Alkylation HF Measurement Solution from Invensys

Invensys Operations Management (IOM) has announced the availability of its ACA.HF Advanced Alkylation measurement solution, a non-spectroscopic acid catalyst measurement solution that simplifies and dramatically lowers the cost of online monitoring of hydrofluoric acid (HF). The new solution replaces conventional manual sampling and Fourier Transform Near Infrared (FTNIR) analysis, with a measurement system that monitors HF levels in real time by analyzing differential responses from online sensors.

Hydrofluoric acid is a common catalyst used in petroleum processing, and accurate analysis of how much HF is re-circulating within the process contributes significantly to maximizing the yield rate of crude stock. Early approaches to HF monitoring involved taking manual samples and analyzing them in a laboratory, however that sample approach offers limited accuracy and exposes lab workers to toxins. More recent FTNIR techniques are very accurate, but adaptation for real-time online monitoring is complex and costly. A global refining company and IOM teamed up to validate new online HF monitoring models that deliver highly reliable results at significantly lower acquisition and operating costs.

Implementing the new ACA.HF Advanced Measurement solution costs about half that of an FTNIR system and requires minimal maintenance because its core components are built from rugged materials long proven in industrial HF applications. The monitoring models run inside of the new Foxboro PAC System controller, making for a cost-effective and easy-to-setup application environment. Contributing to precise control excellence is advanced analytical software that reads the response “spectrum” that is directly analogous to that produced by a traditional FTNIR. Based on established industry methods, estimated mean time between failures (MBTF) of the solution exceeds 29 years. There were, in fact, no maintenance costs in the first year of implementation at the test refinery.

This unique measurement and control solution also contributes to asset excellence by minimizing the potential for corrosion, and supports environment and safety excellence by eliminating any potential sample exposure for plant and laboratory personnel. The ACA.HF solution is an integral component of the company’s InFusion Enterprise Control System, as it shares a common communications and applications development environment that enables the solution to be part of a larger plant and enterprise control, information and decision support system.

Status integrated head temperature transmitter

Status Instruments introduce their ingenious HTR integrated head temperature transmitter. This unique smart design is the first complete transmitter that fits into the miniature MAA connection head. Normally, due to space constraints, the head is only used as a junction box, requiring the transmitter to be mounted some distance away from the sensor.
Status have pioneered miniature electronic design for their transmitters, without sacrificing the functionality of larger standard devices that would normally require more spacious KNE typeheads. The HTR, which can be used with RTD, slide-wire and resistance inputs, is expected to find application in energy management, HVAC and machine building. The standard product has over thirty resistance sensors to choose from, including Pt100, Pt500, Pt1000, Ni100 and Ni1000.
Designed to meet the needs of both industrial and HVAC applications, the 3 wire voltage output version can be programmed to output any value between 0 and 10 VDC. For example, the product can be configured to accept Pt1000 sensors and provide a 0 to 10 VDC output direct from the head – ideal for HVAC applications.
The HTR has a number of clever features. To optimise the use of the built-in memory, application specific linearization correction data is loaded into the transmitter during user configuration, rather than being permanently stored in the unit. This means the design uses a microprocessor with a smaller memory and therefore contributes to a lower cost product. Indeed, the list price of the integrated head and transmitter is less than many competitors charge just for the transmitter!
Calibration is carried out quickly and easily via PC or laptop, using Status’s new USB configurator. Calibration set up can be saved as a file for future use and additionally the user can read live process data when connected to a PC.
The HTR is part of Status’s extensive range of temperature transmitters, rack mount signal conditioners, panel meters and loop isolators. For convenience, many of the Status products can be purchased via their online shop.

Spectris Group acquires N-Tron

Spectris plc (, a United Kingdom-based instrumentation and controls company, announced on Oct. 1 that it has completed the acquisition of N-Tron Corp. (, a manufacturer of rugged industrial networking components based in Mobile, Alabama.  The purchase consideration of $51 million (approximately £32 million), on a debt and cash-free basis, will be met from existing cash and bank facilities and is subject to routine balance sheet adjustments, Spectris said.

The acquisition of N-Tron is in line with Spectris’ strategy to grow its key strategic business segments, the company said. N-Tron is a manufacturer of Ethernet switches and associated components for the industrial, infrastructure and power generation markets. N-Tron will become part of Spectris’ Industrial Controls segment and will maintain its own brand and sales structure, while operating in close cooperation with Red Lion Controls Inc. (, another Spectris company based in York, Pa. Red Lion is a provider of operator interface products.

