Further Yokogawa CCGT and Desalination business in Qatar

ras abu fontas

The QEWC Ras Abu Fontas plant

A press release this week from Yokogawa announces that the Yokogawa South Korean engineering operation has won another major contract from Samsung C&T for Centum VP control and ProSafe-RS safety systems for a 2.4GW Combined Cycle gas turbine power and desalination plant. The plant is to be built in Qatar, using local natural gas as the fuel, and will make up an important part of the future Qatari infra-structure: it will be located 20km south of Doha. It will be operated by Umm Al Houl Power, a joint venture consortium which includes Mitsubishi/Tokyo Electric Power and Qatar Petroleum, the Qatar Foundation, and the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC).

Another order from Acciona Agua covers the supply of an associated Yokogawa Centum VP control system for a reverse osmosis water desalination plant to be created as a part of the power plant. Separately, Yokogawa received an order placed by Hitachi Zosen Corporation for a Centum VP control system on a further multi-stage flash desalination plant. Combined, the two desalination plants will produce 590,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Yokogawa will be responsible for the engineering of these interlinked systems, which will be able to monitor and control the operations of all three plants: plus they will provide support for installation and commissioning.

Yokogawa Experience

Yokogawa in South Korea has developed extensive expertise in working alongside Korean and Japanese power plant contractors, and claims a solid global track record in executing large CCGT projects, based on over 100 systems for combined cycle power plants. This capability was demonstrated in Qatar on a previous desalination plant for QEWC, known as the Ras Abu Fontas A2 project, and previous CCGT projects alongside Samsung C&T have included a 2.1GW plant at Rabigh on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

Yokogawa anticipates major growth in demand for CCGT plants worldwide, particularly where there is access to local supplies of natural gas. However, some recent projects have been more unconventional, with a recent installation in Ireland using a high speed controller to manage a fly-wheel energy storage system for smoothing the output power from wind farms! Another project in Cornwall, UK, will use Centum VP and ProSafe-RS to control the boilers and auxiliary systems on a waste to energy plant, their fourth such installation in the UK.

(c) Nick Denbow:  www.ProcessingTalk.info


Emerson Rosemount Pressure Indicator Gauge, with WirelessHART

Emerson Process Management has announced a new WirelessHART transmitter, which is a modern design of the ubiquitous pressure gauge. With a 4.5” gauge face indicator, this Rosemount branded unit has a 270 degree scale, to give easy visual indication, for operators to see on site when needed, of the process pressure. But this unit offers a lot more than a simple gauge, it uses a modern piezo-resistive pressure sensor capsule, replacing the Bourdon tubes and the mechanical parts, which were always subject to wear and vibration. Safety is also improved, because the sensor gives two layers of process isolation: the unit is capable of withstanding 150X overpressure.


Then the modern electronics processes the measurement, to transmit this data over WirelessHART, as a normal pressure transmitter would, so eliminating the need to visually inspect all gauges on operator rounds. In addition, the electronics drives the standard visual display on the gauge, which uses a conventional needle indication. There is also the option to press a button and illuminate the dial so an operator can read the gauge locally. The battery in the unit has a typical ten year life.

An industry first?

The press release from Emerson did suggest that this development introduced the industry’s first wireless pressure gauge. In fact the idea of using wireless to transmit pressure gauge readings remotely is not new, since it was back in 2009 when Honeywell Process Solutions launched a OneWireless gauge reader, working over their mesh wireless network, which later morphed into ISA100. Developed in co-operation with Cypress Envirosystems, the unit was quoted to non-intrusively attach to the outside of any existing dial gauge, enabling a simple upgrade of the existing plant equipment, without stopping the process. Obviously this approach did not improve the pressure isolation or improve the tolerance of the basic mechanical sensor to plant vibration induced damage, which is where the new Emerson approach scores.

(c) Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info


Aveva 3D adopted by Statoil: Schneider and Aveva stop merger/acquisition talks.

The news that Statoil has signed a multi-year agreement with Aveva to use Aveva 3D as its strategic 3D design software platform, as an upgrade to its existing Aveva PDMS design system, reminds us that there has been an on-going discussion about a deal between Schneider Software, through many of its acquired Invensys businesses, and Aveva. This possible deal was announced last June, and featured in the INSIDER Newsletter in July last year. It involves the bringing together of these software businesses into an enlarged Aveva Group, which would be effectively majority owned by Schneider.

Seamless integration of Laser scan data in the AVEVA Everything3D BubbleView

Seamless integration of Laser scan data in the AVEVA Everything3D BubbleView

Statoil is currently quoted to be using Aveva software on 52 Brownfield and 7 Greenfield models, plus the new Johan Sverdrup field development project that today consists of 7 models. Older plants such as the Snøhvit LNG Plant in the Barents Sea, the refineries at Mongstad in Norway and Kalundborg in Denmark, and the gas treatment facility at Kårstø have been converted to Aveva PDMS. So the opportunity for deeper involvement by a partner of Aveva, like Schneider, in all these major refurbishments and new projects, gives a wide opening for an expanded role in the design and automation of these projects.

