Photo by Keith Larson
“We’ll use AI to identify gas-plume dynamics and calculate in real-time the amount of gas released.” Honeywell’s Jason Urso shared that a real-time handle on fugitive emissions is among the many benefits that Honeywell is delivering in its latest generation of digital tools.

Honeywell innovations target entire automation lifecycle

June 10, 2024
Honeywell’s Jason Urso shared that a real-time handle on fugitive emissions is among the many benefits that Honeywell is delivering in its latest generation of digital tools

When it seems like everything from dodgeballs to meteors are streaking towards your head, it’s good to have a friend who can tell you when and where to duck—and even how to turn what looks like disadvantages into advantages.

“We’re driving differently than years ago with sensors, connectivity and analytics that alert us when we’re drifting out of our lanes or when there’s a traffic jam ahead. In the same way, industrial plants are more connected than ever, and are gaining similar autonomies,” said Jason Urso, CTO Industrial Automation at Honeywell. “Digitalization is changing the ways all plants operate, and we’re keeping them ahead of the curve with capital project executions in less time and with lower risk by automating digital twins during commissioning to improve reliability; continuous evolution to achieve new benefits while simultaneously protecting decades of existing investments; and superior operations that let every user work like a 30-year expert and make every day their best day of production.”

Users can achieve these unprecedented gains by implementing the Experion PKS Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE), which is now faster, simpler, lower risk, less costly, more reliable, and uses new software tools to streamline migration projects. Urso reported that mass standardization can be achieved by using Honeywell’s Universal I/O modules and marshalling and Universal Process Cabinet (UPC) products, which simplify engineering due to standard wiring and controls that reduce or eliminate many traditional tasks. Likewise, they can interact with their Experion PKS Control HIVE and I/O HIVE counterparts in production areas to eliminate process engineering effort.

“Control HIVE delivers comprehensive flexibility by allowing any module to communicate with any controller,” explained Urso. “It also reduces project risk with a digital twin, allowing users to better manage operational flows, reduce factory acceptance tests (FAT) times, and reduce alarm rationalizations and control tuning tasks.”

Urso and host of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) colleagues presented their traditional and comprehensive technology overview on the opening day of the 2024 Honeywell Users Group in Madrid.

Swarm of HIVE successes

Beyond its gains with Universal I/O and marshalling, Experion PKS HIVE has also been buoyed by the recent release of the Control Network (CN) 100 module for Series C I/O HIVE, OneWireless access points, and other new CN modules, according to Brian Reynolds, CTO of projects and Honeywell Industrial Automation at HPS. He added that many of these Honeywell products will soon be supporting the Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) specification for classified areas.

“For instance, we recently worked on a greenfield polyethylene plant that had 28 C300 controllers and 83 Universal process cabinets on a fiber-optic, star-based network,” said Reynolds. “We found this plant was able to reduce its controllers by 50% by using Control HIVE, cut its fiber-optic and network infrastructure by 90%, and reduce its control cabinets by 80% by using UPCs and associated technologies.”

Traditional systems are costly because they’re designed ahead of time and then modified repeatedly as process designs change. Experion PKS HIVE lets users configure I/O and controls using software, giving users much more freedom with their projects. “If the need arises for more I/O, they can just add it to Experion HIVE, which can also reduce risk and unplanned downtime.”

Reynolds added that Control HIVE also has self-healing functions, which let users automatically spin up secondary back-ups and maintain more autonomous operations and recovery functions. “This allows users to replace components when it’s convenient and cost-effective for them,” he said. “Because its software is decoupled from its hardware, Experion PKS HIVE lets systems evolve without requiring large migrations. This is also how it provides faster project execution, lower costs, simplified project engineering and reduced project risk.”

Continuing migration support

Though it’s already devoted years to helping users migrate from their legacy TDC3000 controls to Experion, Urso reported this procedure is also getting easier. Introduced last year, users can upgrade stations to Experion TPS, and swap HPS boards to Enhanced High-Performance Manager (EHPM), EHPMX or C300PM modules.

“C300PM is an EHPMX, but it’s also a C300 controller that has the same functions as EHPM. However, it preserves all HPM and Process Manager I/O (PMIO) wiring, and enables regulatory, sequential, batch and multivariable control,” explained Urso. “It can also communicate with C300 HIVE I/O, talk to other smart I/O, and communicate with other integrated subsystems. We’re now at the last step of the TDC3000 to Experion migration journey because we can move Local Control Network (LCN) nodes to an Experion LCN (ELCN) on an Ethernet foundation.”

