintenance headaches.
As a chemical engineer by training, one aspect of automation that I had to pick up post-graduation was a basic understanding of electrical engineering. Although it wasn't a natural fit for me (my alma mater makes Chem Es take an electrical…
Energy efficiency tools
Power control joins process control to aid energy efficiency
2016 State of Technology Report: The latest trends in power systems
Back to school time: All you need to know about power supply
Honeywell assists users with Connected Plant efforts
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), Honeywell UOP and other divisions report they've been implementing their firm's Connected Plant program in projects worldwide
In a recent flurry of activity, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), Honeywell UOP and other divisions report they've been implementing their firm's Connected Plant program in projects worldwide.The company reported May 30 that OMV Petrom S.A. will use Connected Plant to provide prescriptive monitoring of its CCR Platforming unit at its Petrobrazi refinery in Ploiesti, Romania. Platforming upgrades low-value naphtha into high-octane gasoline and aromatics. OMV will use Honeywell's Process Insight Reliability Advisor software to feed plant data through Honeywell UOP process and fault models, and deliver proactive information and recommendations.Likewise, Shandong Tianhong Chemical Co. Ltd. reported May 29 that it's selected Honeywell UOP's…
CSIA to release Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual version 5.0
Reduce cutover concerns
Software speeds water plant project
Intelligent device management
Column about nothing
Smart Industry & Safety Instrumented Systems
Top 10 IIoT asset-maintenance trends
Honeywell launches batch solution
Experion Batch increases productivity for batch operations
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) introduced a control technology solution, Experion Batch, which increases productivity for batch operations and speed-to-market of batch products by allowing operators to “look ahead” into their processes and see an intuitive and comprehensive timeline of every task required to complete a product batch. Experion Batch uses patent-pending visualization technology to provide batch automation processes with the benefits of distributed control capability. This approach provides operators with insights into upcoming events or potential delays, which make it easier for them to conduct multiple tasks, take appropriate actions sooner and adjust next steps accordingly.
Sometimes operators sense changes missed by managers and engineers
Resource guide: Mixing up a batch—maybe even golden
Getting away from batch opens opportunities for quality and throughput
Procedural automation everywhere
Atonarp recently introduced a molecular sensor (quadrupole mass spec) solution
Industrial process control is facing one of its greatest challenges. Billions of dollars of pharmaceuticals and advanced process node semiconductor devices will be manufactured using processes where fast, accurate molecular analysis is critical to the quality of the end product. There's a pressing need for in-situ molecular analysis that delivers real-time results that are accurate, repeatable and quantitative from a small, rugged and easy-to-integrate solution. However, existing molecular analysis solutions such as residual gas analysis (RGA), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and optical solutions like near-infrared (NIR) and optical emission spectroscopy (OES) have limitations that make them impractical solutions.
Adaptive and intuitively simple optimization
Motivating, inspiring and directing automation professionals
Is your SIS getting the job done?
Grandfathered systems now require a formal determination of adequacy
ISA accepted the 2nd edition of IEC 61511, “Functional Safety — Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector,” as the replacement for the current U.S. national standard, ANSI/ISA 84.00.01-2004. Unlike the previous edition, the latest U.S. and international versions don’t differ at all. However, the “grandfather clause" now appears in clause 5, serving as a reminder that leaving an SIS “as is” demands a formal determination that it is achieving functional and safety integrity requirements, which must be determined by an assessment of the design, maintenance, inspection, testing and operating records for the installed system.Our sister website Chemical Processing examines some IEC 61511 requirements that…
SIS: How testing impacts reliability
Secure the SIS
The ruggedness of ancient instruments is both a blessing and a curse
Consider managed services to fill cybersecurity gaps
How Honeywell's new CyberVantage Managed Services offering can help customers keep their plants secure 24x7
While cyberattacks on industrial infrastructure continue to escalate both in frequency and sophistication, many facilities simply lack the skilled manpower and bandwidth needed to properly assess and implement—much less monitor and maintain—an appropriately robust cyber defense. Indeed, an honest accounting of the time, effort and costs attributable just to timely patching and antivirus updates—much less potential safety, downtime and regulatory compliance implications of a breach—reveals that for many organizations outsourcing some aspects of one’s cyber defense makes sense financially and from a risk-management perspective.Leveraging its acquisition last year of remote connectivity specialist NextNine, Honeywell has continued…
Why GDPR spurred compliance
Successful cybersecurity depends on up-to-date intelligence
Exploring security awareness levels, new guidance, and unique vulnerabilities for industrial plants
How to design functional enclosures to protect electronic devices
It's easy to make small and costly mistakes when specifying and applying enclosures
Every component of a control system, from sensors to cables to controllers, needs to be protected from its environment. The most common way of providing this protection is by placing the equipment in some form of enclosure.
Sensors and associated electronics are typically packaged in a metal transmitter housing. Cables have insulation, of course, and in many cases, the additional protection of conduit or a cable tray. Controllers and other larger electronics or combinations of equipment are normally mounted in some form of cabinet.
The most common form of enclosure is metal, typically painted steel with stainless steel closing mechanisms and a suitable gasket or sealing assembly to provide the necessary level of protection from ambient…
Chemistry: What you don’t know can hurt you
Genpak plant roof collapses as staff evacuate building
How to secure your industrial networks
Product roundup: Enclosures, workstations protect and serve
Resources: workstations and enclosures
Enclosures are more than a box
2017 State of Technology: Workstations and enclosures
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