Highlights from the 2007 HUG Symposium

June 14, 2007
Our E-Show Daily coverage of this year's event in Phoenix includes reports on the presentations, case studies and panel discussions given during the technical conference for industry professionals.

Monday, June 11, 2007

OneWireless proclaimed universal, simple, efficientHoneywell introduced its long-awaited wireless system today at the Honeywell Users Group Americas Symposium in Phoenix. Dubbed OneWireless, the offering from Honeywell is a mesh network that supports multiple wireless-enabled applications and devices within a single environment. OneWireless supports multiple industrial protocols (e.g., HART, Modbus, OPC) simultaneously, providing a single wireless network that is simple to manage and efficient to operate.

"This is what customers have been requesting," said Honeywell Director of Business Development Dave Kaufman, "because they want to both protect their investment in multiple legacy application protocols and benefit from the latest technology and wider range of applications." Kaufman went on to say, "Honeywell is committed to complying with the SP100 standard as it emerges and to providing an easy migration mechanism to the final standard for customers who deploy the current version of OneWireless."

"This is a global launch," added Jeff Becker, director of global wireless business. "These products have been certified for shipment and use anywhere, in any country."

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Videocast: OneWireless solutions
This brief video shows how companies such as Nucor Steel already are using OneWireless architecture to satisfy application needs in the most demanding of process environments.

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Bolick outlines company vision for Honeywell faithful
Amid sound, lights and patter from a semi-virtual emcee named "Franz" (self-described as the brother of "The Governator"), Honeywell Process Systems President Jack Bolick this morning opened the 32nd annual Honeywell U.S. User Group meeting at the Arizona Biltmore resort and hotel in Phoenix.

Bolick began his presentation by describing Honeywell’s vision in terms of "four key things that I’ve seen evolving since industry has moved away from proprietary distributed control to more open systems architectures."

First, said Bolick, "Start with customer-required outcomes, not the hardware. We have to think of what issues are keeping customers awake at night." Focusing on these customer needs requires a global enterprise solution enabled by an open architecture, he said. "As we have come to the open systems of the Internet and intranets, we see all kinds of new opportunities developing. This kind of system can open up facilities, not just from top to bottom, but also across multiple facilities and the entire enterprise."

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Safety, reliability, efficiency keynote Honeywell deliverables
Introduced as a very powerful former engineer who had gone over to the Dark Side (as in marketing), Jason Urso presented the annual Honeywell Process Solutions Technology Update and Roadmap at this morning’s plenary session of the Honeywell User Group Americas 2007 Symposium.

His theme this year was how Honeywell products, systems, software and services ensure safety, increase reliability and improve efficiency for their customers. He called these three issues the fundamental pillars to achieve operational excellence, and said that this was Honeywell’s mission.

Urso talked of safety, and pronounced that Honeywell’s safety systems are designed to improve emergency response, reduce human error, reduce unexpected equipment failures as well as maintain stable control. “Process safety incidents are usually preceded by events which can be detected and prevented,” he noted.

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Process safety: From failure problem to control problem
Increasing levels of automation, combined with increased system complexity, is leading to new types of safety problems—and the need for new ways of dealing with them, said Dr. Nancy Leveson, MIT professor of aeronautics, astronautics and engineering systems, in her keynote address to the Honeywell User Group Americas 2007 Symposium this morning.

"Increasingly, accidents are occurring even though nothing failed," she explained. "Instead, problems arise in the system design and in the interaction of system components."

Leveson attributed the growing problem to interactive complexity and increasingly tight coupling of system components—which is further compounded by computers and software.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Creative thinking streamlines cut-over at Frontier refinery
All in all, it was a good problem to have. Frontier’s El Dorado refinery in Kansas was setting production records even as plans to add capacity kicked into gear. The problem was that the current rack room, filled with 1980s-era TDC 2000 I/O and controllers, had to be upgraded and relocated to make room for a new vacuum tower.

Given recent demand—and margins!—in the refining industry, shutting down the crude unit was unacceptable, and the migration team had to find a way to seamlessly transfer the control infrastructure to the new architecture, with nary a glitch in ongoing operations.

Here in Phoenix at the annual gathering of the Honeywell User Group Americas, Leland Borgett, Jeff Strecker and Tom Clark took the stage to explain how their five-person team successfully performed their “covert cut-over,” so named for its minimal impact on ongoing operations.

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ALON USA boosts process safety, efficiency
This six-minute videocast from the Process Automation Media Network shows how ALON USA’s Big Springs refinery is taking advantage of the latest Honeywell technologies—including wireless, integrated safety, and release 3.01 of the Experion Process Knowledge System to improve safety, efficiency and asset reliability.

Among the safety improvements implemented at ALON USA’s Big Springs refinery are portable user interfaces that allow field techs to view the same graphics as their control room counterparts.

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Honeywell teams with Krohne for new flowmeter offering
While much of the attention yesterday was garnered by its OneWireless announcement, Honeywell also announced Monday its entry into the flowmeter market, punctuating the company’s commitment to measurement technologies iterated by Honeywell Process Solutions President Jack Bolick in his opening comments. “The field is very important to Honeywell,” Bolick said.

