It's great that so many tools are available to process automation professionals, but they still need creative and persistent users to apply them in order for digitalization to live up to its potential. This promise of digital transformation was more than fulfilled this week at the Emerson Global Users Exchange, when six presentations—and their presenters—won the best-in-track awards in the event's five traditional tracks and in a new category—Electrical Systems.
"This past July, the Emerson Global Users Exchange Board spent many hours reviewing slide decks and other materials from the more than 300 sessions presented, and selected just 21 as nominees for Best in Conference," explained Midhu Varghese, vice chairwoman of the Emerson Global Users Exchange Board.
This year's six winners were announced and celebrated during the traditional Thursday awards luncheon during the week-long Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio. The six winners were congratulated by Dave Imming, executive sponsor of Emerson Exchange, and Joel Holmes, chairman of the Emerson Global Users Exchange Board.
Solve & Support
HART-enabled wireless devices allow the tritium bottling facility at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) to gather lots of data quickly and conveniently, but sometimes the four available HART variables aren't enough. This session explained how to extract additional data, such as battery voltage from the AMS 9420 vibration transmitter via OPC and integrate it into DeltaV for analysis and preventive maintenance.
For each transmitter, the voltage parameter was mapped to the 1420 Gateway OPC server, which was accessed using DeltaV OPC Mirror. Values could then be added to the DeltaV database, and added to the historian, which allowed the values to be added to the OSlsoft PI System database for trending. Bringing the voltage parameter into DeltaV allows SRNS to predict battery life and apply predictive maintenance practices to prevent transmitter failure due to exhausted batteries.
Measure & Analyze
Hutchinson Utilities owns and operates a natural gas transmission pipeline in Minnesota. As new wells are tapped and introduced to the supply, gas composition can change. Hutchinson had to refund $1.8 million in over-billing of natural gas use during a two-year period due to a difference between its customer's volume flow measurement and its Coriolis mass flow measurement, which saw as much as a 7% difference due to changes in composition.
As a result, Hutchinson installed Micro Motion Gas Specific Gravity Meters (SGM) on interconnect stations to correct in real-time their mass flow measurement to a corrected gas standard volume flow measurement, and eliminate billing discrepancies. A 5% difference in gas specific gravity resulted in a 5% difference in volume measurement, which translates to $5,800 cost difference per day based on transmission of 30 million SCF/day.
Operate & Manage
ATCO's natural gas storage facility in Carbon, Alberta, has several manually operated isolation valves that change the flow path of the facility between four different modes of operation, including injection, withdrawal, compression and dew point control. For years, these isolation valves have been manually operated and logged by field personnel.
ATCO and Spartan's project transformed this manual effort into an automated process by leveraging several Emerson technologies, including a 1420 Wireless Gateway, Fisher 4320 Wireless Position Monitors, DeltaV DCS and human-centered design concepts. ATCO operations, engineering and marketing departments can now view one plant dashboard display with real-time valve status and plant flow mode. This update greatly reduced the manual efforts of the local operations team, and increased facility safety, accuracy, and visibility to remote management and engineering teams.
Nanaimo Forest Products' Harmac Pacific mill on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, manufactures Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp, but recognized that historical ways of conducting maintenance on control valves and instrumentation could be more efficient and less costly.
After consulting with Spartan Controls on AMS Suite technology and work practices, Harmac Pacific started with a 200-tag AMS implementation project to monitor the mill’s most critical valves.
As a result, maintenance practices at Harmac Pacific changed, and AMS Suite became the main tool for planning valve/instrumentation work in all mill areas. Work orders are now based on actual data, so maintenance resources are directed where needed most. All Harmac Pacific personnel--who also own the mill—have a stake in AMS Suite and support their new work process that's increasing reliability and reducing maintenance costs.
Business Management & Career Development
Accelerating retirement of the highly skilled technical workforce required to safety operate processes and facilities at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is requiring it to recruit and retain more top technical talent to build its next-generation workforce. Four years ago, a collaboration between SRNS executive engineering management and its human resources department led to the development of a unique Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP).
ELDP works with hiring managers across the Savannah River Site to determine current and future staffing needs. New hires also join peers going through various stages of the onboarding process, and engage in short-term technical assignments supporting multiple work groups during the onboarding process. ELDP has resulted in a 94% retention rate of young engineers, up from 40% or less just a few years ago.
BASF implemented a proactive solution to solve humidity issues in transformers, bus ducts, medium-voltage switchgear and MCC lineups. The inherent design of arc-rated equipment limits air flow in and out of the gear, which can lead to excess humidity buildup in the gear that can cause electrical faults and significant unscheduled outages.
As a result, BASF implemented IntelliSAW technology from Emerson that continuously monitors critical electrical assets. BASF installed temperature, partial discharge and humidity sensors, with data transferred to its DeltaV control system. BASF was able to increase reliability, lower maintenance costs, and avoid catastrophic failures due to unforeseen indicators.