The European Scene

The German organisation Profibus & Profinet International (PI) publishes annual statistics on the numbers of devices installed with interfaces equipped with their communication technologies, which also include ProfiSafe and IO-Link. The trend towards Profinet increased in 2017, with 4.5 million new nodes installed, an increase of 25% on the previous year figure, which brings the total number installed to 21 million. Possibly because of the rise in Profinet systems, the Profibus DP numbers added seem to have reached a plateau over recent years, with a population of 60 million.

Profibus PA and ProfiSafe node numbers are growing strongly in the process automation field, with the ProfiSafe adoption growing 25% in the year, adding 2m nodes to reach 9 million in total. Similarly IO-Link device numbers installed in the year increased 50%, adding 2.8m to achieve a population of 8.1 million, linking sensors and actuators to a PLC as a subsidiary network below the fieldbus/Profinet level. PI recently published an IO-Link wireless specification, and demonstrated the technology at the Hanover Trade Show earlier this year.

Government Interferences

Legislative rulings have affected businesses and consumers across the EU recently, with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) causing avalanches of email asking for a subscriber’s permission to be re-registered with every firm they have ever dealt with, to allow them to record the fact. Even companies from outside the EU will face financial penalties, if they send out emailed newsletters or promotional messages into EU subscribers, without having these permissions confirmed, registered and recorded!

In the USA, the EPA, under the Trump administration, has dropped most of the more Draconian measures that they had originally proposed to impose on chemical plants, after the explosion at West Fertilizers in Texas that killed 15 fire-fighters and injured 260 people. The CSB report on the incident also listed 19 other Texas facilities that store large amounts of Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser, and are located within half a mile of a school, hospital or nursing home. One regulation that will be introduced in Texas is that local fire marshals will inspect all sites storing ammonium nitrate, once a year. Hopefully this might help prevent any further explosions that might result in large off- site consequences.

The changes that were proposed by the EPA and that will not now be introduced include (1) the need to evaluate options for safer technology and procedures that would mitigate hazards; (2) the requirement to conduct a root-cause analysis after a catastrophic chemical release or potential release incident; and (3) performing a third-party compliance audit after an accident at a plant involving the release or potential release of chemicals.

In the UK, Barclays Bank, rather than the Government, is reassuring UK exporters worried about Brexit and trading afterwards, with a survey that shows 39% of International customers would be more inclined to buy a product if it displayed the Union Jack. This was especially true for consumers in Asia and the Middle East (India, 67%; UAE, 62%; China, 61%), and also for younger consumers generally, where nearly half said this would encourage them to make a purchase. For over 55 year olds (who maybe had more life experience) the figure dropped to a quarter. It’s all statistics!)

Research projects

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen was first demonstrated by Fujishima and Honda using a titanium dioxide electrode. Since then, scientists have been on the hunt for the ideal material to perform the task, as Hydrogen is a very useful, green fuel for portable power. Now, a team from Exeter University has made a significant hydrogen energy breakthrough, developing an electrode that splits water using only light. The photo-electrode, which is made from nanoparticles of lanthanum, iron and oxygen, absorbs light before initialising electrochemical transformations to extract hydrogen from water. The team is currently working on further improving this material to
make it more efficient, to produce more hydrogen.

At the Drives & Controls Exhibition in the UK this year all the motor manufacturers were showing the condition monitoring capabilities of their offering, usually measured by vibration monitoring sensors. Possibly ABB went one step further, showing a sensor assembly that can be attached to almost any low-voltage motor, existing or on a new project. Transmitting information over Bluetooth, the sensors require no wiring, and are attached directly to the motor’s frame. Within the unit, sensors collect vital data points like vibration, sound and temperature, and upload that information via an ABB gateway or Smartphone to the cloud, where it is analysed. The results are sent back for optimising performance and predictive maintenance, just like a roving maintenance engineer!

