Extracts from the June 2012 INSIDER

The following are extracts from the stories published in the June 2012 issue of the INSIDER Newsletter:

ABB launches CE approved level sensors from K-Tek

The IWEX water exhibition at the NEC last month was not a particularly busy show, but the ABB stand caught the attention of the INSIDER editor since several K-Tek level products were on display for the first time in Europe, now having achieved CE marking approval. These included laser and guided radar level measurement sensors. More conventional devices were also on show, with float operated flap indicators for the liquid level, plus hazardous area approved switching units to provide level alarms.

The big acquisitions in automation planned for 2012

After Jim Pinto raised the topic of the big acquisitions brewing in industrial automation for later in 2012, the INSIDER reviews the likely targets and bidders, to suggest some alternative views as to what might happen next. Undoubtedly the majors like ABB, Emerson, Siemens and Schneider Electric have hefty bank balances and are on the lookout for a major acquisition, but they are not the only ones! And are Invensys, Rockwell and Honeywell Process Solutions really the likely targets?

Even then there are moves being made by other operators to expand by acquisition, and with cash in reserve: readers of the INSIDER will be aware of recent comments to this effect from Metso and Invensys – even Endress + Hauser has more cash available than they had expected.

The full review was published in the INSIDER newsletter for June 2012.

Emerson User Exchange comes to Europe!

In the June Newsletter, the Insider reports from the Emerson Global User’s Exchange in Dusseldorf, Germany – not just a satellite show for the European Middle Eastern and African customers, but a full transplant of the major US event, as seen for the last 25 years in the USA. Even with a large venue in the Dusseldorf Maritim Hotel, conveniently right next to the airport, over 1050 attendees from 46 countries crammed both the main airport hotels. With such a success from the first European event, it looks like Emerson will follow this up regularly: after all EMEA contributes 30% of the Emerson Process Management sales.

The main Emerson themes presented this year were wireless, everywhere, and safety, in terms of the launch of CHARMS units for DeltaV SIS systems, and other improvements with valve controllers and sensors for rotating machinery. For the customer presentations which made up the bulk of the event, the most popular topic again related to wireless, with several control systems even involving WirelessHART communications. These presentations were then reviewed in the July INSIDER newsletter.

Do MES vendors miss out from UK manufacturing?

Organized by The Manufacturer magazine, the “ERP Connect” symposium event was held in May at Ansty Hall in Coventry, UK. This very successful event formula alternates presentations of case studies, given by end users or independent suppliers, with 1:1 Q&A sessions and discussions between the delegates (ie the potential users) and the ERP vendors, who actually sponsor the event. The delegates effectively get to see all the ERP vendors in one room and also have the chance to network with other potential and existing ERP users. In reality, if you described this day as free concentrated consultancy, you would not be exaggerating, suggests the Northern correspondent for the Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter. But more than that, the day left the impression that the presentations each had a familiar ring – as the claims were those that, in the main, would be made by MES vendors. So the next step is maybe to assemble the MES vendors and resellers for a similar event, once again organized by The Manufacturer, to open up this discussion format wider.

The case studies were varied and discussed the reality of ERP implementation, its business benefits, what was learned on the way, and in one case how to pick up a failing implementation and turn it around. The Manufacturer had ensured that no actual vendor or reseller spoke, so the content was informative and as real world as it can get, mainly from end users. The only downside was that the necessary parallel sessions meant that delegates could not attend all the presentations in the time available!

To attend the event required registration and a fee, which was reduced if the delegate agreed to participate in the 1:1 sessions (why would one not do so and therefore not obtain the full benefit). Speaking to a random sample of co-delegates it was clear that the event was of significant use and was an efficient way to sound the market and make early-day potential vendor selection. For the suppliers, these discussions with the delegates gave valuable information and business potential assessment for later follow-up.

Implications for MES vendors?

The fact that The Manufacturer  (http://www.themanufacturer.com) could get the co-operation of many ERP vendors to attend under one roof and sponsor an event is praiseworthy, and perhaps shows a ‘market-forces’ approach by these vendors, each of whom had brought their inevitable pop-up exhibit displays to attract the eye. Could such an event be co-hosted by the MES community?

