Rockwell Automation Acquires ESC Services

Rockwell Automation Inc has announced that it has purchased the assets of ESC Services Inc, a global hazardous energy control provider of lockout-tagout services and solutions.

Matt Fordenwalt, Rockwell Automation consulting business manager said  “ESC Services will enable Rockwell Automation customers to increase asset utilization and strengthen enterprise risk management, while adding safety to our growing portfolio of data-driven, cloud-enabled services.”

The unique ESC methodology utilizes Quick Response (QR) codes that can be scanned to obtain asset information and streamline compliance with both external regulations and internal safety policies. “The global use of lockout-tagout is expanding among multi-national corporations, and represents a great growth opportunity,” said Kelly Michalscheck, president, ESC Services. “This acquisition enables us to extend the ESC Services lockout-tagout procedures and ScanESC solutions to tens of thousands of additional OEM machines, delivering more value and unique offerings to the extensive global channels of Rockwell Automation.”

ESC Services, based in Franklin, Wisconsin, will be integrated into the Rockwell Automation Control Products & Solutions segment as part of its customer support and maintenance business unit. The ScanESC lockout-tagout technology and solutions will be on display at the upcoming Rockwell US Automation Fair, scheduled for November 19-20, in Anaheim.

Dynamo passes 100 applications

Honeywell Process Solutions announced today that its DynAMo alarm management technology is improving safety and productivity at more than 100 process plants and pipelines around the world by helping operators better and more quickly evaluate alarm situations in control rooms.

Plants and pipelines are increasingly relying on numerous automation systems, which can produce more than 1000 system alarms in a given day. The number of alarms can often overwhelm operators, a problem that leads to lower production and increased safety incidents that cost the process industry billions of dollars every year, according to the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium, an industry group dedicated to advancing process technology.

“The Dynamo solution, which was launched in November 2013, allows plant operators to tune out noise and focus on critical situations by more efficiently managing and evaluating alarms,” said Ali Raza, vp and gm at Honeywell Process Solutions. “This allows operators to more easily detect and prevent problems, and to develop and implement effective alarm management strategies aligned with industry-recognized guidelines and standards.”

Dynamo is based on Honeywell’s 20-plus years of alarm management experience in the process industries. Dynamo reduces control room alarms by up to 80% by allowing operators to create customized dashboards on computers or mobile devices that allow them to view the alarm system health at a glance. This allows operators to better and more quickly diagnose alarms and their causes and consequence on one console.

Honeywell has licensed Dynamo technology at plants in Australia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom, among others, as companies work to increase the efficiencies of their control rooms.

Richard Wawrzon, process engineering and control team leader for Qenos Pty Ltd, Australia’s leading supplier of polyethylene and polymers, said, “High quality tools to manage and maintain process alarm systems are critical to running petrochemical plants. The Honeywell Dynamo Alarm Suite has sensibly integrated analysis, documentation and notification tools to provide support engineers with an efficient way to stay in control of process alarm systems. Once process safety is being looked after, key resources can focus on production efficiency.”

As a global alarm management solution provider, Honeywell recognized the severity of alarm problems at industrial sites and delivered an effective tool for assisting in optimizing alarm management programs, which are intended to prevent alarm floods and reduce operator loading. With the Dynamo Alarm Suite, personnel can monitor alarm issues based on their specific roles and take action before abnormal situations escalate. A new, customizable, role-based dashboard enables operators, engineers and managers to view the health of their alarm system at a glance. The software has added mobile device compatibility for viewing alarm metrics at any time, from almost any location.

Chris Lucas, gas control team leader for Alliance Pipeline in Canada, said, “We chose Honeywell to provide our alarm management solution because its Dynamo Alarm Suite will help us meet our alarm philosophy and control room management plan objectives. Honeywell’s involvement with the ASM Consortium and the American Petroleum Institute also weighed into our decision, as did integration with the control system of our choice.”

Dynamo Alarm Suite works with any control system as well as complementing the Honeywell Experion PKS system. The alarm software provides a single window into alarm system performance and regulatory compliance, helping companies adhere to industry standards such as ISA 18.2, EEMUA 191, API 1167, and PHMSA.

