True Commitment Meets Changing World's Challenges

June 17, 2013
How Do You Cope with Increasing Process Accidents, Accelerating Cyber Attacks, Ever More Remote Resources, Aging Workforces and Recovering but Delicate Economies?
About the Author
Jim Montague is the Executive Editor at Control, Control Design and Industrial Networking magazines. Jim has spent the last 13 years as an editor and brings a wealth of automation and controls knowledge to the position. For the past eight years, Jim worked at Reed Business Information as News Editor for Control Engineering magazine. Jim has a BA in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and lives in Skokie, Illinois.

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Well, it's not really a mystery. You use the same traditional values of genuine commitment and true partnership that helped relieve and solve so many problems in the past.

This was the primary message delivered by Darius Adamczyk, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, in his keynote address this morning to a record-breaking crowd of more than 1,200 process automation professionals gathered for the Honeywell Users Group Americas 2013 conference this week in Phoenix, Ariz.

Now a full year into his tenure as president, Adamczyk began by thanking all the attendees for their continuing business and trust; described his perspective on the vertical industries they jointly serve; demonstrated how these markets translate into comparative challenges for process control and automation; and showed how Honeywell is responding with specific solutions.

"While safety is essential for all of us, customer relationships are paramount to Honeywell Process Solutions, and that's why we hold HUG and our other users groups worldwide," said Adamczyk. "We can't promise that we'll be perfect every time, but we will never walk away from any customer and leave them stranded. We will always make a situation right if we haven't done it right the first time."

Adamczyk stressed that, while Honeywell is historically a distributed control system (DCS) company, it's also much more. "We'll always be the leader in DCS, but we also bring a mass of other solutions to market," he said. "In all we do, we collect data to help users secure better solutions, and make better decisions in their applications. Our technology leadership is a given because we continue to spend on R&D in both good times and bad, and the results include our latest Experion Orion and Universal I/O solutions. Some other companies try to imitate Honeywell, and say they're the same, but they are not."

"If you win, we win. If you lose, we lose." Honeywell's Adamczyk on the shared accountability that underlies the company's new Assurance 360 program.In yet another indication of its longstanding commitment, Adamczyk reported that Honeywell is equally devoted to its users' entire plant lifecycles. "There wouldn't be much point to our commitment if it didn't extend over the long term, and so we maintain our customer relationships from the initial build, through service and optimizing components, and onward to slow and thoughtful migration to the latest technologies," added Adamczyk.

Besides helping alleviate problems, Honeywell's commitment to its customers will likewise be needed to capitalize on a variety of upcoming opportunities—none bigger in the Americas than shale oil and gas production. "From the mid-1980s to 2010, oil production in Texas declined significantly, but in just the past two years, it's recovered all of the production it lost over the past 25 years," explained Adamczyk. "Shale gas is fueling a revival of U.S. manufacturing, but there are also challenges like LNG terminals traditionally intended for export that are now being converted for exporting. The U.S. is still slightly a net importer of natural gas, but by 2020 it will neutral, and it's projected to be a net exporter by 2040."

On the oil production and refining front, Adamczyk reported that national oil companies (NOCs) will soon take the lead from independent oil companies (IOCs) in spending on control and automation equipment. In fact, he estimated that NOCs, especially those in emerging markets, this year will account for 56% of the oil industry's total expenditure on control and automation devices. Similarly, even though the recent frenzy on metals prices have cooled, he stated that capital expenditures on metals and mining are still very active in South America, Australia and Africa. "Meanwhile, the pulp and paper sector expects 1.6% annual growth on average, but this also consists of slight declines in North America, Western Europe and Japan, and much faster growth in China, India, Russia and other emerging regions," said Adamczyk.

These worldwide economic trends translate into several major challenges and opportunities for the process control field in general and for Honeywell and its customers in particular. "Safety incidents had been declining slightly, but they plateaued in 2011, and given recent events in Texas and Louisiana, they may show an increase," stated Adamczyk. "We're also seeing unprecedented increases in cyber attacks. And, even though American businesses have lost $400 billion due to cyber attacks, I think they're still being underreported and not getting the attention they need."

Similarly, he said Honeywell's research shows that reliability can be improved in at least 80% of the manufacturing sites it's examined. Unsurprisingly, the workforce in the process industries continues to age rapidly, with 15% over age 55 in 2000, and an estimate that 23% will be over 55 in 2020, which also has safety and reliability implication.

"We're also venturing to more remote locations and work in more challenging conditions that ever before," said Adamczyk. "The shallow and easy-to-extract resources are tapped out," he said. "Now we're looking at projects like the Codelco project in the top of the Andes, and deepwater oil operations like Chevron's Frades."

To help its customers in these challenging settings, Adamczyk reported that Honeywell can deliver safety solutions and many others advantages. "For us, safety is a given, but when we partner with you, there are broader benefits as well," he said. "We can provide solutions that integrate safety with fire and gas, cyber security, infrastructure improvements, mobile gas detection and worker training -- and do it all in one seamless package.

"We can maximize reliability, too, but also remove some of the burden from our users by taking on some accountability and sharing the risk with them. If you win, we win. If you lose, we lose. For instance, our new Assurance 360 program includes changing our service model to enable simpler, phased migrations that don't result in big-bang capital expenditure spending. This is a different approach than many other automation providers, but it's especially important given the relative age of many process applications and facilities.

"We're also committed to investing more in R&D, and committed to spending on new technology and useful solutions at a faster rate than the rest of the industry. To help our customers protect their assets, we've also developed our own white-listing and encryption technologies. Finally, to create our new Control Room of the Future program, Jason Urso and his colleagues visited control rooms at 50 plants and facilities, just to observe, and see the problems and challenges our customers are facing. This is enabling our Control Room of the Future to be far more intuitive, require less time for users to become familiarized, and be able to harness best practices from their overall facility, from their other control rooms, and from their entire organization."

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.