The INSIDER Newsletter for March 2011

The INSIDER newsletter issue for March features the following stories: the abstracts here give a taste of the topics covered. To see the full stories, why not take out a subscription to the full 12 page newsletter? For further information see www.iainsider.co.uk.

Will the Invensys capability presentations help avoid the acquisition attention?

Invensys Operations Management (IOM) were chosen by the Invensys UK board as the main focus of a Capital Markets Day presentation in London on 25 February. Sudipta Bhattacharya, President and Chief Executive of Invensys Operations Management, commented: “Our growth is coming from our success in winning large greenfield projects, particularly in the oil, gas and power sectors, and the increasing demand from customers for advanced applications and solutions that help them improve the performance of their assets, and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Supporting Bhattacharya in making the presentation was Dr Peter Martin, vp and Invensys Fellow, who heads up and is developing the Business Value Solutions team within Invensys, a control system business consulting group and a job far more interesting than presenting the elements of control systems to analysts. Martin also knows that if he is successful, his job will disappear in 3 years, because younger versions of him will be spread around the world. Martin took the time to talk to the INSIDER during his trip to London, to explain the creation of their InFusion ECS (Enterprise Control System).

The Invensys news flow continues with an InFusion installation at an ExxonMobil lube oil plant explained, and then announcements about new nuclear plant deals in China, plus interesting developments in assisting the Russian government develop the electricity power distribution system to improve efficiencies.

Speculators get power and automation industry bid fever

Invensys, valued at GBP2.7Bn on the London stock market, was the subject of further bid rumours late in February – but then Invensys has that unenviable reputation. Then Joe Kaeser, finance director at Siemens, in an interview with the Financial Times, suggested that they were ready to spend several billions on an acquisition, to strengthen both its power networks and plant automation businesses. The INSIDER article reviews the many different possibilities for the first Siemens acquisition, settling on two different but interesting prospects.

Yokogawa continues with business restructuring

Yokogawa has announced third quarter results for their 2010 Financial Year, which ends on 31 March 2011. Despite the impact of the strong Yen, the Q1-3 Controls business orders overall were up 5% on the previous year. The business restructuring outlined in February 2009 continues, but possibly has not been as fast as the shareholders would have wanted. A major part of the Yokogawa majority shareholding in Kokusai Chart Corporation will be sold to Toshiba by end March 2011, realising approximately Yen1Bn. The biggest problem for Yokogawa appears to be the future allocation of 175 mainly Japan-based employees surplus to requirements. The new Yokogawa ceo in North America is Chester (Chet) Mroz, who gave a presentation of his targets for the next few years at the recent ARC World Manufacturing Forum in Orlando.

Danube refinery is HART plant of 2011

the MOL Danube petrol refinery at Százhalombatta, Hungary, is the recipient of the HART Plant of the Year Award this year. Starting in 2002, MOL engineers made the strategic decision to install HART-enabled devices throughout their operation and to utilize all the benefits of HART Communication, both wired and wireless, in the broadest possible scope. This decision was part of a plant-wide refining maintenance strategy with the objective of increasing operational reliability.MOL have worked with Honeywell for over 20 years, across four refinery and petrochemical sites in Hungary and the Slovak Republic, more recently Honeywell has provided full technology support for the existing MOL Honeywell TDC3000, TPS and Experion Process Knowledge Systems.

How safe are those SIL3 – rated ESD valves?

Midland-ACS are part of ITT Flow Control, and as such appear to be destined to sit in the new ITT spin-off in the water business: but their activity is mainly in severe and hazardous areas, supplying pneumatic and hydraulic valve actuation components and systems.