Honeywell also provides a variety of services to help customers get the most out of their alarm management strategy. This includes alarm rationalization, alarm philosophy and strategy, workshops, best practices training and other services to enable customers to focus on alarm management priorities.

Schneider Electric to acquire InStep Software

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has entered into an agreement to acquire InStep Software, of Chicago, Illinois, a leading provider of real-time performance management and predictive asset analytics software and solutions. It is the latest acquisition from the company’s growing Software business and deepens its presence in the power and energy market. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014, subject to customary regulatory and other closing conditions. Financial details were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Chicago, and founded in 1995, InStep provides two primary real-time performance management and predictive analytics software solutions: eDNA historian software collects, stores, analyzes, displays and reports on real-time operational and machinery sensor data: Prism predictive analytics software monitors the real-time health and performance of critical assets by using advanced pattern recognition and diagnostic techniques to identify subtle deviations in operating behavior that are often the early warning signs of imminent failures. The company also offers the EBS energy management software, which helps universities reduce their utility costs by analyzing energy consumption and streamlining the utility billing, cost allocation and reporting processes.

“Acquiring InStep Software is indicative of our commitment to delivering game-changing technology and powerful new solutions that improve efficiency, manage risk and drive higher levels of customer value,” said Ravi Gopinath, evp of the Schneider Electric Global Solutions software business. “They have a proven, experienced team who are dedicated to helping their customers achieve new levels of value, performance and profitability, and we are delighted to welcome them to Schneider Electric.”

eDNA software strongly complements the Schneider Electric Wonderware Historian software, and Prism software enhances their industry-leading information and asset management software offerings. Many of the world’s most successful companies use InStep software products to manage and analyze the rapidly growing amount of real-time operational and machinery asset-health-related information, but its solutions also complement the Schneider Electric offerings in several other industries, including food & beverage, consumer packaged goods, metals & mining, life sciences and water & wastewater.

“As with other recent acquisitions, InStep Software strengthens our portfolio in targeted industries and segments,” said Rob McGreevy, vice president, information, operations and asset management, Schneider Electric. “Their solutions give us additional, stronger data management and predictive analytics capabilities in the power and energy management industries, including power transmission and distribution, and will help us fulfill our strategic plans around Big Data, the Internet of Things and other emerging trends. With InStep, we strengthen our reputation as an industry game changer, and we are immediately more competitive in traditional process manufacturing, which fits with our overall strategy of improving our access to the utilities market in North America.”

“The emerging technologies for Big Data, analytics, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine and workforce mobility enable new means for improving process quality and equipment reliability while also reducing maintenance costs,” said Ralph Rio, research director at ARC Advisory Group. “InStep’s capabilities for predictive analytics leverage these technology trends and provide clear business value.  When combined with the strengths of Schneider Electric, we expect wider adoption in the power industry, and acceptance in a broader set of other industries where asset reliability and cost control are important.”

“Combined with Schneider Electric’s existing software offerings, our capabilities and expertise in the power and energy segment allow us to provide broader end-to-end visualization, asset management, operations and mobile solutions to our customers,” said John Kalanik, president of InStep Software. “Together, our software products will make it easier to bridge the IT-OT gap, empowering our customers to manage the increasing volume and complexity of their industrial operations. Our customers will continue to work with the same experienced InStep Software team, and we will continue to provide the same exceptional products and services they have come to expect and rely on. With Schneider Electric, our customers will be backed by a leading-edge global software company and our employees will have more opportunities to fulfill their potential for success.”

InStep Software will continue to be managed by its existing executive team, adding approximately 70 employees to the Schneider Electric operations in the United States.

Gary Mintchell, from the Schneider Electric bash (their Software Golbal Conference) in the US (Orlando), today additionally added to this release the following comments in his themanufacturingconnection.com blog:

“Schneider recently had announced a new extension to the SimSci product line. Now we have an acquisition. I take this to mean that Schneider has seriously decided to become a software company. I’ve never thought of the company as having a commitment to software.

Gopinath just used a word I used some time ago. Stability. These manufacturing software companies (Wonderware, SimSci, Avantis plus Foxboro, Triconex, etc.) under the instability of Invensys were threatened. Perhaps the stability of Schneider Electric will help these grow and prosper.”