There is an assumption that the ERP business comes expensive (in millions) and ties up an organization’s resource for over a year, therefore there is an associated market size and money to do such things, whereas this is not the case for MES. Well, not quite, as it was said that ERP today kicks in at circa GBP25K and tops out at GBP125K (whether this is full costing I do not know), and one presenter at a previous ERP Connect event talked about implementation in a few weeks rather than months (although he admitted to an assertive approach!).

Given that an MES project can be the same kind of money, and take similar times and that many of the benefit claims overlap, one has to wonder if the MES players are busy fighting amongst themselves rather than joining together to produce more market focus on the undeniable and unique benefits of MES. It seems that the potential customers for MES are the same as those for ERP, and give the same beneficial results.

Real time information?

Admittedly no one spoke at the event about such things as OEE, Asset Management, Downtime and Historians; and ‘realtime’ was just not mentioned! In fact the assumption was that the data appeared from ‘somewhere’ and ERP made good use of it in delivering useful information. Whether the information was about what was ‘supposed to have happened’ or ‘actually happened’ was unclear, but possibly barcode readers and keyboard input were part of these schemes. This however was a personal and theoretical observation, as there was an overwhelming endorsement in terms of business benefit – regardless of any concerns about data accuracy, reliability or timeliness. Needless to say S95 was not mentioned (this, it seems, is just NOT recognized in ERP-speak).

The whole thing was about business benefit – the case for which was presented very convincingly by numerous end-users during the day. The confusion for your reporter was the repetition to a high degree of what one would hear at MES presentations by vendors (and no doubt their satisfied customers); although I may have been the only person at the event to make this observation. Possibly many MES disciples could and would take exception to what was being said, but that would be to argue with satisfied customers that were testifying to measured business benefits from ERP, such as inventory reduced by 50%, and the reality in one case that over Euro100m of business had been previously managed on ad hoc spreadsheets.

Can the MES vendors co-operate?

It could be that there is an opportunity to develop an ‘MES Connect’ event proposal, to bring the functionality and benefits of MES to the attention of ‘the right people’ – people not currently seen by MES suppliers: and it does seem that these would in the main be the same sort of people that attend ERP Connect, which are presumably at the core of The Manufacturer magazine readership.

Can MES vendors come together in a group for the common good? Nothing is impossible, but without such a combined approach, MES vendors may find that they are nibbling at the edges rather than enjoying main-stream acceptance as ‘being as useful as ERP’, and UK manufacturers certainly seem to need and appreciate all the benefits of such systems, once shown what is available.

This article was first published in the June issue of the Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter

● Interested? E-mail the INSIDER on editorial@iainsider.com

Chris Lyden moves back to Invensys

Chris Lyden, President of PAS Inc, Plant Automation Services, for the past four years nearly, is said to be leaving to return more or less to his old job back at Invensys, as corporate head of marketing and business development in Invensys Operations Management. Inevitably this is a role that will report to Mike Caliel, and so the move reinstates the relationship they had when Lyden was vp for Global Marketing at Invensys, between September 2003 and November 2008, before moving to PAS. His appointment is one of the first externally visible results of the return of Caliel to IOM last January, and shows Caliel building back up his old operating team.

Before joining Invensys, Lyden had a 26 year career with Honeywell Process Solutions, culminating in the role of vp and General Manager. PAS sell software systems such as Integrity iMOC, for intelligent management of change in automation systems, through Honeywell, Invensys, Intergraph and NovaTech, plus other regional distributors. Eddie Habibi, Founder and ceo at PAS, founded the company in 1993 on leaving Honeywell: he is now faced with some further aspects of change management.

The official Invensys press release is expected sometime before Lyden starts work back there, next Monday, 18 June!

System for the elimination of Legionella in cooling towers

Following the recent outbreak of Legionella in Edinburgh, Scotland, it was appropriate that Wallenius Water brought their water sterilization system to a recent press conference in London and introduced Guardian Water Treatment as their agents for the deployment of the system in UK cooling tower and other water treatment applications.