Likewise, Honeywell’s Advanced Migration Technologies (AMT) takes the pain out of migration processes, according to Cindy Bloodgood, senior offering management director for lifecycle support services at HPS. “Most migrations are time-consuming and have different ways to try and reduce risk. However, AMT reduces risk by using software to create digital twins of processes that can be tested and validated before they’re deployed—and barely dent the user’s schedule,” said Bloodgood. “Several customers are saying migrations with AMT are having half the impact they did before, and that it lets them migrate at their own pace.”

Digital twins get AI boost

In fact, Urso added that Honeywell is even moving digital-twin capabilities into the operations realm with its newly launched Honeywell Digital Prime that can help users save more time.

“Most users have standard work practices and management of change (MoC) procedures, but now they can use Honeywell Digital Prime to twin a clone domain of their actual process environment, take their projects off critical paths that are costly and risky, and serve them process insights automatically,” said Tiffany Barnes, senior product development manager for software solutions at HPS. “Honeywell Digital Prime also puts all relevant information in one location and in the same phase, so they can plan and develop their digital twins with confidence.”

Beyond enabling digital twins, concentrating data displays in one place also lets them work with AI functions to further improve optimization efforts and performance, according to Graeme Laycock, user experience (UX) director at HPS. “Users typically have to deal with a lot of windows, but adding generative AI functions allows us to consolidate all that input. So, instead of seeing a lot of alarms, they can see emerging situations,” explained Laycock. “They can also view adjacent units and plants, search for any asset and get its information, and use AI to identify situations and get back guidance to resolve them.”

Likewise, Ramesh Babu Rafiki, maintenance fellow at HPS, reported that the company will soon roll out its Honeywell Field PKS to help manage work orders, handle inquiries, and let AI agents attach relevant data to Honeywell Field Pack templates. This software will also get more and better data from Honeywell’s Versatilis low-cost, wireless sensors and platform, which can help even rookie users work at higher competency levels.

Sensing excellence, security and sustainability

To achieve superior unit and plant operations, Urso announced the release of Honeywell Forge Performance+ powered by AI, which also uses digital twins and production intelligence data, assembling tasks in priority order. It’s a plantwide optimizer for process engineering, operations, planning and blending. The platform’s Asset Performance Management (APM) functions also use data from Versatilis sensors to monitor processes, and check for a range of 20 parameters, such as vibration, surface and ambient temperature, atmospheric humidity, acoustics, magnetic flux and many others.

Once better sensor data arrives, Alicia Kempf, offering management director for process automation systems (PAS) at HPS, reports that the company’s Manufacturing Excellence Platform (MXP) can digitalize it with fewer steps than were required in the past. For example, it coordinates with Honeywell’s Sparta Systems and TrackWise Systems’ software in pharmaceutical applications. These software functions will also be aided by the upcoming, late-2024 release of a new ControlEdge high-speed digital controller with 1-millisecond scan time for the hybrid automation space.

“Dealing with logbooks and other paper takes up 30% of staff time in many pharmaceutical applications, and it’s only 90% accurate” added Kempf. “MXP lets user review data in real time, check recipes and records, and do reporting much more quickly. It also lets them see actionable information in context and in a single view, making real-time decisions possible based on what’s been executed and what’s coming up next.”

To keep all these innovations secure, Urso announced Honeywell’s new Cyber Insights program for constantly monitoring assets, identifying vulnerabilities, and finding cyber-threats that indicate the presence of malware. It’s also launching a Cyber Watch service to further help users make sure their cybersecurity programs are complying with their company and regulatory standards.

On the sustainability and energy transition front, Urso reported that Honeywell is following up the UOP Ecofining program it launched last year with a Leak Detection and Remediation program, as well as enhancing its battery-based Energy Control System and Ionic modular, scalable batteries with Sustainability+ Forge Enterprise Emissions software to monitor multiple sources. The leak-detection effort will combine swarms of Super Scout Versatilis IoT-based methane sensors, real-time visualization software, and Rebellion thermal imaging cameras.

“Together, these solutions will let us continuously monitor for fugitive emissions, and even identify types of gas emitted,” added Urso. “We’ll also use AI to identify gas-plume dynamics, and calculate in real-time the amount of gas released,” added Urso.

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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