- an interesting observation!

IHS analysis of Siemens purchase of Dresser-Rand

GE Oil & Gas acquired Cameron’s reciprocating compressors division in January to kick off the new year. This, coupled with the recent GE purchase of Alstom’s Power and Grid business, solidified its position as a leading player in the oil and gas sector. IHS estimates that GE turbines and compressors sold into oil and gas applications account for just less than 35% of global capacity, which is roughly 10-15% more than Siemens, including its newly acquired Rolls Royce product line-up. With the recent Siemens announcement that it will purchase leading gas compressor and turbine supplier Dresser-Rand Group Inc, the company is well-poised to stake its claim as a heavyweight rival to GE.

This acquisition is not a surprise, though the timing is rather unexpected. Just last week it appeared as though Dresser-Rand was entertaining the possibility of a merger with another company that is well positioned in the oil and gas sector, the Swiss industrial pump manufacturer Sulzer. Talks of a potential merger between Sulzer and Dresser-Rand seem to have contributed to a recent spike in DRC’s stock price, requiring a larger investment by Siemens to win the bid for the compressor and turbine provider. In fact, the acquisition cost Siemens $83 per DRC share, a premium of roughly 37% to the share price back in July before acquisition talks were public knowledge. Siemens appears to be quite confident in its newest investment despite the premium. “The valuation is a stretch, but strategically it makes sense,” said Volker Stoll, a Stuttgart-based analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.

European oil and gas equipment providers like Siemens, Sulzer, Howden and others have long desired to expand into North America to take advantage of the highly attractive conventional and unconventional energy plays. DRC has been a major player in this sector as its foothold in North America is substantial. This acquisition is a strategic win for Siemens, both geographically and technically. Aside from greatly expanding its presence in the US, Siemens will gain a strong foothold in such lucrative areas as subsea compression, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and compressed air energy storage (CAES), in which DRC has been a pioneer.

The full impact of this acquisition remains to be seen, but one thing that is certain is that GE Oil & Gas now has a much more formidable rival in Siemens. The most successful oil and gas equipment providers are the ones that can offer custom full-scale solutions and exceptional after-sales support. DRC and Siemens have both been successful in these areas over the years, with aftermarket parts and service accounting for more than 50% of their respective revenues. With Siemens’ regional breadth and DRC’s technical capabilities, this acquisition has a lot of potential to elevate the Siemens market position.

ABB concentrates on safety

The last four years has seen a major investment by ABB, growing their network of Safety Execution Centers to number thirty, located within every region to support the major high hazard industrial sectors. These centers provide ABB customers with in-country dedicated and competent functional safety resources for safety instrumented system (SIS) project execution, design, engineering, modification and maintenance. ABB has more than 700 TÜV, CFSE-certified and ABB technology-certified safety engineers.

ABB claims to have more safety centers than any other supplier in the industry, providing individual third-party accreditation (by either TÜV Rheinland or TÜV SÜD) for each country for Functional Safety Management System (FSMS) delivery, implementation, operations and maintenance. With the strong local business presence provided by ABB, these TÜV-certified Safety Execution Centers provide local assurance and knowledge of local legislation and standards: local clients have a higher degree of confidence in local teams, with better site knowledge than remote ‘experts’, and prefer the local safety certification, in contrast to one overriding global competence certificate.

ABB’s strategy is held up by Heinz Gall representing the Certification Body of TÜV Rheinland for FSMS Certification: “We definitely support the approach of ABB having individual worldwide FSM Certification. We from TÜV Rheinland do not recommend a single ‘global’ FSM certificate for multisite-multi-country certification. Our safety philosophy requires an in-depth judgment of each single location in order to confirm correct understanding and application of expected safety requirements.”

From ABB, both John Walkington and Stuart Nunns say “ABB is committed to providing our customers with the resources, technology and tools they need to help them operate their plants more safely, as well as protect their employees, the environment and the surrounding community. The depth and scope of our regulatory, technical and project execution knowledge provides our customers with the trusted expertise they need to successfully protect the integrity of their process, plant and people.”