In a product launch last week at the First Friday Club in London, Midland-ACS blew open a gaping hole in the claimed SIL ratings advertised for the pneumatically operated emergency shutdown valves used on many offshore platforms and refineries. Normal assessments of SIL ratings for these ESD valves take care to exclude the filter regulator, bolted onto the side of the valve.  Failure of these regulators usually results in exposure of the valve actuators to excessive pressure, that could be high enough to shear a valve stem or cause other damage. Responsible operators, such as Statoil, have recognized the problem that this regulator can fail fully open, and specify the actuator materials to tolerate the full overpressure capability of the system, often requiring expensive special valve stems.

The FDT2.0 Standard supports FDI Packages

The FDT 2.0 Standard is on track for final adoption and release later this year. Many new features and capabilities have been included in the standard, but great care has also been taken to ensure that FDT 2.0 Frame or Host Applications will have backward compatibility to the installed base of FDT 1.x DTMs. It does now appear that this battleground over industry standards, at one time as hard fought as the other battles of PROFIBUS versus Foundation fieldbus, and ISA100 versus WirelessHART, might be sorted out in a valid compromise and collaboration.

Night Dragon: web-based marketing intelligence?

Dragon started in November 2009, originating from several locations in China, working through Command and Control (C&C) servers on purchased hosted services in the United States, with other compromised servers in the Netherlands. The objective was to target global oil, gas, and petrochemical companies, as well as individuals and executives based in Kazakhstan,Taiwan, Greece, and the United States. The hackers wanted to acquire proprietary and highly confidential information: ie market intelligence to assist in commercial bid negotiations, for a client, presumably in Asia. Every major corporation is at risk in this way, you just need the right defences.

Which standard route will the wireless waves take?

The progress to standardisation of wireless systems continues, as you might expect, to march down the several different directions that each supplier feels suits their business model the best. The ISA100.12 committee, revitalised by a user revolt last year, met alongside the ARC Forum inOrlando to review three proposals as to how to establish a future working relationship between the polarised opinions.

A ray of reasonable intelligence is reported, emerging from Hesh Kagan at Invensys, which was that “Invensys has been supporting the development of ISA100 as an open standard since the beginning.  We believe the ISA100 architecture is consistent with our view of enterprise wide industrial wireless and the overall ECS concept.  The development of ISA100 was accomplished with the participation of many WirelessHART proponents and includes all of the functionality of HART plus many other functional capabilities required to meet the current and future application requirements of our users.”

Rockwell changes market and management

Steve Eisenbrown, the current Rockwell svp responsible for the Architecture and Software (A&S) operating segment, is to take the role of svp Strategic Development from April 2011, and will be responsible for global business development, alignment of strategic investments and initiatives as well as the company’s multi-year global business process transformation project.

Currently around 50% of Rockwell business comes from the North American sales region, but the future goal is that 60% should be coming from the rest of the world. This was stressed in relation to the emphasis placed on the Asia-Pacific region in their current reorganization, but John Nesi, vp of business development, also stressed the recent investment in the HiProm acquisition, to strengthen activity in the sub-Saharan African market.

Metso 2010 success, expanding in bio-power

Metso has reported another successful year in 2010: orders were up 36% on 2009 at nearly Eur6Bn, or $8Bn: these were split evenly between Europe, N+S America, and Asia/Africa/Middle East. Return on capital was around 13.5% last year: they are performing well.

Control readers’ survey rankings

The marketing departments for Rockwell and Emerson produced interesting texts to proclaim their individual leadership at the top of the Control magazine survey of process automation users’ rankings in February 2011. Emerson showed they had more to lose than anyone else, by claiming the 18th consecutive year of being chosen in more product categories than any competitor. Interestingly the Rockwell press release is then also able to claim that they were ranked highest in numerous “Best in Control” and product categories, with more first place industry finishes than any other supplier.

ODVA develops Ethernet based energy monitoring

ODVA has launched a new energy initiative, in cooperation with major suppliers including Cisco Systems, Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electric, to develop a comprehensive approach to the optimization of energy usage for the industrial consumer, an approach that would be scalable, open and inclusive for both users and suppliers.

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