It was on 8th January 2007 when Alfa Laval launched the PureBallast water purification system for marine applications, a system to meet the legislative requirements of IMO, the International Maritime Organization, in order to protect against potential ecosystem disasters that can be caused by transporting organisms around the world in ballast water. The sterilizing technology behind the system had been developed over many years by Wallenius Water, in Sweden, and licensed to Alfa Laval for marine applications. The system is described in reports on www.iainsider.com dated 8 January 2007, and uses UV light on a titanium dioxide catalyst within the liquid, to create high activity hydroxyl radicals, a short-lived powerful oxidant that kills such organisms.

Last month Wallenius Water were back in London offering similar technology, but now applied to the elimination of bacteria such as Legionella in air conditioning water cooling and recirculation systems, such as are used in cooling towers and boiler systems, with a new partner for the UK market, Guardian Water Treatment. Wallenius Water is partnering with distributors worldwide who understand the complexities of water treatment in such industrial applications, because while their purification system eliminates many of the dangerous chemicals previously used on site, any water treatment system needs the backing of expert on-site advice, to include pre-treatment and flow control.

Another application for Wallenius purification systems has been for bacterial control within the centralized metalworking fluid system at the SSAB machine workshop: SSAB is the Swedish steel producer. With the Wallenius system in operation on test for over a year, no extra biocides have been added, something that was previously very necessary. The SSAB goal had been to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of biocides in their metal working fluid, because this also has an impact on employee health. Health checks on the fluid have showed that the active biocide level is now too low to be measurable, but the bacterial levels are still below the allowed upper limit levels. The SSAB workshop had suffered from bacteria-related issues for a number of years but has now demonstrated that the growth of bacteria in the metal working fluid can be controlled without high biocide levels – even during the warm summer months, which is normally the most testing of conditions.

BP Clair Ridge project chooses Emerson as MAC

Emerson Process Management has been awarded a $23 million contract by BP to supply integrated control and safety systems for two new bridge-linked platforms for the Clair Ridge project. Clair Ridge is located in the North Sea to the west of the UK’s Shetland Islands. It is being developed by BP and its co-venturers ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell.

In addition to providing automation technology, Emerson will serve as the project’s main automation contractor (MAC) under its global agreement with BP. As MAC, Emerson will conduct front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the integrated control and safety system, as well as other services that include automation engineering, installation, acceptance testing, commissioning, configuration, and start-up support.

The integrated Emerson solution will use Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture, including its DeltaV digital automation system, DeltaV SIS process safety system, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. These digital automation technologies will support BP’s Field of the Future programme for enhancing operating efficiency and oil recovery.

The DeltaV digital automation system will control and monitor platform operations using Foundation fieldbus and Emerson’s Smart Wireless communication technologies. The DeltaV SIS system will perform process and emergency shutdown functions, if needed, plus fire and gas detection to enable secure control of oil production on the platform. Emerson will also provide a high fidelity process model, an operator training system, and on-going support for the automation system.

The integrated control and safety systems will have embedded device management capabilities provided by AMS Suite to enable remote management and diagnostics of valves and instruments from an onshore location. The software’s asset performance capabilities will also give managers a unified interface to assess asset health and criticality, optimise maintenance expenditure, and view key performance indicators that help guide decision-making.

Wellhead monitoring and control functions will take advantage of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, which helps reduce engineering and cabling costs as well as installed weight on the offshore platforms. A separate wireless plant network will support applications such as mobile workers and video streaming for flame detection.

BP has also awarded Emerson additional contracts to supply its Micro Motion Coriolis mass flowmeters; Rosemount pressure, temperature, radar level, and vortex flow transmitters; Fisher control valves and regulators; Rosemount Analytical gas chromatographs; and Roxar Watercut meters.

This is one of several offshore projects where customers have turned to Emerson for its automation expertise, which can help producers operate responsibly, get to first production more quickly and easily, improve operating efficiency, and optimise production and yield.

“BP and Emerson share the same ideals of using the latest technologies to improve performance and enhance safety,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “We are delighted that BP recognises the value that our automation technology, our experience in managing offshore projects, and our local support capabilities can add to this project.”