John O’Higgins, chief executive of Spectris, commented: “The acceptance of Ethernet in the industrial market for integrating shop-floor information within the business IT infrastructure is rapidly increasing. N-Tron’s hardware capabilities will enable us to leverage Red Lion’s communications technologies to meet this demand and to build our position in the industrial controls market around the world.”

Nicholson departs

Warren Nicholson, president and founder of N-Tron, said, “N-Tron has found an excellent home in Spectris. Today’s customers require suppliers to have a global presence and global reach. Spectris will enable N-Tron to meet those customer expectations.” Nicholson is leaving N-Tron and has agreed to consult with N-Tron and Spectris to ensure a smooth integration and transition period.

Headquartered in Egham, Surrey, England, Spectris employs approximately 5,800 people, with offices in 29 countries. Spectris operates across four business segments that reflect the applications and industries it serves: Materials Analysis, Test and Measurement, In-line Instrumentation and Industrial Controls. N-Tron employs around 60 people.

Stuxnet updates: October

Following reports that the Stuxnet code has been published on the internet, for anyone with malicious intent to copy as they desire, Norman Data Defense systems warn that it is more important than ever to review security systems in use on industrial SCADA systems. A webinar will be aired on 28th October to discuss this further.
David Robinson, UK and Ireland country manager, Norman Data Defense said: ‘It was just a matter of time before the Stuxnet code was published on the web for anyone, with even the most basic knowledge of coding, to alter and potentially wreak havoc on the industry. Now is the time to review IT security, no matter how small the risk. This is big news.’
‘This new type of virus has a boot file built-in and now that the code is in the hands of any malware writer it could mutate very quickly’ added Robinson, who will host a webinar on the subject on 28th October at 2pm BST at Robinson has fifteen years experience working with companies such as Mistubishi, Rockwell and Intelluition working on SCADA and plant intelligence software.
But it’s not just memory sticks that can spread this virus. ‘These days anyone with a laptop or a device that connects remotely to a wireless network inside a company’s firewall, is putting that company at risk. It will just be a matter of time before Stuxnet or its successors are evolved to wreak havoc on control systems and any other system that the user connects to if their laptop or portable device is infected.’
Norman Data Defense recently carried out research among ordinary workers and found that over half of people surveyed are more cautious with security issues when using their own PC/laptop that they are with their work one. And over three quarters of people would expect a pop up to appear on their screen to alert them to a breach of security which of course is not always going to happen.
Microsoft has issued patches to help users on Windows systems to protect themselves against Stuxnet, but, warns Robinson: ‘My fear is that, with patch management protocols rarely in place in a control system environment, these warnings will go unheeded.’

The INSIDER contents for October 2010

John Berra and the Rosemount 1151  bid farewell to Emerson Process Management,  after 35 years together

John Berra has been the major driving force at the centre of many of the major technology developments that have happened in the electronic era in the process automation industry, as a forward thinking engineer, business manager and motivator, for over 25 years. Berra joined Emerson as a marketing manager for the Rosemount business in 1976, and so began a long association with the Rosemount 1151 pressure transmitter. Dr James Truchard, president, CEO, and co-founder of National Instruments commented: “Throughout his career, Berra has demonstrated strong business, product and technology leadership. Berra [has] extensive experience growing large accounts, working with broad-based sales and marketing organizations and managing product development on both hardware and software applications….”. This is why National Instruments snapped John Berra up earlier this year and appointed him to their board of directors. See the rest of our review of John Berra’s career, and even some of the criticisms from his competitors, in the Insider for October. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

Major ABB mining project demonstrates IEC61850

Last month, ABB used the opening of the new Boliden Group facilities at the Aitik open pit copper mine in Northern Sweden, just inside the Arctic circle, to present their total mining capabilities to 35 mineral and processing industry journalists. For this project, ABB supplied the electricity substation, conveyors, drives and motors, plus concentrator plant automation, all controlled by System 800xA, at a total value of $84m. The plant is effectively the ideal installation for demonstrating the ABB product profile, and is also the first installation that uses IEC61850 substation automation communications, which links the electrical protection, switchgear, transmission and distribution equipment with the process control and automation data from Profibus and HART systems on the mineral flotation plant, all into one single control system. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

But why did Boliden choose ABB for the Aitik project?

