Systems Integration

New Tools Support Operators, Oil & Gas Industry

'Control Room of the Future' Among New Capabilities Featured at HUG EMEA 2013

By Keith Larson


With its latest round of product introductions, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has taken clear aim at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of all types of plant personnel who touch the company's solutions, from control room operators and field technicians to system design engineers.

New products specifically for the oil and gas industry also were featured when Jason Urso, HPS vice president of technology, together with Jean-Marie Aillet, HPS director of solutions consultants for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) presented the new technology roadmap at the 2013 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) EMEA event, November 4-7 in Nice, France.

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First off, Urso and Aillet demonstrated their "Control Room of the Future," a range of solutions designed to make operators more effective in their daily tasks and decision-making. The new Experion PKS Operator Console, teamed with wireless, tablet-based Mobile Station devices and large-format Collaboration Station screens enable an unprecedented level of collaborative communication and ergonomic flexibility, Urso said.  "Collaboration Station’s modern visualization environment puts data into context enabling better situational awareness and faster action."

The new touch-based Operator Console features more screen real estate, alarm lighting (no annoying horns), as well as pan-and-zoom, tabbed displays and other advanced visualization capabilities. Wireless tablets, meanwhile, allow operators to change positions and move about in the control room without losing situational awareness. "In many ways, the control room of the future won’t be limited to the control room at all, and that concept is perfectly illustrated through technologies like OneWireless, because it extends the control room to the field," explained Urso.

The Continuing Voyages of Starship PKS Orion

To demonstrate the engineering efficiencies offered by the Experion PKS Orion platform, HUG EMEA attendees were treated to a sequel of the Star Trek video send-up begun with the 2012 launch of the company's Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) Orion offering. Urso, in the guise of a certain intrepid starship captain, led the pride of Star Fleet against a project execution challenge from genetically engineered arch-nemesis Khan.

Leveraging the capabilities of PKS Orion's Universal I/O and virtualization technology, Urso and company quickly dispatched four various projects--even as Khan struggled to get a single project underway using traditional engineering approaches. In the real world of project engineering, Urso explained, virtualization and Universal I/O allow end users and engineering firms to effectively decouple and streamline software application and physical system engineering tasks. Timelines are far shorter, a range of traditionally sequential tasks are eliminated altogether, and automation "is taken off the critical path," Urso said.

Also speeding project execution is the new Experion Orion Project Workflow, in which physical and application aspects of project engineering are performed along parallel paths, further leveraging virtualization, standardized cabinets and Honeywell data centers. "These cloud-based data centers allow you to do all the application engineering in the cloud--around the world and around the clock," Urso explained. "Then, use simulation to do a virtual FAT [factory acceptance test] and copy virtual machine files over to the production servers." Together, Universal I/O and virtualization can shave months from a project schedule, while using fewer man-hours and reducing risk, too, Urso said.

Saving additional engineering time, energy, space and maintenance effort is the company's new Premium Platform blade server, which reduces server set-up time by up to 90 percent, generates up to 40 percent energy savings and has 22 percent greater density than alternative virtualized server platforms. In addition, the platform has a longer lifecycle, reduced facility footprint and remote management capabilities in a package that is pre-configured, saving time to deploy.

Appealing to the efficiency needs of maintenance technicians and field operators, Honeywell also extended its Smartline series of modular transmitters to include temperature. Importantly, Smartline temperature transmitters accommodate dual sensors (for a second or redundant reading) and track the inevitable, progressive degradation of the temperature sensors themselves.

As with Smartline pressure transmitters, process trends are displayed graphically, and formerly inscrutable error codes now are displayed as literal messages to guide field technicians in their work. A three-button interface allows speedy interaction and configuration without a handheld, and the transmitter even automatically corrects for polarity installation errors that can derail start-up and maintenance processes. "It operates correctly regardless of how you've wired it," Urso explained.

Five Decades of Investment Protection

In addition to showing these and other new whiz-bang technology advances, Jean-Marie Aillet demonstrated how the company will continue to bring forward the extensive installed base of older TDC system hardware. Aillet outlined a phased approach by which older network and control components will progressively "melt" into Experion over time. It's not automatic and users will need to work with Honeywell to move their systems forward, but the company anticipates that users' intellectual property investments in older TDC platforms will be supported through 2035.

"For more than 40 years now, we've protected your intellectual property in graphics, control strategy and in wiring," said Alliet. "By migrating to the EHPM [controller], the older UCN network is gone, effectively replaced by fault-tolerant Ethernet. With EHPM, you can gain another 10 years--50 years total--of system life."

Urso also urged HUG EMEA attendees to take cyber security just as seriously as they now take process safety. In fact, Urso said, "they're becoming one and the same." As evidence of Honeywell's commitment to cyber security, Urso cited the company's sole standing as ISA Secure certified for both its control and safety systems. Further, the company now offers whitelisting protective measures, secure consulting services and encrypted and authenticated communications.

New Products for Oil & Gas

New products specifically for the oil and gas industry also were on display at HUG EMEA 2013, including:

Upstream oil and gas automation: The new Experion SCADA radically simplifies configuration over thousands of assets and provides operational efficiency with an easy-to-operate interface. Users simply configure the platform out-of-the-box instead of building it from the ground up. Honeywell’s new RTU2020 Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) improves the productivity of a site’s distributed assets through more efficient remote monitoring, diagnostic and asset management capabilities. It offers a unique combination of capabilities such as low power consumption, efficient wiring, and built-in HART I/O with Field Device Manager integration. Integration with Experion SCADA helps visualize what operators need to know to simplify management of pipeline and upstream oil and gas assets.

Natural gas metering and measurement: The Flow Computer ERZ 2000-NG is for custody transfer applications to measure gas flow, correct the measured volume, calculate energy consumption and read out all data via standardized protocols. The Electronic Volume Corrector EC600 is certified for volume conversion at the gas exit point as a stand-alone system or bundled with a gas meter for further flow control. The Gas Chromatograph PGC 9303 offers users the first gas chromatograph to measure natural gas quality plus hydrogen and oxygen in a single device, allowing metering for renewable energy, biogas and power to gas applications. This new tool is approved by the National Metrology Institute PTB in Germany.

Terminal operations: Honeywell Enraf’s Terminal Manager R620 is a web-based solution used for facilitating, monitoring and controlling the distribution of products in a bulk terminal to improve safety and security, meet regulatory requirements, decrease costs, improve inventory management, and streamline "tank-to-head-office" integration.