Enter DynAMo man

The Honeywell User Group meeting held in Nice this month for customers across the Europe, Middle East and Africa region was in fact the 25th anniversary of this annual get-together, and as usual featured a review of their current developments from both Darius Adamczyk, the president and ceo of Honeywell Process Solutions, and from Jason Urso, his chief technical officer. Several new product launches were featured, in various different ways! For more information on that you need to consult the INSIDER Newsletter for November, being dispatched today, which carries an extensive report.

But perhaps following the tradition established by Jason Urso with his “Starship Enterprise Orion” rôle plays, there was a brief glimpse of a new character at the end of his presentation, “DynAMo man”. On December 4 HPS will launch a new suite of workflow processes and procedures to assist operators of process plants, in order to increase plant reliability and uptime, by supporting the operators in their decision making – since process upsets are reported to be caused 42% of the time by operator error or incorrect actions, after alarms are raised.

DynAMo man was much in evidence at the HUG meeting in Nice, in his hunky “Spiderman” type uniform, and may possibly be the image that is attached to helpful hints on the operator screens in the near future. In the picture below DynAMo man is entering into the spirit of the HUG too, with your long suffering Editor, and also Liliana Pereira, from HPS Advanced Solutions marketing communications, the force behind DynAMo man’s Alarm Suite.

Capt Dynamo

It’s a hard life doing all this reporting and things.

ABB opens new service centre in Aberdeen

On Monday 18 September, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism officially opens ABB’s new facility in Aberdeen, Scotland following a GBP3.5m upgrade. The Altens site is the headquarters for the power and automation technology company’s UK service businesses, bringing together its oil & gas and marine services, spare parts and logistics, turbocharging and consulting activities.

The move to the 27,000 sqft bespoke facility, from the city centre’s Commerce Street, accommodates an advanced learning centre for employees and customers, an automation build and test staging area and upgraded turbocharger workshop. The site also houses ABB’s consulting services team.  Consulting helps customers to improve the performance of their total operation in the areas of process safety, integrity management and reliability. Typical services include asset life extension, decommissioning, process safety risk assessment and management, alarm management, technical training and specialist technical engineering.

Increased capacity has enabled a 30% growth in staffing levels. This provides the resources to achieve ABB’s goal to penetrate its own installed base and grow revenues from around 17 to 25% of group revenues by 2015. ABB in Aberdeen now has 140 employees comprising 100 engineers, consultants (on- and off-shore) and support staff. It also continues to grow its graduate programme, developing its engineers for the future. The company will continue to recruit engineers in 2014.

Mike Crawford, Regional Service Manager, Northern Europe and head of the Aberdeen facility says: “We are now building the capacity and technology to support our customer base with advanced services across a more comprehensive portfolio of local services. This enables us to deliver more and new value to our customers, recognising the different requirements for supporting new and ageing assets.”

The learning centre supports the development of the skills required now and into the future to operate, maintain and extend the life of automation systems. The centre includes ergonomically designed interactive control room screens which aim to improve the safety and efficiency of operators by providing detailed and timely plant information. The centre also focuses on specific technologies such as instrumentation, electrical equipment including motors, drives, intelligent switchgear and advanced protection systems. ABB’s D3 collaboration desk, also in the learning centre, allows users to see real-time process data and key performance indicators, alongside other documents from various sources. Demonstrations running on the desk illustrate how the different functions in an operating company can collaborate to improve performance or manage process excursions or incidents. The desk shows how the wide range of ABB’s offerings are brought together to help its customers improve their operating effectiveness.

ABB’s staging area continues to grow and now houses several scale replicas of the actual control and safety systems in use on specific customer assets. This allows ABB to perform thorough testing of software and its integrity prior to its release to site. This provides the confidence that design specifications and safety standards have been met thus reducing the work required to install and commission onshore. The facility also enhances preparation for planned offshore visits and improves the level of operational support provided from base to facilitate technical troubleshooting and maintenance.

“Having our operations close to the majority of clients, helps ABB engage more efficiently with its customers to ensure our portfolio of services from the supporting units meet their current and future needs,” explains Crawford. “The wide variety of products and technology installed offshore and the difficulty in gaining access for training purposes requires us to train our engineers in a controlled environment. The staging and learning facilities are ideally suited for this purpose and helps strengthen the resource pool of competent and highly skilled engineers to better serve the customer base.”

