PSUG Highlights - Live from Rockwell Automation Automation Fair

Nov. 11, 2013
Our Editors Are in Houston Covering Rockwell Automation Automation Fair 2013. Here Are Event Highlights
As technology experts discussed emerging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, convergence, Big Data and analytics this week at Automation Fair, attendees also learned of a new source of network technology information: the Industrial IP Advantage community. Housed online at, the Industrial IP Advantage offers guides, case studies, technical white papers and online discussions on how Internet Protocol (IP) networking technologies can be used throughout the Connected Enterprise to boost productivity, efficiency and flexibility. Read more »Plants Find Powerful Ways to Boost Energy Efficiency
The University of Texas at Austin generates 100% of its electric power, steam and cooling for more than 150 buildings comprising 20 million square feet. Electricity, chilled water, steam, condensate recovery, water and sewer lines all run underground in truly redundant loop configurations through a network of tunnels throughout the campus. The university's 135 MW of combined heat and power operates with 88% fuel efficiency at 99.9998% reliability. But it hasn't always been this way. "17 years ago, we were operating at 62% efficiency," said Juan Ontiveros, P.E., executive director of utilities and energy management for the university, speaking at the Power and Energy Management Industry Forum this week. Read more »A Better Machine for the Connected Enterprise
At this week's Automation Fair, presented by Rockwell Automation in Houston, the Integrated Architecture booth was stuffed full of new products, from food-grade servo motors, drives and converters to the upgraded Dynamix 1444 Series system for condition monitoring, now with EtherNet/IP, and more. Seven existing Allen-Bradley ControlLogix isolated analog input/output (I/O) modules have been re-architected into three new designs with increased channel count, higher precision, faster response time and new interface capabilities. A newly enhanced FLEX I/O analog module, for example, is now HART 7.0-compliant, with an independent HART modem on each channel. Read more »Tides of Cost and Waves of Eco Concern
Shifting energy equations. Increasing environmental regulation. Accelerating demand for larger, multi-use ships. When it comes to designing high-performance, cost-effective diesel electric vessels, today's shipbuilders face daunting challenges. For each new challenge they face, they must find a solution that can withstand the rigors of a marine environment. This week at the Marine Industry Forum at Automation Fair, marine industry professionals offered insight into industry trends and best practices that help drive efficiency, flexibility and productivity across a ship, address current environmental demands, and discover how to lower total cost of ownership, whether it's a private fleet or Navy transport vessels. Read more »Chemical Makers Taking Steps to Corral Big Data
Newly abundant shale gas and the continued economic recovery are just two of the many positive developments affecting the specialty chemical industry. However, engineers and their companies still need some serious know-how to fully take advantage of these opportunities with the right data, analysis and tools, and by employing them in the right settings and at just the right times. Gordon Bordelon, principal consultant for chemical industry solutions at Rockwell Automation, outlined several chemical market trends and challenges for attendees of the Specialty Chemicals Industry Forum this week at Automation Fair, presented by Rockwell Automation in Houston. Read more »

Headlines from November 14, 2013

Smart Machines and Savvy Supply Chains
Manufacturers today want innovative machines that easily integrate into their plant-wide infrastructure. As a result, equipment and machine OEMs are responding with smart machines that seamlessly connect the factory floor with the enterprise. By using a single control and information platform, these machines can demonstrate an unsurpassed level of intelligence along with the ability to consume and generate information automatically. Read more »Rockwell Automation Showcases Oil & Gas Capabilities
It always helps to have a guide who can show you around—especially when you're one of more than 10,000 visitors trying to navigate all the innovative solutions being shown by close to 150 exhibitors at Automation Fair, presented by Rockwell Automation this week in Houston. This mission was successfully accomplished by the event's Oil and Gas pavilion, centrally located in the exhibit hall and serving as a vital clearinghouse for oil and gas industry professionals here to learn about Rockwell Automation's process control abilities and technologies. The booth provided an overview of the company's process know-how and experience. Read more »Time Is Crucial for Oil & Gas Producers
For energy companies presenting at today's Oil & Gas Industry Forum at the Automation Fair, presented by Rockwell Automation this week in Houston, saving time is of the essence. Forum attendees learned how Petrobras is halving delivery time for its floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ships; how SINCI is helping speed decision-making on offshore rigs; and how ConocoPhillips is compressing small projects schedules using FEED methodologies normally reserved only for large-scale efforts. Petrobras, the Brazilian energy company, is planning on spending USD$106.9 billion on development from now until 2017 and much of that will be spent on the Santos Pre-Salt region, offshore. Read more »Connectivity Helps Automakers Pick Up the Pace
With rapid economic growth in many developing countries and recovery of Western economies, automakers everywhere are pressured to build more vehicles using less materials, energy and resources. Average model lifespan between refreshes is down to 2.2 years, and a given model is being built in an average of six to eight plants around the world, leading to an environment of constant retooling and recommissioning. "Manufacturing velocity is pressuring automakers and their suppliers to design, deploy and optimize more rapidly and efficiently than ever before," said Todd Montpas. Plants are expected to remain in production for 20 to 40 years. Read more »Industry Challenged by Air Quality Regs
The Energy & Power Management Industry Forum this week at Automation Fair presented by Rockwell Automation began with an overview of how environmental regulations are affecting industrial energy management strategies presented by Diane Fischer, air quality control services area leader, Black & Veatch. Fischer's expertise is air quality control, advising industry on compliance. "There are any number of regulations we could discuss," she said, "but since our time is limited, we'll focus on new boiler MACT and pending greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions regulations." Fischer readily acknowledged that regulations are not a pleasant topic in industrial circles. Read more »