This article was written for the July issue of the South African Journal of Instrumentation and Control, published by technews.co.za

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Exit for Automation Insider – maybe!

With the news that the Industrial Automation Insider is publishing its final issue, Eoin O’Riain of Read-out.net writes the following analysis:

The editorial in the latest issue on Industrial Automation Insider is (we think) somewhat sad. Walt Boyes writes


“Well, this is it. 

This is the last issue of the INSIDER. When David Spitzer and I bought the INSIDER in 2014 we hoped to find a market for news and analysis in the automation industries that was not influenced by advertising spend. We believed there was such a market, and we decided we would keep the INSIDER a subscription only publication. We are proud to have provided you news untainted by advertising dollars.

We believe that we have produced great news, some interesting scoops (that’s hard to do in a monthly magazine) and some hard-hitting deep analysis. We have gotten feedback to the effect that we are unique, and we are doing a service to the industry that is needed. But everything comes to an end. 

We want to thank our readers and subscribers for supporting us these last years.”

So much water has flowed under so many bridges since Andrew Bond first put pen to paper and produced the first beige coloured edition way back in pre pdf day. He then passed the torch on to Nick Denbow who continued the good work. Some years ago it crossed the Atlantic when Walt Boyes of Spitzer & Boyes took up the mantle. It perhaps lost a little of its European flavour in the transition but it never ceased to be interesting and sometimes controversial.

Like so many print and distributed periodicals the easily availability of news “as it happens” (not to mention the news that hasn’t happened) the number of people who actually read these in their oh-so-busy mailboxes must shrink. The Insider, and indeed our own publication Read-out, have suffered.   The Read-out name is preserved as a constantly changing news presence on a continually updated website.

Walt thanks his co-writers David SpitzerJoy Ward, Rajabahadur Arcot, Nick Denbow and all of the other people who supported the INSIDER over the past few years. He also promises that they will continue to appear, from time to time, “in our blog on the Spitzer & Boyes website.”

David W Spitzer’s own e-zine – which provides technical and indeed marketing, information for automation professional by email each month – will continue to be produced. (Get your copy each month by signing up on the website.)

We wish those involved in the monthly production of the Insider every success as they continue to provide news and analysis in the automation industries but in a different way. We thank Walt and his team for great – and perhaps irreplaceable – service through the years.

Eoin O’Riain

Wave energy – UK and South Africa

wave energyBoth the UK and South Africa have the potential for harvesting green energy from the surrounding sea, from ocean or tidal flows, or from wave energy. Some 15 years ago, when the UK Government was keen to encourage and invest in green energy technologies, the European Marine Energy Technology Centre (EMEC) was established in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. The EMEC is the only centre of its kind in the world: it exists to provide developers of both wave and tidal energy converters – technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams – with purpose-built, accredited open-sea testing facilities. Initial funding of GBP34m came from the UK and Scottish Governments, the Carbon Trust, the European Union and several Scottish local agencies and councils. By 2011 the EMEC had become self-sufficient, by selling its consultancy and site evaluation and testing services to would-be suppliers.

As an aside, becoming self-sufficient was probably very opportune in 2011, as other UK Government financed initiatives and incentives for green technologies, like the Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration project, and financial incentives for wind farms, were switched off very fast as harsh financial strictures were imposed on Government spending. Currently, the CCS demo project in Canada, supported by its national and local Government, Shell Research, and local industry, is performing better than the project expectations.

South African research

According to Professor Wikus van Niekerk, from the Stellenbosch University Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), while South Africa has some limited potential for harnessing tidal current energy, particularly at the Knysna Heads and the Langebaan Lagoon, the country’s most promising renewable ocean energy potential lies in ocean currents and waves.

From the technology aspect, wave energy appears to offer the most potential in South Africa. CRSES research shows the Western Cape has the highest wave power generation potential, and a few wave energy projects have been tried. Indeed Stellenbosch University developed the Stellenbosch Wave Energy Converter (SWEC) in the 1980s. As recently as 2015 it appeared the cost of wave energy generation was significantly higher than the solar PV or wind turbine techniques, but cost and technology changes rapidly!

