Technology transforming process automation

June 22, 2015
Tech overview highlights smart data, reduced project and migration risk, and more intelligent instrumentation.
About the author
Jim Montague is the Executive Editor at Control and Control Design 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.

Sometimes past experience is the best tool for successfully handling future challenges.

Sure, it's important to know the details of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, smart interfaces and other cutting-edge technologies. But expertise in process control and automation is what gives users, integrators and their suppliers the insight and perseverance to precisely apply these latest components and software. This is how Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) helps users secure the best possible production data, improve decisions, optimize applications and continue to drive profitability.

"This is a transformative time in process controls, rivaling the open process systems introduced in the early 1990s," said Bruce Calder, new CTO and vice president of HPS, in the "Honeywell Technology Overview and New Innovations" session on the opening day of Honeywell User Group (HUG) Americas 2015, June 22 in San Antonio, Texas. "Today, the words are cloud, big data, predictive analytics and IoT, but this situation is similar to when Honeywell pioneered and invented the DCS in the early 1970s. For instance, our Experion PKS integrates input from many sources, which is what big data and the cloud aim to do, and our Matrikon OPC solution gives us the world's leading contender for enabling IoT in the process industries. And all these devices are producing lots more data, so the question for everyone is how to manage it.

"This is all part of the digital transformation that Honeywell has been leading for years. So Experion and our Orion interfaces enable IoT because they collect and coordinate vast amounts of data, turn it into actionable information and turn process operators into profit operators. At the same time, Honeywell enables customers to retain their intellectual property assets as they modernize and do it safely, reliably and efficiently."

Smart data for better decisions

The first technology talk, "The Power of Digital Transformation and Smart Operations," featured Rohan McAdam, HS engineering fellow, and Mike Brown, HPS process application consultant, who showed how Honeywell solutions can help users analyze today's huge data volumes and extract intelligence for the best possible decisions.

"Today, the words are cloud, big data, predictive analytics and IoT…This is all part of the digital transformation that Honeywell has been leading for years.” Bruce Calder, new CTO and vice president, Honeywell Process Solutions, on the opening day of Honeywell User Group (HUG) Americas 2015, June 22 in San Antonio, Texas.

"Experion and Orion's graphics are just the tip of the iceberg because they also coordinate multiple information sources and even incorporate DCS limits into the console," explained McAdam. "This lets users know where their process should be without having to consult multiple sources, but now we've just added Operator Touch Panel (OTP) to give users a rich, intuitive and direct interaction with their interfaces.

"Similarly, our Orion Collaboration Station combines DCS, business network and people so they can share data, view remote individuals and jointly collaborate on troubleshooting, planning and optimization tasks. We're also addressing users' mobility needs, providing the connectivity needed to get the right information to the right people at the right time and giving users real-time information outside the control room."

Brown reported that HPS' Intuition Executive also manages KPIs for production, safety, quality and efficiency, so users can secure more of the information they need to take action. However, now they're collaborating across their organizations’ enterprise. "Previously, users had to put data in central internal repositories, but Intuition Executive deploys a plant-semantic data model, which allows them to build models of their facility and its operations; connect directly to individual assets, people and data sources; and go to them and extract the information they need, but still leave those sources in place. This is the easiest and most effective way to get this data, which users can then compare to targets."

Reliance Industries Ltd. operates many refineries and plants, so it needed to connect about 40 base-level information systems and thousands of plant-specific dashboards when it recently sought to improve overall operating performance, Brown said. These systems contained production, maintenance, inventory and health and safety data from their applications and facilities. Reliance implemented HPS real-time or near real-time performance management software; learned immediately how its plants' present operating performance were meeting targets; and addressed problems, launched corrective actions and changed work practices much faster.

"We have by far the most comprehensive set of solutions for smart applications, and we have the best domain expertise for allowing users to deploy solutions for accessing their whole applications," added Brown.

In fact, HPS has enhanced its well-known DynAMo alarm management software, added operations management capabilities and rechristened it as the DynAMo Alarm and Operations Management Suite. Along with alert and alarm functions, DynAMo now can integrate operations logbooks, shift operation instructions, operation monitoring information and other useful content, and provide it outside the control room. "The operations monitoring section can deliver to an entire operations team and show how an application's performance is acting against limits to achieve safer and more profitable operations," explained Brown.