Headlines from November 13, 2013

What's Your Company's Safety Maturity Index?
This week at the 2013 Automation Fair in Houston, Rockwell Automation introduced its Safety Maturity Index (SMI), a self-guided assessment tool drawn from studies, extensive private research, collaboration with cultural development experts, input from leading manufacturers and a wealth of its own experience as a provider of safety systems. The SMI tool is touted as a comprehensive measurement of performance. Read more »Food Processors Tackle Manufacturing Risk
"This is the first time in 200 years that emerging market countries will contribute more economic growth than the developed ones," began Rockwell Automation's Kris Dornan as he kicked off the Food and Beverage Industry Forum at this week's Automation Fair in Houston. Food companies in particular face opportunities and daunting challenges as more and more of the world's still growing population emerge from poverty and swell the ranks of the middle class. Read more »Kleenex Runs Better with PlantPAx
We had a real problem," said Kimberly-Clark engineering and technical leader Bob Kilas. "Our DCS systems were at the far edge of their lifecycle, with many obsolete parts that were expensive and hard to find. We knew we couldn't continue with them, but we believed that migrating to the latest platform upgrade would be costly and not necessarily give us better performance."Read more »Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth
As long as the intelligent and useful decisions get made, it doesn't matter over what physical or intangible avenue their supporting data travels, but they still need some kind of pathway. Fortunately, Rockwell Automation has long cultivated open networking, so it can now offer all the wired and wireless hooks—across in-plant networks and over the cloud—its customers need to realize the Connected Enterprise. Read more »Water Utilities Can Make Red Tape Pay
The Water/Wastewater Industry Forum, held today in Houston at the Automation Fair presented by Rockwell Automation, kicked off with a presentation of tips for maximizing disaster recovery funding by Jon Hoyle, president, Thompson Consulting Services, LLC. Hoyle has assisted some 250 state and local governments to apply for and administer disaster recovery funds.Read more »

Headlines from November 12, 2013

Rockwell Automation Aims to Connect the Enterprise
"We have thousands of assets with something to say, but are they being heard?" asked Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation, addressing representatives of the press and analyst community from around the globe at the company's Automation Perspectives event today. Rockwell Automation, now celebrating the 110th anniversary of its Allen-Bradley brand, has 22,000 employees in 80 countries and logged $6.35 billion in sales in its fiscal year 2013.Read more »Securing the Connected Value Proposition
The proliferation of Internet-enabled devices and the deployment of standard Ethernet across control systems have the potential for delivering tremendous benefits. What Rockwell Automation calls the Connected Enterprise allows substantive collaboration among people, plant-floor systems and enterprise applications. The connections facilitate collaboration to improve overall productivity and sustainability. Read more »Energy Revolution Leads Engineers to Work Smarter
Global energy supplies and demands are undergoing an unprecedented transformation as yesterday's fears of energy scarcity are replaced with a new era of energy abundance due to innovative practices in the oil and natural gas industry. Instrumentation and control engineers are matching those process innovations with their own refinements of methods for engineering, installing and commissioning systems. Read more »The Building Blocks of Plant Performance
While field device data, unified networks and effective visualization are powerful enabling technologies, plant optimization is more about the synergistic effects that the combination of the three can bring. That's the collective opinion of three keynote presenters at the Rockwell Automation Process Solutions Users Group meeting this morning in Houston: Todd Lucey, Barry Johnson and Lisa Garrison. Read more »PlantPAx Tools Simplify Oil Production
In complex, far-flung oil and gas applications, the power of simplicity can't be overestimated. For instance, French oil and gas producer Perenco recently undertook the largest surface redevelopment project of its onshore and offshore production operations in Gabon on the central west coast of Africa, which required it to build new infrastructures, and reorganize and coordinate numerous platforms, control facilities and industrial networks. Read more »

Headlines from November 11, 2013

Rockwell Automation Deepens Process Inroads
When it comes to factory and machine automation, Rockwell Automation is a longtime leader in both market and technology. But when it comes to process solutions—the traditional specialty of DCS suppliers—a fresh perspective and groundbreaking new technology have allowed Rockwell Automation to grow much more quickly than its competitors over the past several years, says John Genovesi.Read more »Supplier Alliance Secures Big Data for Users
Industrial networks are rapidly multiplying and diversifying, giving users access to big data sources, better analyses and wiser production and business decisions. However, closer and more numerous network ties can also leave users open to potential intrusions and attacks, according to Rick Esker, senior director of the Industry Solutions Group (ISG) at Cisco.Read more »Pipeline Integrator Unifies Control, Safety, Fire & Gas
For most of us, two birds with one stone would seem quite enough of a stretch. But system integrator Sirio Sistemi Elettronici (SSE) of Prato, Italy, reported it had taken down three in one throw of Rockwell Automation technology when it extended the control and safety capabilities of a crude oil transfer pipeline. The application included 70 kilometers of 38-inch pipe, one onshore master control unit and four remote terminal units (RTUs). Read more »Modular Approach Slashes Biopharm Time-to-Market
"Biopharm companies need reductions in capital expenditures, and they need more rapid transitions between product development and commercialization," says Barry Holtz. "They need facilities that start up quickly, are flexible, reusable and expendable with recoverable assets. This is a huge shift from the way things used to be." Holtz should know. He's CEO of G-Con Manufacturing and chief science and technology officer of Caliber Biotherapeutics. Read more »A New Benchmark for Process Safety
"Processes that are required to implement process safety systems need to identify risk, evaluate a strategy around each hazard and come up with a plan to minimize the risk of each hazard," said Julien Chouinard, business director, critical control systems, in the control and visualization business of Rockwell Automation. "Then you can talk about products."Read more »