Cisco Partnership Headlines Emerson Wireless News

Sept. 11, 2007
For a largely invisible networking technology, industrial wireless sure is showing some serious punch lately.

Emerson Process Management shared success stories and unveiled wireless initiatives on several new fronts at its Global Users Exchange 2007 conference and exhibition held this week at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, near Dallas.

“By delivering a combined wireless architecture from Emerson and Cisco, we are enabling our process manufacturing customers to deploy flexible, scalable and safe wireless solutions and mobility applications in rugged plant environments.” Maciej Kranz of Cisco on his company’s strategic alliance with Emerson Process Management.

Emerson not only extended its PlantWeb architecture with a variety of new Smart Wireless solutions, it also unveiled a partnership with Cisco to deliver open-standard solutions for plant network-level wireless applications. Perhaps most important, Emerson reported on seven end users who have implemented its wireless solutions and achieved significant efficiency gains, time and labor savings, and other benefits.

“A year ago, we launched In-Plant Smart Wireless Solutions and introduced our vision of the open, wireless, digital plant,” said John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management. “We’re now delivering on the wireless roadmap.”

Though users have been taking advantage of its wireless field products since the company started shipping them in December 2006, Emerson reports the market is now ready to deploy higher-performance wireless plant networks and the applications that run on them.

“Networks and mobility are dramatically transforming our customers’ businesses and in-plant processes,” said Maciej Kranz, vice president of marketing for Cisco’s wireless business unit. “By delivering a combined wireless architecture from Emerson and Cisco, we are enabling our process manufacturing customers to deploy flexible, scalable and safe wireless solutions and mobility applications in rugged plant environments.”

Emerson launched its Smart Wireless system at the field-network level last year. These self-organizing wireless field networks were designed to be easily installed and deliver value without investing in a plant-wide wireless infrastructure. Smart Wireless has demonstrated high reliability in the field by using IEEE 802.15.4 with added channel-hopping and the Time-Synchronized Mesh Protocol (TSMP).

Temperature, Level, Vibration Measuring

For example, PPG Lake Charles, Lake Charles, La., used Emerson’s wireless equipment to perform temperature profiling of plant steam headers, redundant level measurement on caustic tanks and vibration monitoring of brine centrifuges. A multi-discipline team guided adoption of wireless at the facility, and the resulting Smart Wireless network now coexists with some other wireless systems.

“When Emerson first approached me with their industrial wireless solution and told me it was plug-and-play, I have to admit I laughed,” said Tim Gerami, PPG’s senior design engineer. “Nothing I’d seen so far was that easy, but I’m a believer now. Five minutes after installing it, the wireless network came to life, and it’s been there ever since.”

Water Flow, Grease System Monitoring

Wheeling Pittsburg Steel in Wheeling, W.V., uses Emerson’s Smart Wireless to help monitor and manage coiling water flow and grease system health in its hot strip mill, and to handle cooling water flowing to work rolls in its roughing mill. Secondary systems had needed diagnostics to minimize unscheduled downtime and improve production and quality, but Wheeling found that wired devices were too difficult to install and maintain in this congested, hot environment. However, it was possible wireless components could do these jobs, and since they were installed, the steelmaker reports that downtime was nearly eliminated and productivity improved by as much as 10%.

“We’re building an infrastructure that opens up opportunities for more applications,” said Gary Borani, Wheeling’s operations manager. “The result is better information from difficult-to-reach areas of the mill, and this is helping our personnel prevent unscheduled downtime, meet customers’ quality requirements and optimize productivity.”

Checking Chemical Heat in Moving Rail Cars

Emerson’s approach to wireless includes self-organizing mesh networks at the sensor level, complemented by Cisco’s Unified Architecture (wireless as well as wired) at the plant-network level. Click here to view larger architecture diagram.

Specialty chemicals manufacturer Croda, headquartered in East Yorkshire, U.K., reports that it’s using Smart Wireless for chemical temperature monitoring in its railcars. Rate-of-rise temperature monitoring is critical for safety and plant performance, but the continuously moving cars made hardwired measurement impractical, and it was dangerous for employees to climb on top of the railcars to perform these measurements, especially in winter. Smart Wireless enables Croda to perform early detection of potentially hazardous temperature rises of chemicals and eliminates manual readings. Also, railcar positions had no effect on the wireless self-organizing network’s performance, and line-of-sight wasn’t required. Besides eliminating operator trips to the top of the cars, early temperature detection meant early neutralization procedures, which improved plant safety.