Jan Moström, president of the Boliden mines business area, explained that Boliden “Establish who will work with us, which suppliers have the technology to help develop our mining techniques”, and who will apply a high level of engineering skill alongside Boliden engineers. The main suppliers to Aitik were not chosen because of local links, but because they have these capabilities and have demonstrated the use of best available technology: Moström mentioned in this context Sandviks, Atlas Copco, Metso and Outotec, all having a good track record of working with Boliden: ABB in fact have worked with them since the 1930s. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

Wireless sensors monitor copper leaching process

One of the Emerson Global User Exchange presentations last described how Emerson WirelessHART transmitters had improved productivity and site safety at a copper leaching plant in Chile. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

New USA automation show to debut in 2012

Deutsche Messe, the organizers of Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair (which for the last few years has incorporated the Interkama Exhibition and attracted 150,000 visitors this year) are adding “Industrial Automation North America” to their international expansion plans. This new show will be held 12-15 September 2012, alongside the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. The September date is likely to introduce a significant conflict with the dates of the ISA Automation Week for 2012. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER., see

Open wireless standards for interoperability

The Hart Communication Foundation has announced improvements to the published WirelessHART test systems, in the form of Wireless Test System v1.4 and Wi-Analys Software v1.3. “The WirelessHART Test System plays a key role in ensuring the compliance and interoperability of WirelessHART devices,” says Ed Ladd, director of technology programs at the HART Communication Foundation. Meanwhile, the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute has recently published the list of wireless devices now certified to ISA100.11a, which includes Yokogawa and Honeywell transmitters, as launched to the press in June (INSIDER, July 2010 page 1), plus the Nivis communication protocol stack. But as yet there is no news from ISA on the state of the revisions being made to the ISA100.11a-2009 standard that was withdrawn from the ANSI approval process because of errors. So it is not known which standard the approved sensors have been tested to. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER see

The media latches on to a Stuxnet conspiracy theory

Reports on the Stuxnet malware have now attracted the world’s media, with industrial control viruses even reported on the front page of the Financial Times in the UK, supported by a full page technical report under the heading “Computer worm triggers worldwide alarm”. While perhaps a little late for such a headline, after two months of reports in the INSIDER, the BBC, Fox News and Bloomberg have the power to trigger such alarm.

The media speculation aired over the last two weeks is based on the belief that Stuxnet was a cyber weapon, developed by a nation state, suggested as the USA, or perhaps more likely, Israel. This weapon was specifically designed to target the Iranian nuclear industry, and possibly specifically the uranium enrichment centrifuge plant at Natanz, by preventing a high level alarm shutdown control of some form. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

Firewall introduced for OPC Classic by Byers

OPC Classic is widely used in control systems as an interoperability solution, interfacing control applications from multiple vendors, and this has made it very difficult to secure. The new Tofino OPC Enforcer Loadable Software Module (LSM) has been developed by Byres Security, and is now available from MTL Instruments. Invensys has also teamed with Byres Security, using a similar Byres content inspection firewall for the Modbus TCP protocol, to create a firewall specifically for Triconex systems. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER., see

New techniques monitor for corrosion

At a workshop in the Emerson Exchange in San Antonio, Roxar of Norway, the offshore well flow monitoring systems specialists, acquired by Emerson in May 2009, presented a different aspect of their business: corrosion monitoring systems for oil pipeline monitoring. The Roxar Topside CorrOcean products monitor pipe wall thicknesses in highly-corrosive saltwater offshore oil and gas production conditions. Then QinetiQ, the defence and security technology company, presented their Corlan wireless based corrosion monitoring pipe-wall thickness sensors at a new exhibition called “Sensing Technology”, in the UK’s NEC in Birmingham. Corlan uses battery powered ultrasonic sensors, epoxy bonded to the outside of a pipeline at specific thickness measurement locations, or at areas of high risk or concern. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

UK Distributors now build custom products and systems

ABB Instrumentation Alliance partner AM Sensors from Bridgwater has become a local solutions supplier, with panels and instrumentation packages for nuclear power plants  across the UK. In particular AMS have manufactured high and low pressure trolley mountable particulate samplers, for extracting sample gas from vents, HVAC ducts and room spaces. Other distribution companies, such as Eriks and Brammer continue their growth into multi-national supply chain operations. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