New wave energy devices

Now on test in the Orkneys with EMEC is a 50% scale model of the new Swedish design of the Wave Energy Converter, the C3 from CorPower Ocean. This unit resembles a large ‘skittle’, or long necked bottle. Under test at EMEC since January 2018, the C3 WEC will be connected to a floating Microgrid unit, which is designed to allow the C3 device to behave as if it were grid connected by providing a stable voltage and frequency reference, simulating the impedance of a typical grid connection, absorbing power from the device under test and providing power to auxiliary systems.

This style of the WEC would be aimed at providing off-grid operations to power islands, offshore installations or remote coastal locations, all around the world. Another unit previously tested by the EMEC is the Wello Penguin, designed in Finland. Wello has received its first order for a commercial wave energy park, to be installed next to Nusa Penida Island in Bali, Indonesia: it will be the largest wave energy park globally, with planned delivery at the end of 2018. Power output is 20 MW, using multiple Penguin generators.

The Wello Penguin floats on water and captures kinetic energy from the waves, which is then turned into electrical power. It is an asymmetrical ship, and a 600 kW unit would be 220 tonnes typically, 30 m long and 16 m wide, anchored to the ocean floor. It utilises the same components that are already in use in wind turbines, and is easily constructed in a shipyard, meaning the Penguin is cost competitive compared to offshore wind energy. The roll of the Penguin spins the rotator inside the device, directing the energy from the waves. This rotation drives the generator – it does not have any moving parts in contact with sea water, so the service needs are minimal. In relation to comparative costs, the CEO of Wello, Heikki Paakkinen, said “The cost of energy generated with Wello Penguin is already very competitive compared to offshore wind energy, and in serial production we aim for a further 50% cost reduction.”

wello penguin

In 2015, Blackbird International, in collaboration with WERPO, announced plans to develop a 500 MW wave energy power plant in South Africa. The original wave energy system designed by WERPO, from Israel, uses an anchored float normally installed on wave breakers or sea walls, which rises and falls with wave action.

This article was written for and originally published in the April issue of the South African Instrumentation and Control Journal, published by technews.co.za in South Africa.

75 Gas Chromatographs for Oman

Yokogawa IA GC8000

Yokogawa GC8000

Yokogawa Electric has received an order to supply an analyser package solution for the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex, which is being built for Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), a company owned and operated by the Oman government.

The Liwa Plastics Industries Complex is being built in Sohar, on Oman’s northern coast. This package order is for 15 analyser houses and associated analysis systems consisting of process analysers and sampling instruments. The client is a joint venture between Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I, a major US construction company) and CTCI Corporation (a major Taiwanese engineering company) that is responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of an approximately 800,000 ton per annum naphtha cracker and related utility facilities at this complex. The analysis systems for this steam cracker and its off-site utility facilities will rely on Yokogawa GC8000 process gas chromatographs to separate mixed gases and volatile liquids into their respective components and measure their concentrations. A total of 75 of the GC8000 units have been ordered, and this is Yokogawa’s largest single project order to date for this product. Yokogawa Electric Korea will have overall responsibility for analyser house fabrication, system integration and site commissioning services. As both Yokogawa Electric International and Yokogawa Europe Solutions have extensive experience in constructing analyser houses, Yokogawa Electric International will manage the engineering, delivery, and commissioning of this Yokogawa equipment, and Yokogawa Europe Solutions will provide project execution support. The analyser houses will be delivered by the third quarter of 2018: the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex is scheduled to start operation in the first quarter of 2020.

It is believed that Yokogawa won this large order because the customer evaluation rated highly the company’s advanced knowledge of gas analysers and liquid analysers, expertise in the construction of analyser houses, and track record in supplying gas chromatographs to oil refineries and chemical plants all around the world. In recent years, the increasing need to improve product quality in the oil, natural gas, petrochemical, and chemical industries has been met by using gas chromatographs for accurately analysing the different gas components.

