The INSIDER website, iainsider.co.uk

For a period in September, the website http://www.iainsider.co.uk, the long established website for the Industrial Automation INSIDER, will be only partially working, with the sample copy of the INSIDER not available: this is during a necessary transfer between ISPs. The main pages, and the email addresses and services associated with this website remain active.

The summary of the topics covered in the August issue of the INSIDER is as follows:

“Zero day” attack on Siemens control system software shows alarming new level of malware sophistication.

Last month’s cyber attack on Siemens SCADA systems and DCSs has reopened the question of how responsibility for ensuring the security of automation systems in general and those controlling potentially hazardous industrial processes and critical infrastructure in particular should be shared between users and vendors and, indeed, vendors’ suppliers.
Few people in the automation industry, and precious few more in the user community, can now be unaware of the bare bones of what has now become known as the ‘Stuxnet’ affair. According to Siemens it was on July 14th last that the company was notified of a security breach within Windows which could potentially affect its Simatic WinCC SCADA software and the PCS7 DCS which uses WinCC as its HMI. Among the first to identify the threat was Byres Security chief technology officer Eric Byres who confirmed that what Siemens and its users were experiencing was “a zero-day exploit against all versions of Windows including Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP 2, Windows Vista SP1 and SP2, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7.” To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Small control systems for SCADA from Honeywell

New features announced for the Honeywell 900 Control Station touch screen operator interface, part of the HC900 Control System used in industrial facilities to control standalone processes and SCADA applications, are said to allow engineers to configure the system and operators to monitor their processes more efficiently, and to reduce data entry error. “Many plants today need smaller and contained control systems for standalone or SCADA applications where a distributed control system would be overkill for these applications,” said Henri Tausch, vp and general manager of the Honeywell Field Solutions business: “Additionally, more of our customers need to handle batch applications that don’t require complex recipe or procedure management. The enhancements we’ve made to the HC900 Control System will make it easier for those plants to deploy the solution they need to meet these challenges in a more efficient manner.” To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Opportunities in green energy on-  and off-shore

GE subsidiary Bently Nevada sees a major opportunity in providing condition monitoring systems for the large population of wind turbines that are coming off warranty in the next five years, added to the anticipated installed-base growth of over 475%. Many companies are adopting condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategies to decrease down time, reduce cost, and improve reliability. CBM in wind turbines, like in combustion and steam turbines and generators, is the process of monitoring the condition of machinery, scheduling maintenance, and avoiding failures. This solution already has over 700 units in the order and installation process. The Bently Nevada Advanced Distributed Architecture Platform Technology (ADAPT.wind) enables operators to understand the condition of the asset without having to physically examine the machinery. By utilizing the intelligence of the system, operators can understand the severity of a defect, make corrections, and continue to generate revenue if the defect is insignificant. ADAPT.wind CBM also allows operators to plan for maintenance, coordinate outages for closely clustered units, and proactively monitor units with anomalies, instead of running to failure or tripping the unit on an anomaly. Being able to understand the condition and health of the wind farm’s machinery, an operator can consolidate maintenance for one time and schedule one crane, realizing hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Shell floating LNG facility chooses Emerson as MAC

Emerson Process Management has been appointed by Technip Samsung Consortium to serve as Main Automation Contractor for the Shell “Prelude” project, which will potentially be the world’s first Floating LNG (liquefied natural gas) production facility development, and is the first project award for Emerson resulting from the Global Framework Agreement announced in February. To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

BP Gulf costs compared to Exxon and Buncefield

The effects of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident and the oil pollution resulting across the Gulf of Mexico over the last four months will have consequences that will last for many years, for the region, for BP and for the technology and operational standards for the whole oil industry. This was the effect of the Exxon Valdez accident in Prince William Sound, in Alaska, back in March 1989: first, the legislation resulting led to the requirement for double hulled tankers; second, Exxon spent $2.2Bn on clean up operations over the period 1989-1992, but even twenty years on the environmental effects are still felt; third, while stepping up to take responsibility initially, and being ordered to pay out $287m in actual damages in 1994, Exxon fought all through the US courts against the punitive damages of $5Bn (equivalent to a year’s profit) also awarded against them – eventually winning a reduction in these to a sum of $500m for “compensatory” damages, in 2008.  To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Honeywell keeps MatrikonOPC separate

Sean Leonard, vp of MatrikonOPC, has published a statement confirming that MatrikonOPC will run as an independent business within Honeywell, retaining the independent MatrikonOPC brand: “MatrikonOPC will continue its commitment to vendor neutral OPC, will continue with leading new technology development, and will continue to help people adopt open, standards based solutions”. However the bulk of the statement was devoted to Norm Gilsdorf  “MatrikonOPC will operate as a separate business entity within Honeywell Process Solutions. Honeywell is committed to ensuring the continued success and growth of MatrikonOPC.” Speculation that Honeywell might wish to maintain MatrikonOPC as a separate business to enable a future sale drew the response that  “Honeywell does not comment on market rumor and/or speculation.” To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

NI focuses on training and green engineering

“National Instruments does pretty well in hard times,” said the company’s UK & Ireland managing director Robert Morton when he introduced the now traditional summer press conference, this year translated from the IET’s Savoy Place headquarters overlooking the Thames to the even more prestigious surroundings of the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace. Illustrating his argument, Morton explained that, while NI had, like many other companies, seen revenues fall in 2009, they had since recovered rather more rapidly than those of many others. Moreover R&D spending had been maintained, resulting in the historical R&D 16% share of revenues rising to 20% in 2009, while R&D headcount had actually increased as the company took advantage of recruitment slow-downs elsewhere to add hard to come by expertise in areas such as FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) development.  To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Oil and gas engineers train at the GE University

Twenty-six oil and gas industry professionals from 20 countries worldwide have participated in the fifth GE Oil & Gas University graduation ceremony held at the business’ headquarters in Florence, Italy. During the 6 month program, a team of experts and instructors from GE Oil & Gas, university professors and international professionals explained energy sector technology, from the exploration and production of energy sources to their utilization. Students who successfully completed the program received certificates in Oil & Gas Technologies.  To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Yokogawa’s wireless assertions cause outrage

Assertions made by Yokogawa executives at their recent European User Group meeting in the Netherlands as to the relative merits of the rival ISA100.11a and WirelessHART or, as it should now be known, IEC 62591 specifications for wireless field device networking in the process industries have produced a predictably furious response from the WirelessHART vendor community. Indeed, just about the only point of agreement between the two sides is that users want a single standard, although the term used by ARC’s Harry Forbes in reporting the session on wireless networking at last February’s ARC Forum in Orlando was not so much that they just wanted a single standard but were “pleading” for one. To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider.

Recovery of demand seen at Metso and Rockwell

The Metso results for Q2, from April to June 2010, show order intake worth Euro1671m, 64% up on the same period last year. Net sales increased 10%, but earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) were Euro154.2m, or 11.3% of net sales, significantly increased compared to Euro74.7m and 6% in Q2/2009, giving an increase of 106%. “The overall positive tone in the global economy and the recovery of demand remains in most of our customer industries, especially in the emerging economies”, says Metso’s president and ceo Jorma Eloranta. To read the full story, take out a subscription to the Industrial Automation Insider

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