Recent collaboration moves over instrumentation

Endress + Hauser, the Swiss-based level, flow and analytical measurement product manufacturer, expanded their market profile by entering into a collaborative relationship with Rockwell Automation.  The impression is that this is working well, and resulting in increased sales volumes for E+H, possibly particularly in the American markets, where Rockwell is very strong. The E+H booth alongside the Rockwell areas at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Orlando last October demonstrated this close tie: but it extends into more than just extra sales. The link with Rockwell also brings Cisco and their Ethernet expertise into play, and E+H development efforts have been used to support this with the launch last year of a new version of the Promass Coriolis flowmeter with EtherNet/IP connectivity. Further progress along these lines has now emerged, as promised, with an Ethernet version of the Promag 53 Electromagnetic flowmeter: connections to these units are purely mains power and dual RJ45 Ethernet ports, permitting communications, direct service, daisy chain or integrated switch functions.

Simple integration

The Ethernet connection allows fast and seamless integration of the flowmeter into Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture in ControlLogix and CompactLogix, as well as the PlantPAx Process Automation system. Dion Bouwer, Product Manager – Platforms at Endress+Hauser, explains that “For the end user, the primary advantage will be simplicity and speed of integration. Even our own research and development team was astounded by how quickly the Promass integrated into the Rockwell Automation Logix platform. It was literally a case of a few mouse clicks, as opposed to the 15-20 minutes it would take to configure over another network.”

The units provide standard faceplate displays in the FactoryTalk system, and the on-board web server allows this simple configuration and commissioning – but this can also be achieved if needed via the display, or via a service port using E+H FieldCare. The EDS file embedded in the devices for RSLogix 5000 integration allows immediate device recognition as a network node. All the common variables, status bits and both standard and advanced diagnostics from the flowmeters, are visible from the control system display, using the Ethernet communications bus at up to 100 Mbps, typically ten times faster than any other bus system.

Target markets

E+H consider the Promag with Ethernet will be particularly suited to applications in food and beverage and water/waste applications, which are the main areas for the existing Promag range, but the integration capability into Rockwell systems would seem to suggest that the Promass and Promag Ethernet units are targeting filling and blending applications, and for machine and skid builders operating in the hybrid process/discrete control industries, the typical users of Rockwell Automation systems. E+H also suggest that a typical application for the Promass would be in a blending skid, allowing the incoming flow of a number of raw ingredients to be tightly controlled, with a fast response time, helping to maintain the quality of the finished product. As well as measuring mass flow and density, the unit can also be used to measure viscosity, on-line. The promotion at present is based around the USA, Canada and Mexico markets, judging by the datasheet and the relevant website pages that can be located. It will be interesting to see what the next products chosen for Ethernet development will be, in that with slow rates of change and hazardous area requirements, the E+H liquid level sensors are unlikely to benefit from such fast Ethernet interfacing: maybe pressure sensors will give more opportunities?

Honeywell flow products supplied by Krohne

The Honeywell agreement developed with Krohne for level and flow products is significantly different to that adopted by Rockwell with E+H. In the November 2008 issue, the INSIDER (page 2) reported Jack Bolick, the previous president of HPS, Honeywell Process Systems, describing their aim as not to develop a competitive instrument portfolio, but to add instrumentation capabilities in areas like level, flow and corrosion, to enable HPS to deliver a complete solution. Bolick had set up the deal with Krohne, and overseen the acquisition of Enraf tank gauging systems. Last December the INSIDER expressed surprise that Krohne was not visible at the Honeywell User Group meeting in Barcelona: here Enraf systems were a major feature, and another small display showed some process instruments that apparently included an HPS branded Coriolis meter.

Honeywell approach

Jack Roushey, the USA-based global product marketing manager for flow and level for HPS, explained the rationale over these products. The Krohne strength is seen as in the flow products themselves: HPS have tested various models for compatibility with HPS systems, and re-written the specifications to define the hardware and software required for versions to be produced for HPS alone. These are then manufactured as HPS products, complete with Honeywell hazardous area approvals and manuals, and over the last 3 years the HPS sales offices and staff have had the necessary flow expertise and training added.

A full range of instruments

This approach has been applied to Coriolis meters, a clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter, magnetic and vortex flowmeters, and some level measurement systems – using radar and guided wave radar principles, all specified and targeted at the process instrumentation market. The level products are not seen or positioned as competitive with the Enraf tank contents gauging systems. Since Krohne has no current wireless capability with their sensors, there is no conflict with the HPS range of wireless field transmitters. Developments and enhancements to the product ranges are continuing, to meet new niche market applications. Roushey mentions the moderate success already achieved using the Modbus output direct from the Coriolis flow sensor into PLCs controlling stand-alone special purpose skids, which effectively reduces the Coriolis meter system cost for skid builders.

HPS are pleased with the development of the business for this product range, and Roushey suggests there has been no significant problem in any overlap between HPS and Krohne sales activity, since the target markets and standard types of business differ between the two companies. A key market area for Honeywell, he suggests, is in oil refining, where they have found significant business for larger size Coriolis meters. Possibly the refinery situation in Europe, and the strength of Krohne in Europe explains why these HPS products were only present in a small display at the User Group November 2010 meeting in Barcelona.

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