The new VersaFlow line of high-performance flowmeters also marks an important relationship with Krohne, the German maker of process instrumentation with more than 80 years’ experience in flowmeter design and manufacturing. Krohne will make the VersaFlow line to Honeywell’s standards and Honeywell will distribute and support it through its existing sales and distribution channels.

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ExxonMobile's Dave Otto

Boyes talks turkey with User Group leadership
In this 11-minute video update, live from the Honeywell User Group Americas 2007, Control’s Editor Walt Boyes discusses the evolving importance of user groups in our industry with Enterprise Products’ Randy Underwood and ExxonMobil’s Dave Otto, chair and co-chair, respectively, of the Honeywell User Group.

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Documentation key to power industry’s latest cyber security standards
If you thought your process control systems were excluded from the NERC’s definition of “critical cyber assets,” think again. Today at the Honeywell User Group gathering, Barry Ingold, from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, presented a detailed look at the implications of the new cyber security standards from the North American Reliability Council, a quasi-governmental body that oversees and makes standards for the power transmission and generation industries.

He noted that the original “Urgent Action Standard 1200” specifically excluded distributed control and and other control systems in the definition of what constituted a “critical cyber asset.” Effective a year ago, however, Ingold said, the NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection committee (NERC CIP) released an entirely new version of Urgent Action Standard 1200. “This time,” Ingold said, “the definitions no longer exclude control systems.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

'Edge protection' a first layer of defense-in-depth security
"CERN, the European physics lab that was the birthplace of the World Wide Web, tested 59 different PLCs they owned and found that they had huge numbers of failures in those controllers," said control system security expert Eric Byres in a presentation to some 150 attendees here in Phoenix at the Honeywell Users Group Americas 2007 Symposium.

"PLCs were not designed for security," Byres continued. "No sane IT department allows unprotected PCs or laptops, so why are PLCs immune?"

So, when he was the director of the internet security lab at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Byres started a program to design a micro-firewall for what he calls "edge devices" like PLCs, field controllers, field instruments and final control elements.

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Videocast: Cyber security interview with Kevin Staggs
Kevin Staggs, Honeywell global security architect, sits down with Walt Boyes, editor-in-chief of CONTROL, to discuss the changing security landscape for process control systems.

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Videocast: Dramatic efficiency, quality improvements for Canadian papermaker
This videocast from the Process Automation Media Network shows how Catalyst's Elk Falls integrated paper mill on Vancouver Island in British Columbia uses advanced control and optimization techniques to eke out multimillion savings while simultaneously improving product quality. Dwight Anderson, senior process controls engineer, explains the flexible optimization technologies from Honeywell are helping Catalyst respond with agility to changing business conditions.

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Worsley Alumina designs luxury suite for control room operators
"We love to see our operators in action, just like our sports teams. We love them when they do well. We get frustrated with them when they make mistakes," said Arnold Oliver of the Worsley Alumina refinery in Western Australia. "Unfortunately," he added, "the similarity ends there. We don’t take the same kind of care of them that we do of our sports heroes."

In an attempt to take better care of operators and ultimately improve process efficiency, Worsley management challenged its process control group with this task: Create an environment where process operators can perform optimally.

To meet the challenge, Worsley developed the Advanced Process Management concept, which included a centralized control room, better alarm management, new simulation facilities and implementation of advanced process control strategies. The project was implemented by an integrated team of Honeywell, Worsley and design consultants.

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How Shell E&P assesses and addresses control system security risks
Closely tied to Shell’s current Smart Field initiative--to continuously optimize oil and gas production and recovery--is the company’s drive to ensure security of its global assets, began Dan McDougall of Shell Exploration and Production in his address this morning to the Honeywell User Group Americas 2007 Symposium.

"Enterprise IT security doesn’t work unless everybody follows the same rules from Brunei to the Gulf of Mexico to Europe," he said. "But in the process control domain, we have more flexibility because we have that firewall between the process and the corporate environment."

In order to better communicate the relative importance of control system security to asset managers, Shell links its security assessments to the overall issue of technical integrity, McDougall explained, including risk assessment and management; defense-in-depth, with accountability at the asset level; and embedded audit and review processes.

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System migration plan features on-the-fly control network split
At one of Tuesday’s “Lunch and Learn” sessions at HUG Americas 2007, Eric Lau of Petro-Canada and Sigurd Imgrund, project manager for Honeywell, told the story of a control network split and system upgrade at Petro-Canada’s Edmonton, Alberta, facility. A complex project at best, this one was complicated by the fact that Petro-Canada needed it done while the refinery was up and running and while other construction was taking place on the site.

The Edmonton refinery has been growing rapidly over the last two years and needed to expand its capacity. At the same time, Petro-Canada decided to convert its operations to 100% oil sands, or synthetic fuel refining. In addition, the company needed to build a foundation for further control system migration from Honeywell TPS to Experion PKS.

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