BP has described Clair Ridge as its most significant current project on the UK continental shelf. It will be developed around the latest technologies to enhance oil recovery and improve operating efficiency. The two new platforms are scheduled to be installed in 2015 with production expected to begin in 2016. The new development will have potential peak production of up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

The Clair Ridge project is one of four new oil and gas projects being developed by BP and its co-venturers. These BP projects involve a total investment of almost £10 billion in the UK’s oil industry over the next five years and will help to maintain BP’s production from the North Sea for decades to come.

Emerson adds CHARMS to DeltaV SIS

In a launch presentation at the Emerson Global User’s Exchange event held in Dusseldorf last week, Emerson Process Management announced a major transformation to their DeltaV based safety systems by combining the proven performance and reliability of the DeltaV Safety Instrumented System (SIS) with the installation flexibility and space savings of its CHARM I/O technology.

This new SIS offering is said to greatly simplifies design, installation, wiring and commissioning of SIS projects, while at the same time increasing capacity and reducing footprint. Based on Human Centered Design (HCD) principles, the new Logic Solver architecture uses electronic marshalling and CHARM I/O to eliminate the need for conventional marshalling, which simplifies both the installation and commissioning processes.

“This new DeltaV SIS architecture addresses the project challenges we hear about from customers,” said Keith Bellville, Product Manager for the DeltaV SIS offering. “They wanted the best of both worlds – the DeltaV SIS characteristics of integrated but separate safety, compliance with IEC standards and field device diagnostics, but with the capabilities they saw in our CHARM I/O technology for process control. The result is a more flexible, easier-to-install, higher capacity system.  Furthermore, the overall footprint requirements for the solution are far less than other safety systems in the market.”

The system can be implemented as a standalone SIS solution, natively integrated as part of a DeltaV installation, or connected to any DCS.  This was a logical step in helping customers tackle the complexity of designing, implementing and operating safety systems. CHARM technology greatly reduces the number of steps needed to successfully design, install and operate these solutions.

“We’ve closely monitored the development of both the DeltaV SIS product and Emerson’s CHARM technology since their inception, and we think that the use of CHARM technology in the DeltaV SIS system is an approach that could provide significant value for the company’s end users,” said Barry Young, Principal Analyst at the ARC Advisory Group. “Process manufacturers that plan to implement or extend their safety system technology should evaluate the new CSLS offering from Emerson to determine whether this approach could result in significant savings for them.”

The new DeltaV SIS architecture includes:

  • The CHARM Smart Logic Solver (CSLS) that runs all safety logic
  • New CHARMS I/O signal conditioners that replace I/O connections to the logic solver terminal block
  • A Local Safety Network (LSN) that communicates between 16 CSLSs
  • The SZ controller that communicates between the LSN and the basic process control system (BPCS) control network

The new CSLS provides the same functionality as the existing SLS 1508 logic solver but extends the previous 16 I/O limit per logic solver to 96 I/O CHARM capacity.  All inputs are software-assignable to any of the logic solvers on a LSN, dramatically increasing the flexibility of configuration and wiring possibilities. All logic on the network is still executed within 50 milliseconds.

The CSLS uses the same execution logic as the existing SLS 1508 logic solver and is configured with the same Control Studio application. Existing SLS 1508 configuration can be downloaded directly into the new CSLSs.  While all of the safety logic is performed within the CSLSs, inputs from the safety system can be integrated into the plant’s BPCS using the SZ controller to perform additional process control actions and communicate throughout the BPCS.  Both DeltaV highway and Modbus TCP/IP communications protocols are available as SZ controller output, enabling this new DeltaV SIS system to easily integrate into competitive DCSs.

The CSLS technology comes with a new set of CHARMs specifically designed for use with the DeltaV SIS system and based on the existing CHARM technology. The initial release of the new DeltaV SIS system will include CHARMs covering a wide array of I/O types. Future planned releases will address additional I/O types, including Intrinsically Safe (I.S.) CHARMs for the CSLS.