More than 500 attendees at the 2015 Schneider Electric Global Automation Conference in Dallas got to be the first to hear a number of important announcements, including the company’s acquisition of LimeWare, the introduction of the Tricon CX safety system and new project execution methodology called FLEX. Keeping with the conference’s theme, "Powering Big Ideas Together," speakers charted a course for Schneider Electric and called on control engineers to rise to the challenge of applying their talents to creating value not just in their industries but in solving the world's biggest problems.
Headlines from April 28, 2015
Global technology developments represented by the Internet of Things, Big Data and Industry 4.0 have opened new opportunities for vendors and customers alike to look at the industrial landscape through a different lens and to drive more value in the face of unprecedented challenges.
"LimeWare doesn't have a user base, it has a fan base," Grant LeSeuer said of the many Foxboro customers who find foxray an essential everyday tool. But only 5% of current Foxboro system customers use foxray as well. "By acquiring them, we can bring the value LimeWare has created to the other 95% of Foxboro system users."
How control engineers can change the world
"All of the biggest problems in the world today are problems of control," Peter Martin, VP Business Value Consultant, Schneider Electric, told the audience today at Schneider Electric's 2015 Global Automation Conference. "And when we can properly define the problem, then we can begin to design the solution. Security is a real-time-control problem; safety is a real-time-control problem; environmental risk is a real-time-control problem."
"This year, we're celebrating 1 billion hours running Tricon systems without a single failure on demand," said Schneider Electric's Steve Elliott. "With Tricon CX, we've turned up the performance, advanced the capabilities and increased the value. We've reduced the response time, increased the run time, and allow modifications without halting the process."
Schneider Electric has set to change the path to how they complete automation projects by combining several of its key technology advances into a new project methodology called FLEX, for Flexible, Lean EXecution. "FLEX is how we execute major projects," explained Chris Lyden.
Headlines from April 29, 2015
The key to a better life for operators is situational awareness, Grant Le Sueur, senior director, process and safety software, Schneider Electric, told attendees of the Downstream Oil & Gas session at the company's 2015 Global Automation Conference in Dallas.
Al Rivero, Schneider Electric's lead for unconventional oil & gas in North America, shared his views on the price of oil, how we got here and where we're likely to go next. Rivero sees increased production capability from unconventional sources in the U.S. as setting a new global baseline for output that will cycle on and off based on market demand.
Schneider Electric introduced a new and more powerful Modicon M580 ePAC. "We first introduced the M580 last year—it was not only a new Ethernet-enabled programmable automation controller, or ePAC, but the beginning of a new architecture," said Dafir Lamdaouar. "It brings Ethernet and other open standards further into the core of the architecture."
The Foxboro Evo user audience has expanded into other disciplines. "To protect security and safety, we've enhanced the Tricon safety controller and made it so when you create a point in it, it's automatically revealed in the control system," said Grant Le Sueur. For operations, Foxboro Evo Control HMI helps make operators more productive and effective.
"Wireless is easy to install, configure and maintain," said Steve Goodman. "Today, it offers long battery life, long distances, a wide range of sensors, and immunity to noise as well as harsh and hazardous environments." The main area if implementation has shifted and it can be used anywhere, to monitor temperature, pressure, flow, level, on/off, and digital and analog I/O.
Schneider Electric's Steve Elliott moderated "3 Steps to Ensure Operational Integrity" between Scott Mourier and Andre Ristaino. The talk centered on three questions: Do we know what could go wrong? Do we know what our systems are to prevent this from happening? Do we have the information to assure us these systems are working effectively?
Headlines from April 30, 2015
"Pipelines transport very large quantities of oil and gas, and when you measure large quantities, small errors add up to significant dollars," Dale Symington, senior product manager, measurement applications, Schneider Electric said. "Calibration and proving are important."
"Data is not information," Barbara Martinez said. "Information is data in context. For years, we have been throwing more and more data at operators—too much data for them to be able to use—and the results have been accidents, incidents and lost profitability."
Profibus and Foundation fieldbus are more sophisticated, but that sophistication "makes the technician's job harder, not easier," Grant Le Sueur said. "We want to make the technician's job easier. So the next evolution will not come by integrating a new protocol. Instead, we're organized around ways to use Modbus better."
Nasir Mundh and Farshad Hendi discussed how Schneider Electric is helping its customers better understand and track the leading indicators that point to increased risk—before an incident or injury occurs. Leading indicators determine how likely things are to go wrong, and how likely they are to have an incident.
The ever-changing nature of cybersecurity is what makes time, lack of visibility and complacency the enemies of process safety, according to Nasir Mundh and Joshua Carlson. The first enemy is time. Things change; the risks are constantly evolving and we need to continually identify risks.
When it comes to instrumentation and controls, most plants are somewhere between reactive and preventive maintenance, spending their resources on doing a combination of emergency repairs and tasks on a fixed schedule, whether or not they're needed. Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, is "uber-profitable."