Rohan reported that UniSim Operator Competency Suite software has been similarly enhanced for richer, more realistic training. Brown added that UniSim now has curriculum and tutor additions to help students learn required competencies.

Reduce risk while evolving

The second technology talk, "System Evolution and Reducing Project or Client Risk," was presented by Paul McLaughlin, HPS chief development engineer, Steve McGeorge, HPS global project marketing director for projects and automation solutions, and Ziad Kaakani, HPS technology director for lifecycle solutions and services.

"Honeywell balances the technology of the past with that of the future and uses both to create a unified solution," said McLaughlin. "We've never left customers stranded and we never will, but that's not enough because we also have to keep moving forward and continue innovating. There's no rip-and-replace and no reengineering intellectual property. We're just taking old technologies and refreshing them with new capabilities."

This is the philosophy that HPS employs to integrate and unify Experion PKS with new solutions, such as its Enhanced, High-Performance Process Management (EHPM) software, Lean Execution for Automation Projects (LEAP) initiative, C300 controllers and other solutions. As a result, Experion's controllers are learning to connect directly with integrated electrical devices (IEDs), so they no longer need to use an electrical control system.

To reduce missed deadlines and cost overruns on greenfield projects, McLaughlin reported that HPS deploys LEAP, which decouples many automation tasks from the physical construction. Installation, integration, configuration and testing tasks that used to be done in sequence can now be done in parallel, which saves huge amounts of time and takes much of the risk out of doing them onsite and closer to deadline.

LEAP also is combining HPS and UOP's expertise to build new, pre-engineered Experion templates for key process units.

McLaughlin added that LEAP principles also can be used for migrating existing applications because HPS and integrators can use cloud-based computing for offline database migrations. LEAP also helps developers create equipment templates for updating their SCADA applications. "LEAP is not all or nothing," explained McLaughlin. "Users can employ as much cloud-based engineering, virtualization or Universal I/O as they require. LEAP for SCADA can help reduce commissioning time and provide visibility into earlier well applications, for example, and then let them easily add more wells."

Coping with multiple wells and multiple pads at those wells is enabled by HPS’ new RTU 2020, which can run at up to 75 °C, maintains a lower power budget, has onboard HART I/O and will soon add expansion I/O to cover even more wells and pads.

To keep its customers and their solutions secure, Kaakani reported that, "Honeywell has the broadest solutions to protect people, applications, facilities and the environment. We design all our products with security in mind, and all of them go through threat-modeling exercises. Our security architects test their entry points so they'll be immune to hackers."

HPS has just launched its Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager software, which is a front-end dashboard to help users determine how at-risk their applications and facilities are for cyber security vulnerabilities. "This is a very intuitive, easy-to-use solution that shows risks and the action options that users can take," added Kaakani. "It has easily-understood notifications, alerts and warnings, and doesn't require users to be experts to manage their security risks."

On the scanning side, McGeorge reported that ZipLine is a newly launched scanning and measurement device for paper and plastic film inspection. It's more cost-effective than Honeywell's traditional QCS inspection systems, and it's also about 90% smaller, which means it can ship on one pallet. It can scan at 400 millimeters per second and up to 10 meters across, and can perform nuclear gauging, x-ray and infrared differential scanning.

Instrumentation grows more intelligent

The third technology talk, "Smart Instrumentation and Smarter Integration," was delivered by Martin Bragg, HPS CTO for engineered field solutions, and Phil Ng, HPS senior product manager for process measurement and control.

"We believe that control systems are only as good as the data in them, and today's users are looking for real-time analytics and dynamic control so they can secure accurate and reliable data, send it fast and achieve maximum utilization and minimum maintenance," said Bragg.

They highlighted simple, high-accuracy SmartLine transmitters from HPS, including new SmartLine pressure transmitters that have achieved 0.035% accuracy and 80-millisecond response times, and have modular components that can be plugged onto the transmitter to ease repairs. Modules include the display, terminal board, communications and pushbuttons. SmartLine is adding radar level gauges and has just released a guided-wave radar (GWR) version.

"Modular components mean that repairs that used to require eight hours of downtime now only need one hour of downtime," added Bragg.

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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