Photo by Keith Larson
“Plants are more connected, more automated and are running longer between maintenance and shutdown intervals. And digitalization is changing all of their processes.” Honeywell’s Jason Urso took HUG attendees on his annual tour of recent and forthcoming innovations.

Honeywell technology easing transformative efforts

June 20, 2023
Honeywell’s Jason Urso took HUG attendees on his annual tour of recent and forthcoming innovations.

The only challenge bigger than coming up with breakthroughs in the first place is surpassing those iconic victories.

Just like Rocky Balboa training to recapture his “Eye of the Tiger,” Honeywell Process Solutions is celebrating many technical anniversaries this week at the 2023 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) conference in Orlando, Fla., but it’s also building on and expanding beyond past innovations to help its customers digitalize, transform and optimize in the future.

For instance, a parade of experts presenting the technology overview on HUG’s opening day were led by Jason Urso, CTO of Honeywell’s Connected Enterprise business group. “The world is changing faster than ever,” said Urso. “Plants are more connected, more automated and are running longer between maintenance and shutdown intervals. And digitalization is changing all of their processes.”

Urso reported that HUG’s “Transformation Optimized” theme includes four main aspects:

• Capital project execution in less time with reduced risk;

• Continuous evolution that allows systems to evolve indefinitely, while protecting their existing investments;

• Superior operations that make every day the best day of production; and

• Sustainability that reduces carbon emissions.

“Faster and lower-cost execution of capital projects, simplified engineering and reduced risk are achievable with our Experion Process Knowledge System’s (PKS) Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE) along with mass standardization of cabinets, cables and software-configurable I/O modules,” explained Urso. “Engineering is simplified and modular construction is enabled by deploying Experion PKS I/O HIVE in production areas. This means less wiring due to just a few faulter-tolerant Ethernet (FTE) cables going back to the controls area. Meanwhile, Experion PKS Control HIVE reduces risk by creating digital twins of equipment and processes, which require less configuration and alarm rationalization time, and can enable self-healing and autonomous recovery. This is how Experion PKS Control HIVE optimizes transformation.”

Cells in the hive

Brian Reynolds, CTO of Projects & Automation Solutions (PAS) at Honeywell Process Solutions, reported that Experion PKS HIVE is already deployed at multiple sites, where it relies on several types of hardware. These include Universal I/O, Universal Marshalling, CN100 controller for Series C IO HIVE, OneWireless access points, and the upcoming Control Network Module.

“In the past, we worked with a greenfield chemical plant producing polyethylene, and it deployed 28 C300 controllers, 83 Universal Process Cabinets (UPC), and a fiber-optic, star-based network topology,” said Reynolds. “However, when we revisited how we would deploy the same system capabilities with Experion PKS HIVE, they reduced the controllers they needed by 50%, cut their fiber-optic and other network infrastructure requirements by 90%, and reduced the control cabinets they needed by 80%. This was an overall, six-to-one reduction in the infrastructure they required. It increases control capacity without having to reengineer the whole system and gets users off the critical path. By decoupling hardware and software, Experion PKS HIVE reduces risk, maintenance costs and unplanned downtime.”

Urso added that Experion PKS HIVE’s decoupling capability lets users continuously evolve their installed bases, such as upgrading stations or swapping boards, with few if any of the former service interruptions that used to disrupt their operations. “Now, they can swap boards from High-Performance Process Manager (HPM) to Enhanced HPM (EHPM) devices or to EHPMX and C300PM controllers that have all the same functions as EHPM, and preserve all HPM and PMIO wiring for regulatory, sequential, batch and multivariable control—but also provide 50% greater data access.”

In addition, C300 HIVE IO can communicate with other fieldbuses and communication protocols, as well as move Local Control Network (LCN) node types and LCN networks to the Experion LCN (ELCN). “This lets users complete their transition from TDC to Experion,” added Urso. “We’ll be doing even more of this next year.”

Digital twin deliverance

To help users with this year’s digital transformations, Honeywell showcased its Advanced Migration Team (AMT). “It’s usually very time consuming to capture and validate data before redistributing it for analysis,” explained Cindy Bloodgood, senior offering management director in HPS’ Lifecycle Solutions and Services (LSS) division. “Consequently, AMT is reducing the time and labor required collect the necessary data, create the digital twin and assure its fidelity, accuracy and safety. Users report this can cut their efforts in half.”

Similarly, the company launched Honeywell Digital Prime this week, which is a cost-effective, cloud-based, digital twin for tracking, managing and testing process control changes and system modifications throughout the lifecycles of their equipment, systems and processes. Digital Prime lets users perform frequent tests to get more accurate results and reduce reactive maintenance.

“Time is a resource like any other, and Honeywell Digital Prime saves it,” said Tiffany Barnes, senior offering manager in the LSS division at HPS. “Users say they want to keep using digital twins, but they can take weeks to engineers and keep in sync. Likewise, management of change (MoC) can automate some tasks, but users often have to wait to test and deploy them on live systems, which can be costly and risky, too. Barnes reported that Digital Prime solves these difficulties because it’s a clone domain, so it’s not costly, and provides a low-risk space for safely planning and deciding on courses of action. “Because it’s an agile, cloned environment, Digital Prime can handle multiple tasks, and even allow individual users to set up different accounts and project versions to work on,” explained Barnes. “We’re saying that, ‘Digital Prime saves you time.’”

Optimizing actions earlier

Urso reported that Honeywell is further enabling superior unit and plant operations with increasingly digitalized and autonomous capabilities. For example, its Profit Suite APC/RTO software reduces variability and drives optimal production, while its Honeywell Forge Performance+ software sustains those gains. Developed in partnership with Microsoft, Forge Performance+ includes:

• Real-time performance management;

• Optimizes limits and deviations;

• Provides guided diagnostics with root-cause analytics;

• Delivers predictive analytics for process deviations; and

• Performs intelligent searches and exploratory analytics.

Meanwhile, Honeywell’s Plantwide Optimizer software carries out planning, process engineering, operations, blending and other functions. It also works in conjunction with Honeywell Forge Asset Performance Management software, which allows users to anticipate and act on issues before they accumulate into larger problems.

To bring in data for these analytics tools, Honeywell also released its Versatilis Equipment Health Monitoring (EHM) platform this week, which is a low-cost, wireless sensor that can acquire 20 different parameters, and serve in conjunction with asset performance management (APM) programs. It can work with several wireless protocols, including Bluetooth and Long-Range, Wide-Area Network (LoRaWAN).

To provide electronic work instructions and other input, HPS also showcased its Honeywell Integrated Field Mobile app for tablet PCs, smart phones and other interfaces, and Honeywell Safety Watch wearable module that can display shift details and safety alerts, list tools required for tasks, and navigate users to devices they’re seeking, according to Rohan McAdam, senior engineering flow at HPS. “For operations techs and their performance, controls and their data are becoming a co-pilot,” said McAdam. “They can even access notes and drawings for equipment they want to fix and videos about how to do it.”

To enhance the abilities of these data-driven co-pilots, Graeme Laycock, user experience (UX) director at HPS, added that it’s integrating generative AI-driven HMIs to pull in and analyze more data, and serve up operator recommendations. Similarly, Honeywell’s new Manufacturing eXellence Platform (MXE) is a modular software package that enables deployment of historian and data analytics results without having to use a complex architecture.

“MXE can visualize production, provide real-time HMI, weighing and dispensing data, recipes, work instructions, electronic batch records, and batch reporting,” said Alicia Kempf, senior engineering manager for Project Automation Solutions (PAS) at HPS. “It also integrates with SAP and other MES solutions, and can track user credentials, too.”

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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