Some 80% of the turbocharger population, in the supply and offshore specialist vessels, have ABB turbochargers. To support the growing demand and the new advanced turbochargers, ABB has also expanded the capacity of its turbocharger workshop. The 5,800 sqft turbocharger workshop now accommodates the most advanced testing and repair facilities to support a highly responsive service to ABB customers.

The site also provides a third location for ABB’s consulting services, following on from Billingham and Daresbury. Consulting specializes in customer process improvement, aging and life extension, alarm handling and functional safety management.

Left to Right, Mike Crawford of ABB, Fergus Ewing MSP, Ian Rennie and Bill McLaughlin of ABB

Left to Right, Mike Crawford of ABB, Fergus Ewing MSP, Ian Rennie and Bill McLaughlin of ABB

Safety ‘awards’ by exida

None of the many press releases issued by seemingly reputable automation and instrumentation suppliers that relate to awards made by readers of various magazines will ever be found on this website. Nor will the others, issued regularly for various “achievements”, usually awarded by market research companies. These are all tainted with commercial negotiations and bias, and occasionally actually linked to cash transactions.

But where does exida rank in this spectrum of organizations that announce awards for technical excellence? Why would a safety consultancy want to make an award at all? Surely it might make potential clients believe that they would only ever recommend one safety system? This is very difficult to understand. But Emerson, not exida, is now telling us that exida has singled out their system for an award.

The text of the Emerson release says (in italics):

“Emerson’s DeltaV safety instrumented system (SIS) has been granted the 2013 Safety Award by exida, the global leader in functional safety and cybersecurity certification for the process industries. exida recognized the DeltaV safety instrumented system with its safety award for the logic solvers category, citing the system’s Electronic Marshalling and CHARMs technologies. 

“exida recognises the importance of excellence in functional safety,” said William Goble, exida principal partner. “Through extensive analysis of the nominated products, we believe DeltaV SIS with Electronic Marshalling has the ability to play a key role in the continuous journey of making the world a safer place.”

Founded in 1999 and with offices around the world, exida is a key player in testing and assessing automation safety products. The agency is a leading certification body and serves on the international committees that write safety standards.

Goble noted that exida is in a unique position to review safety products from many different manufacturers. The safety award gives the agency an opportunity to recognize products that stand out in meeting functional safety standards. 

“The DeltaV SIS architecture is what I would call a hybrid,” said Goble. “It combines the best attributes of many different architectures into one. Also, its flexible design gives users all the different I/O types they need, and allows them to pick levels of redundancy and safety so they can make trade-offs between costs and the essential parameters of availability and safety.” 

Goble said cyber security is a big consideration – noting it was not even a topic of discussion in safety systems just a few years ago. “It’s something a lot of people are now having trouble retrofitting,” Goble said. “The DeltaV SIS with Electronic Marshalling and CHARMs technology was built with security as an important part of the design.” 

“It’s gratifying to receive this recognition from the experts,” said Emerson process systems and solutions president Jim Nyquist, who accepted the award. “It affirms that we accomplished our goal of reducing complexity while meeting or exceeding the stringent functional requirements of systems safety.”

Two thoughts come to mind, reading the text and seeing the Emerson explanation of what the exida business consultancy does in terms of functional safety. First, if the award is in the logic solver category, how does this relate to the Electronic Marshalling and CHARMS – surely this just routes the inputs and outputs of the wiring to the logic solver. Secondly, where Mr Goble discusses cyber-security, we can accept that cyber security is a big consideration in discussions about safety systems currently: but has exida now developed sufficiently to be a testing and expertise centre in cyber security aspects as well?  Undoubtedly cyber-security is mentioned on their own website introduction. His later statement about DeltaV SIS being built with security as an important part of the design, one assumes is talking about cyber-security, since a safety system by definition has security as a major feature: so how is this relevant to the logic solver award to DeltaV SIS?

I look forward to anyone contributing views in relation to this sort of “award”.

Nick Denbow