E-learning for IEC61508

The ABB Safety Lead Competence Centre, and Engineering Safety Consultants, have partnered to develop an e-learning technical training course on “Failure Mode & Effects Analysis in the context of IEC61508”. This addresses the need for an adequate level of competence to be able to achieve compliance with IEC 61508 and IEC 61511, when applying the many devices now available for use within safety instrumented systems. The course will meet industry needs to ensure engineers receive appropriate training and mentoring for the challenges in compliance with IEC 61508 requirements.

Emerson SIS burner management system for Sasol

Emerson Process Management has successfully completed a DeltaV SIS burner management system migration project for the Sasol integrated chemical plant in Sasolburg, South Africa.

Sasol is a global energy and chemical company that produces fuel, oil, gas, polymers, chemicals, and fertilisers. The company has a large market for waxes that are used for an array of applications including adhesives, construction boards, cosmetics, packaging, pharmaceuticals, polymer processing, rubber, and tyres.

A burner management system (BMS) is the last line of defence in preventing the catastrophic failure of boilers, fired heaters, and other industrial heating systems. In the wax work-up production process at the Sasol plant, the old burner management system for a distillation column furnace reached its end of life and had to be replaced. Running continuously with scheduled shutdowns occurring between two to five years apart, this furnace was very critical to the production and its failure would cause a production loss of up to $150k per day.

Sasol selected Emerson and its local business partner, Aveng Automation and Control Solutions (A&CS), to migrate the old system to the Emerson DeltaV SIS for Burner Management during the annual plant shutdown in 2014. The solution ensured that it would be integrated seamlessly into the plant DeltaV distributed control system, which Sasol adopted in 2012. Moreover, it fulfilled the Sasol objective, which was to be in full compliance with the South African National Standards (SANS) accreditation 329, which sets the safety standards for industrial thermo-processing equipment.

“Safety is a top priority and a core value at Sasol,” said Willie de Beer, Senior Control Technician from Sasol Wax. “Emerson demonstrated technology leadership and project expertise, and together with the excellent local support from Aveng, this ensured a smooth migration process that was completed quickly and ahead of schedule. Through their support, we were able to deploy an advanced system to protect our people and assets from burner hazards.”

The Emerson Burner Management application allows the furnace to go safely through all relevant states, from start-up, to operation and shutdown when needed. It comes with IEC 61508 TÜV certified function blocks that simplify logic configuration, testing, and troubleshooting. An intuitive, graphical control environment conveys critical information in a single glance so operators can understand furnace conditions in real-time, put burners and igniters in and out of service safely and fast, and initiate other timely actions to maintain safe operating conditions.

“We are very happy that we have been able to help Sasol achieve this state of the art burner management,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer for Emerson. “This project demonstrates our DeltaV SIS system flexibility, which has been able to meet BMS needs, increase visibility to plant processes involving fired equipment, and reduce engineering and complexity in system planning, design, configuration, and testing.”

Sasol CEO to join ABB Board

ABB’s Board of Directors has unanimously proposed David Constable, ceo of Sasol, as a new member. The shareholders will vote on his nomination at the company’s next annual general meeting on April 30, 2015.

Constable is the President and CEO of Sasol Limited, a leading international integrated energy and chemicals company based in South Africa, and the former Group President of Operations of Fluor Corporation, where he served for more than 29 years in leadership positions. He is also a member of the WEF International Business Council and The Business Council in the United States. He is 52 and a Canadian national.

Since Constable’s appointment as President and CEO of Sasol, he has driven a comprehensive, group-wide change program, which has reset the organization’s strategies, priorities, culture, operating model, structures, systems and processes. Importantly, he has also shaped the group’s growth initiatives in southern Africa and North America, driving well-defined contracting strategies and world-class project execution.

“David Constable’s nomination to the board reflects ABB’s commitment to strengthen our expertise for EPC solutions and the process industries sector,” said Hubertus von Grünberg, Chairman of the Board. “His strong background and experience in a field where ABB recently faced challenges in the Power Systems division will further enrich our board. His strong link with Africa as an attractive region for ABB makes him a welcome new member of our board.”

Constable has extensive international experience. He has lived and worked in the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. He is married with two children.

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