This was reflected in the statement that Statoil’s new strategy (to standardise on Aveva E3D) offers the potential for significant project efficiencies in the design, operation and revamp of all Statoil facilities in the future. Executive Vice President for Sales in AVEVA, Helmut Schuller, said that “Statoil has selected Aveva E3D as its 3D solution of choice for both its greenfield and brownfield complex plant design projects”, and that Aveva 3D offers “[A] multitude of benefits without the normal risks associated with new projects and long-term operations”.

Aveva 3D offers simple migration from Aveva PDMS, and Statoil has been a strategic user of Aveva PDMS and Aveva Global for more than 15 years. They acknowledge the value this software has brought when executing field development, maintenance and modification projects as well as during the operation and revamp of its portfolio of facilities.

Those acquisition discussions – November

In November 2015, Aveva provided an update on the Schneider Software acquisition discussions, that were undergoing due diligence studies.

The combined company was seen by Aveva in their November update as potentially one of the world’s leading industrial software companies, with an unmatched breadth of product offering covering all aspects of the digital asset including process simulation and optimization, detailed engineering design, operations and asset lifecycle management and supervisory control. One key benefit for Aveva would be a better, bigger presence in North America, and a significant presence amongst owner operator customers. They then went on to report on the Schneider Software H1 figures for 2015, which was decent of them, if not a little surprising! This perhaps reflected an Aveva belief that they were the acquiring party, picking up some Invensys businesses that Schneider did not want any more?

The quoted Schneider results showed a 7% drop in sales, driven by a -7% FX translation effect. Maintenance revenue increased by a high single digit figure, YOY. EBITA was in line with the previous year on a constant currency basis.

The conclusion – in December

Then a statement came on December 15 that the Schneider – Aveva talks had been unable to reach any agreement on the terms of the transaction. The Aveva statement suggested that “During the due diligence process significant integration challenges were identified that could not be overcome without considerable additional risk and cost. This was exacerbated by the highly complex structure of the proposed transaction.”

Meanwhile the Aveva interim/half year results showed a drop of 5% in revenue compared to 2014, and a drop of 50% in the profit and earnings after adjustments to the basic figures, to account for some amortisation and exceptional items. Without the adjustments, Aveva showed a small loss.

The Aveva Board confirms that Aveva trading has continued in line with the Board’s expectations and the Board’s view on the outlook for the full year remains unchanged. The future strategy and expansion plans might need a little change however….

Last July, the rumours had been that Emerson, GE and Siemens were all measuring Aveva up for a bid, so the business is back in the melting pot: although Schneider obviously has significantly more information than the rest.


(c) Nick Denbow  – Processingtalk.info

Automation Supplier World Sales Rankings

In December each year, the US-based Magazine Control (www.controlglobal.com) produces an analysis of the world’s process control and automation suppliers, to determine their rankings for total world sales and North American sales. This process is done by analysing the businesses, and in co-operation with colleagues from the ARC Advisory Group, and their latest article covers the information published in accounts that mainly covered 2014. So the big oil industry investment turndown of 2015 would not be seen in these figures. Control reports that the automation revenues in 2015 were down 2-3% in Q2, and then 5% in Q3, so the outlook for the average results in 2015 will be 7% down.

It has been my routine to take these figures and analyse them the other way round, to look at how the major suppliers perform outside North America, in the “Rest of the World”. The general impression is that there have been not many changes in any of the rankings of suppliers since the previous year. The Schneider acquisition of Invensys accelerated them past Emerson, in sales in the Rest of the World, taking them to #3 in the table. Endress + Hauser moved up to #12, overtaking Danaher.


The tabulation also shows the percentage of each company’s total sales that is represented by the Rest of the World, outside America. Most of the Top 20 vendors shown here have the bulk of their turnover coming from the Rest of the World: notable here are Emerson and Rockwell, each with around 55% only, and holding the #1 and #2 slots in the USA. Comparing these Top 20 companies, the major world businesses that have high percentages of sales outside the USA are inevitably not highly ranked in the US vendor listing produced by Control, as shown in the right hand column: notably these include Mitsubishi, Yokogawa, Phoenix Contact, Omron and Festo.

How about the sales growth?


Overall the Top 50 in the World increased sales by around 5.4% to $113Bn according to Control, with the North American Top 50 seeing sales increase by 7.3% to a total of $30Bn in North America. But the second tabulation shown here is more interesting, where companies are listed and ranked according to their percentage growth rate of their worldwide sales. Here the highest rankings go to some Europe-based groups, like E+H, at 12% growth, and Phoenix Contact, at 9.3%, but also with Ametek taking second place with 11.9%. Then the larger suppliers are evident, with Emerson, Honeywell, Mitsubishi and Siemens. Interestingly the ones keeping steady around zero include ABB, Schneider and Yokogawa.


And the detail behind the growth figures?

The ‘devil’ is in the detail, unless it is the fracked gas in the USA detail, and LNG/oil elsewhere.  Believe me, it’s difficult to see any real pattern from the mass of different figure trends, but there are three distinct groups.

