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Safety Integration, Embedded Batch Featured in New System Releases

June 17, 2008
Efficiency Translates to Safer, More Reliable and More Profitable Plants

“Honeywell works closely with its User Group and the many Customer Advisory Boards set up globally. This has made it possible to provide the new solutions we are introducing at User Group this week,” said Harsh Chitale, vice president of strategy and global marketing for Honeywell Process Solutions, in introducing R310, the latest release of the company’s Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS).

“Experion was originally designed to streamline overall operations, and this latest version expands upon that principle by eliminating the need for intermediate devices to relay important information to the nerve center of the plant,” Chitale explained. “This release is the most efficient system of its kind, and that efficiency translates to safer, more reliable and more profitable plants.”

“Our approach is to provide peer-to-peer controller integration with system segregation.” Honeywell’s Harsh Chitale explained the company’s implementation of operational and control integration between the company’s C300 process controllers and Safety Manager over fault-tolerant Ethernet.
Chitale also discussed the release of Safety Manager R131, which now allows plant operators to carefully coordinate process control, safety shutdown and fire-and-gas mitigation steps.

“Honeywell’s approach to safety is not about product,” Chitale said. “It is the processes you adopt and how you stage and commission the system that finally determines the SIL level. We provide products, yes. But we also provide the expertise to help you produce an entire safety system.”

The newest Safety Manager platform provides crucial safety and fire-and-gas information, such as pre-shutdown alerts, directly to operators using a common display. This allows Experion to provide operators with plant-wide SIS point data, diagnostics and system information, as well as alarms and events, operator displays and sequence-of-event information. It also reduces overall system and maintenance costs by reducing the amount of installed field sensor equipment.

“We believe in a check-and-balance system, with operational and control integration, application data access and secure communications—all while keeping safety and control hardware separate,” Chitale said.

“There are some functions where a SIL-rated transmitter can be used for both the process variable and the safety-instrumented function,” Erik de Groot, Honeywell’s marketing manager for safety systems, said. “Some customers require double- and triple-redundant field instruments, but in some cases that is not necessary, and where it is not, it can lead to significant savings.”

Kent Clark Tours HUG Demo Room

Playing to the event’s Everyday Super Hero theme, Kent Clark—HUGman’s not-so-mild-mannered alter-ego—toured the demonstration room floor of the Honeywell User Group. View an eight-minute video of his close encounter with the latest innovations in process automation technology, services and solutions.

Embedded Batch in the Controller

Honeywell also introduced new integrated batch functionality in its new Experion Batch Manager that can significantly increase production and reliability for specialty chemical and life sciences companies.

The system’s embedded batch functionality allows users to execute batches at the controller level instead of using a separate server. “The high-reliability feature actually means fully redundant batch controllers,” said Honeywell’s vice president of technology, Jason Urso. “In the event of a problem, controller switchover is nearly instantaneous.”

Faster batch execution means a reduction of approximately 80% in phase translation time, Urso said, “and this can lead to 15% to 20% more production.” The system also is more reliable, less complex and easier to maintain. One beta customer calculated it would earn several million dollars in additional revenue by moving to a controller-based batch execution system. “Early adopters have reported 8% to 10% higher throughput already,” Chitale noted.

Sim City: C300 Simulation with UniSim

Experion also features embedded integration capability with Honeywell’s UniSim simulation tool, and it can be used to train operators on processes before they are implemented in a plant. “You can test your logic and your loops while you are designing them,” Chitale said.  “This can remove an entire step in acceptance testing and validation.”

This approach can help prepare operators for normal and abnormal operations and improves plant reliability by reducing operator errors. Experion’s comprehensive simulation capability also provides significant engineering efficiency by testing control strategies, displays and procedures before applying them on live processes. “This does not have to be the UOP Master Simulation Models,” Chitale said, referring to the announcement yesterday that the Master Simulation Models were available for C300 Simulation. “We can use UniSim to model any process. It is just that for those processes where UOP Masters are available, the simulations are even more precise.”

Turn Off That Blasted Buzzer!

Another new feature of Experion is a unique alarm-shelving utility that allows operators to better manage and prioritize alarms on their displays. This capability is based on several years of collaboration between Honeywell and the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium in the interest of improving operator effectiveness during abnormal situations that can lead to process upsets. “This, of course, doesn’t alleviate the need for good, solid alarm management,” said Scott Hillman, Honeywell’s director of marketing for greenfield solutions, and a longtime safety and alarm management expert. “At the end of the day, your alarm system must still be rational. What alarm-shelving does is give your operator some breathing room.”

We Talk to Everybody

As Jason Urso announced in his roadmap discussion yesterday, the R310 release of Experion also provides a reliable interface with third-party subsystems to reduce the overall cost of ownership. The Process Control Data Interface uses the universally accepted MODBUS TCP protocol to control devices such as remote terminal units, terminal servers, analyzers and scales.

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