Chinese nuclear contracts continue at Invensys

Invensys Operations Management has signed a second long-term agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Co (CNPE) to provide safety and distributed control systems and solutions for two 650MW pressurized water reactor units under construction on Hainan Island, on the southern tip of China. To read the full story take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER, see

GE buys Masoneilan for $3Bn

GE  has announced the acquisition of Dresser Inc, a global energy infrastructure technology and service provider. The $3Bn deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions over the last 10 years that has helped grow GE’s energy business and deliver record profitability.The addition of Dresser’s portfolio, which includes technologies for gas engines, control and relief valves, measurement, regulation and control solutions for gas and fuel distribution, will expand GE’s core energy offerings and extend its reach into adjacent offerings for its energy and industrial customers around the world. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close promptly after receiving regulatory approval.

“Dresser is a great fit for the GE business model,” said John Krenicki, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Energy. “Dresser’s technology complements our existing gas engine portfolio and adds offerings complementary to those of GE in the $45Bn flow technology industry, including product offerings in the highly engineered valve segment. 85% of Dresser’s revenue is from energy customers, and it has developed a large installed base of equipment, which is a big reason why 40% of its total revenue is derived from aftermarket service offerings, and there is a lot of room for future expansion.”

Krenicki added, “Dresser has a global franchise and brand with 60% of revenues outside of North America, which will be accelerated by GE’s global footprint. Through the acquisition, we will bring to bear our focus on research and development to Dresser’s highly engineered custom solutions and create an opportunity for Dresser’s 6,300 talented employees to dramatically expand their businesses.”

Headquartered in Addison, Texas, Dresser operates in more than 100 countries, delivering compression, flow technology, measurement and distribution infrastructure and services to customers in more than 150 countries. Dresser had revenues of $2Bn and earnings of $318m in 2009.

“Our track record integrating previous acquisitions such as Nuovo Pignone, (Oil & Gas), Jenbacher (gas engines), Bently Nevada (conditioning and monitoring) and Enron Wind (renewable energy), gives us great confidence to build upon as we move forward with Dresser,” explained Krenicki. “Our team is committed to technology leadership, globalization and operating discipline.”

Dresser’s diverse portfolio will complement many of GE’s product offerings. Dresser’s gas engines will give GE best in class, low-emissions, fuel-flexible mechanical-drive technology that can be applied to the small-scale compression segment for customers in the Oil and Gas sector. GE Jenbacher’s expertise in clean, fuel-flexible, high-efficiency, power-generation engines, combined with Dresser’s expertise in durable, low-emissions, fuel-flexibility rich-burn mechanical drive engines, will help deliver a wide-range of enhanced gas-engine technology solutions to petrochemical, mining, manufacturing and power-generation customers worldwide.

Dresser also will further the development of GE Energy’s monitoring, diagnostics and performance optimization offerings. Dresser’s pressure relief and control valve technologies will be complemented by GE’s domain expertise, which will create opportunities to bring additional technology and applications to Dresser’s offerings. GE plans to build out solutions it offers to help customers effectively manage the pressure and relief flows in pipelines, processing plants and power generation facilities. Dresser’s capabilities combined with GE’s existing solutions will help to increase customer productivity and reduce operational costs.

Dresser President and CEO John Ryan said, “Joining the GE family will enhance our company’s capability to provide best-in-class energy technologies to a much broader segment of the energy sector. Our employees have worked hard to build a world-class reputation and we are confident that our tradition of putting the customer first will continue to be the standard. Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a great opportunity for our customers and employees as we put these two 100+-year-old companies together and create new paths for growth and innovation.”

The deal announcement continues a series of actions in GE’s energy business over the last 10 days. On September 27, GE announced a joint venture in China to grow in the world’s largest wind market. On October 1, the company announced the close of the purchase of assets of Calnetix Power Solutions, which expands GE’s capabilities to recover waste heat from industrial processes for electricity generation and will also complement GE’s gas engine business. On October 4, GE signed a $700m contract with Saudi Electricity Company for a new, high-efficiency power plant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Barclays Capital Inc. is the exclusive financial advisor to GE on the transaction.