“We’ve achieved savings of $14,600 per year in reduced operations and maintenance costs,” said Denny Fetter, Croda’s I&E designer. “However, our incalculable savings were in increased safety.”

Pump Monitoring Where Hardwiring Can’t Go

Milford Power, Milford, Mass., has implemented Smart Wireless to monitor its remote pumping facilities, which would have been cost-prohibitive with hardwiring due to distance and logistics. The power company reported its 12 devices were communicating within two hours of initial installation, and that it saved $75,000 in installation and capital costs. The new Smart Wireless-based system communicates easily in a dense environment with many obstructions, and its wireless communication weren’t interrupted even when a new building was erected in the middle of the network. Smart Wireless helps Milford prevents freeze damage to its water pumping and circulation equipment, which previously cost the plant $20,000 per incident.

“We looked at various technologies and selected the Emerson,” said Cliff Esmiol, Milford maintenance supervisor. “The easy, flexible, self-organizing network that could be installed and operational in a very short time was especially important. This is an excellent solution that works well, is easy to install and very easy to expand.”

New Smart Wireless Products

To further aid its wireless users, Emerson announced four primary Smart Wireless products at this year’s Global Users Exchange. These components will soon join the firm’s wireless pressure, flow, level and temperature field devices, as well as its system integration products— the 1420 wireless gateway, AMS Device Manager native interface, and ROC oil-and-gas wireless gateway. This week’s newly unveiled devices include:

  • CSI 9420 Machinery Health Transmitter, which is a wireless vibration transmitter that monitors mechanical equipment and delivers predictive diagnostics for improved reliability and plant safety. CSI 9420 connects to any machine, and it wirelessly delivers vibration information via PlantWeb. Configuration, diagnostics and alerts are available in AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. Vibration data is also available in data historians or any control system for trending and analysis with other process parameters. Besides measuring overall vibration, CSI 9420 includes PeakVue technology for advanced bearing diagnostics.
  • DeltaV, Version 10.3, digital automation system consists of a new Delta V release that’s designed to work with Smart Wireless technology. In this new version, the 1420 gateway becomes a node on the DeltaV control network, permitting it to be auto-sensed and auto-configured in the DeltaV Explorer. Also, HART alerts from WirelessHART devices are passed directly through to the AMS Suite Device Manager software, eliminating the need for an additional Ethernet network.
  • RCS Microcor wireless transmitter from Emerson and Rohrback Cosasco Systems (RCS) enables high-speed communication of corrosion rate data. RCS Microcor integrates with Emerson’s Smart Wireless offerings, so corrosion information from the transmitter is available to automation system, where it can be logged, trended and analyzed along with other process data. Corrosion information also is available via the AMS Suite, which extends AMS’ predictive diagnostics coverage to corrosion. RCS Microcor provides corrosion rates in any process media at speeds approaching real time. This wireless transmitter operates as a node in Smart Wireless’ self-organizing network with other wireless devices, or it can be configured as a part of an independent network of corrosion monitors.  
  • ROC800-Series remote operations controller and its ROC800 smart, remote wireless interface card enables ROC800 to support wireless field networks. The interface card allows ROC800-Series to communicate directly with any mix of up to 30 wireless temperature transmitters or wireless pressure transmitters over the mesh field network. Emerson reports this delivers cost savings when used for monitoring process variables that may be located up to 200 meters away from the RTU.
  • Rosemount 702 discrete wireless transmitter installs and commissions quickly and provides users with a cost-effective way to access information. Its applications include level and environmental spill prevention, personnel safety and plant equipment status. The 702 also supports a variety of non-powered switch types, with single- or dual-channel capacity and is hazardous-area approved. Fully compatible with existing Smart Wireless networks, 702 provides the same, rich HART diagnostic data, 7-to-15-year SmartPower battery life, and reliable and secure performance.