Honeywell Brings Shell Technology to Wider Market

March 16, 2010
Honeywell has acquired rights to Shell Global Solutions' OTTER field data collection technology.

Honeywell has acquired rights to Shell Global Solutions' OTTER (Operational and Technical Task for Efficient Rounds) field data collection technology. OTTER is currently used in more than 25 Shell sites to help guide field operators through field surveillance tasks and deliver best practices, decision support, improved regulatory reporting and enhanced communication between work groups. Shell has implemented the technology alongside Honeywell's Operations Management Pro (OM Pro) solution as part of its Ensure Safe Production (ESP) program which has significantly reduced unplanned downtime and process safety incidents and is being rolled out to its facilities globally.

Integrated solution

Honeywell, for its part, sees OTTER as strengthening its reliability and operational excellence offerings, enabling it to deliver an integrated solution for the mobile field worker in combination with OneWireless and its Dolphin mobile computer devices. It is establishing a development and support organization that will enhance and support OTTER alongside the existing support capabilities for customers who are already using IntelaTrac PKS. Honeywell's relationship with Invensys Operations Management /Wonderware provides for support for IntelaTrac PKS through to 2015.

Shell is, of course, a leading member of the Honeywell-led Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium, other members of which include Exxon-Mobil, Conoco-Phillips, BP, Petronas and Sasol from the user side and consultancies and academic bodies such as UCLA, Human Centred Solutions LLP and the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center at Texas A+M. ASM aims to enhance the understanding and use of effective ASM practices within its member organizations and externally. There is, however, an inevitable focus on developments of existing Honeywell products and their interoperation and those that have benefited from ASM involvement include OM Pro, the common HMI used across Experion and Safety Manager.

Human reliability

Peter Bullemer, senior partner in Human Centred Solutions, has been an ASM member since 1994 and contributing author to many of its studies and reports. He makes the point that “Current incident reporting systems do not effectively capture the influence of human reliability on process safety performance. Historical and cultural factors have led to the development of reporting systems with an emphasis on reporting of incidents that have equipment reliability causes and personal safety impacts."

ASM members including Bullemer, Chris Stearns, Honeywell product manager for OTTER, and Consortium director Peggy Hewitt recently provided a joint response to Dick Hill's ARC Insight entitled, "Humans: The Last Interlock." Noting that "most companies will have implemented or heard of alarm management with both EEMUA 191 and the draft standard ISA18.02 explicitly addressing human limitations," they made two key points. "First, there is limited awareness of the depth of research and best practices available -- mostly because it is housed in different disciplines, i.e., in human factors engineering -- sometimes called cognitive ergonomics -- rather than control engineering. Second, and more important, there is a lack of awareness of the breadth of the problem --it is not only about training, procedures or alarm management, but about the entire design, operate & maintain life cycle."

Human Centered Design

With Honeywell's arch rival Emerson pursuing a similar initiative based on its in-house Human Centred Design Institute in conjunction with the Human Computer Interface Institution at Carnegie Melon and Emerson's own Duncan Schleiss having previously expressed grudging admiration for the ASM Consortium it's clear that human factors engineering is fast becoming a crucial area of potential competitive advantage for process automation vendors.