The winning group is very small, one company: this is Endress + Hauser. With 10.6% growth in the Rest of the World (ROW) and 19.7% growth in North America (NA) they stand out as the only real achiever in both areas, for 2014 over 2013. True they have made acquisitions that would affect both markets, but all the other majors have not been inactive in acquisitions either, its part of the business activity.

The next group saw a significant downturn in NA, but a rise in fortunes in the ROW: these were Siemens, Honeywell and Cameron. Not three companies you would think were affected by the same factors. Siemens was done 6.4% in NA but up 6.5% in the ROW, which is a bigger part of their business. Honeywell also has 72% of the business in ROW, which grew at 10.2%, but NA fell by 4.8%. Cameron, currently being acquired by Schlumberger, grew at 12% in ROW (61% of their business), but sales fell 14.3% in NA.

The final grouping of companies saw a boom in NA, in stark comparison to the performance in the ROW: these comprise Yokogawa, Rockwell Automation, GE and Danaher. Yokogawa has recovered well in NA, with 10.3% growth, but is down 2.8% in ROW, which is 92% of their business. Rockwell has also seen enormous NA growth at 19.9%, but is significantly down in ROW, by 13.7%: at the end of 2014 Rockwell had 48% of its automation business in NA, the majority is still in ROW. Both GE and Danaher grew their sales by 8.3% in NA, but business was static in the ROW.

Of all the Top 20 ROW automation suppliers, it is significant perhaps to note that only Ametek (at #20) have the majority of their sales in NA, at 55%: all the Top 19 companies, many of which are thought of as American, make the bulk of their sales outside NA. The company who have had a strategy of achieving overall sales in NA of 33%, EU 33% and the Rest 33%, which is ABB, have 21% of automation type sales in NA, and saw even growth of under 1% in both ROW and NA for 2014. This is probably the stability that was their objective.

(C) Nick Denbow, ProcessingTalk.info, January 2016


Rockwell give a lift to a quiet Christmas!

DSCN2626azThings must be bad in process automation and control: most of the major suppliers involved with the oil industry cancelled or reduced their plans for any entertainment of UK magazine editors this year.  But a notable exception was Rockwell Automation! Their get-together and lunch for Editors at the Café Royal on Regent Street was therefore much appreciated, and a memorable opportunity to hear what they have been doing. Plus it was a major opportunity for the Editors to catch up with one another to review industry developments!

David NichollDavid Nicholl, the new Country Director for RA in the UK, joined Rockwell from Schneider Electric back in May. He commented that RA have benefited from their automation product spread across all industries, and so is not as affected by the problems caused by the low price of oil as other suppliers. Rockwell has had a good year particularly in Food and Beverage, but also they have found a niche for other industries ‘On-shoring’, bringing manufacturing back into the UK, and providing customised, safe and secure production. Industries also high on Rockwell’s customer list this year have been Water, and Pharmaceuticals, where traceability has been a major feature.

Still important to Rockwell are the oil and gas industries, where safety system changes and upgrades are always a priority. The slowdown experienced generally in oil and gas investment has not been as significant for Rockwell Automation, because their safety systems represent an area that is essential, and not cut back as ‘discretionary spending’.

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49% of UK Engineers want to change jobs in 2016

This is the conclusion of “Investors in People”, the UK organisation that tries to promote better ‘People Management’ in industry. A OnePoll survey of 2000 individuals employed in the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors organised at the end of November found that 25% of employees are currently ‘Quite or Extremely Unhappy’ in their jobs. One in five of the respondents were already actively job hunting. Investors in People consider that 49% of engineers will be looking to move jobs in 2016, as the UK economy improves.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People said: “Small things can make a big difference. Feeling valued, understanding their role in the organisation and how they can grow with an organisation are all big concerns for UK workers.  Saying thank you, involving employees in decisions and giving them responsibility over their work are basic ways to make staff happier, and more likely to stay. Employers also win, with a more committed workforce, higher retention and a clearer view of the future.”

Investors in People have produced a new report “Job Exodus Trends in 2016”, which is available from their website. It shows that one in 5 workers in the engineering and manufacturing sectors are complaining the lack of career progression (21%), a similar number (22%) say they don’t feel valued as a member of staff and nearly a quarter are unhappy with their levels of pay (23%), prompting a potential mass exodus.

The survey tested the respondents’ attitude by asking them to choose between two scenarios – a 3% pay-rise, in line with recent UK increases, or a different non-remuneration benefit:

  • Over a third (36%) said they would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than a 3% pay-rise;
  • Nearly a third (32%) said they would rather have a clear career progression route;
  • A similar number (29%) would rather their employer invested in their training and development more.

When asked what their employer could do to increase their happiness in their current role,

  • One in 11 (9%) just wanted to be told ‘thank you’ more often;
  • One in 9 (11%) simply wanted more clarity on what their career progression options were.

Without addressing some of these problems, many employers run the risk of losing their valuable, skilled staff, as the economy improves in 2016, concludes Investors in People. See www.investorsinpeople.com/jobexodus2016.