Backed by this order, Yokogawa will further expand sales of the GC8000 and other process analyser solutions, growing the process analyser system integration business, and helping their valued customers to improve the quality of their products.

Yokogawa invests into Silicon Valley fog computing

 

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces that it has invested in FogHorn Systems Inc, a Silicon Valley start-up that is a leading developer of fog computing* technology. Yokogawa aims to foster development of fog computing technology through its investment in this company. In so doing, Yokogawa hopes to expand the range of solutions that it provides.

Due to the continued growth of cloud computing services and the huge number of devices that have access to cloud resources, there is a growing concern over issues such as network congestion and data processing delays. Fog computing is gaining traction as a technology solution to this problem.

Co-Investors with Yokogawa

FogHorn Systems, a pioneer in the development of software for fog computing applications with outstanding expertise in this field, has attracted the interest of various companies that are promoting IoT. Led by March Capital and GE Ventures, the company has succeeded in raising $12 million in funding from multiple investors, including Yokogawa, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, and Darling Ventures. There is also a group of investors who invested in the company prior to this round of fundraising. Yokogawa’s stake in the company is worth $900,000.

Yokogawa offers a wide range of control solutions that help its customers improve the safety and efficiency of their operations and make the most effective use of their assets. These solutions include field instruments, control systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and management information systems. Industrial IoT (IIoT) technology is making rapid inroads in the control field, and it is expected that fog computing’s enablement of real-time and distributed processing in edge computing applications will significantly accelerate its adoption.

Through this investment in FogHorn Systems, Yokogawa will gain access to the latest fog computing technologies and will also make available its knowledge and expertise in process control and plant operations that will help this company further refine its fog computing technology. Yokogawa aims to make use of fog computing to strengthen the solutions that it provides.

‘Process Co-Innovation’ from Yokogawa

Yokogawa has drawn up a long-term business framework and formulated a vision statement that reads: “Through ‘Process Co-Innovation’ Yokogawa creates new value with our clients for a brighter future. ‘Process Co-Innovation’ is a concept for an automation business that will utilize all of Yokogawa’s measurement, control and information technologies. Accordingly, Yokogawa will seek not only to optimize production processes but also the flow of material and information within and between companies, including their value and supply chains”.

Yokogawa is committed to working with customers to create value through the effective use of IIoT, a key to ‘Process Co-Innovation’. Tsuyoshi Abe, Yokogawa vice president and head of the company’s Marketing Headquarters, said of this investment: “Highly reliable and stable communications are an essential requirement in manufacturing and many other fields. Fog computing is a breakthrough that helps to enhance the use of cloud resources. It is also expected to provide Yokogawa many more opportunities to utilize IIoT in its control business. In line with our corporate brand slogan of ‘Co-innovating tomorrow’, Yokogawa will use FogHorn’s technology to develop new solutions and create new value in collaboration with its customers and partners.”

* Fog computing:

Fog computing is an architectural concept for the realization of edge intelligence and the suppression of communications with the cloud by establishing a ‘fog’ distributed computing layer between the cloud and devices in the field. Fog computing eliminates communications delays and fluctuations by locating the processing of certain data near the field devices that generate the data and sending only essential information to the cloud. As such, there are high expectations that this technology will lead to a number of new IoT applications.

648MW solar project in India

ABB has successfully commissioned five substations to integrate a 648 megawatt solar project at Kamuthi in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to the national transmission grid. The project was awarded by independent power producer the Adani Group in 2015, and completed on schedule. The solar photo-voltaic project – made up of five plants in a single location – is the largest of its kind in the world. 360 MW from the solar project is currently grid-connected and at full capacity this facility will account for nearly 10 percent of the country’s current solar capacity of around seven gigawatts.

Adani’s 648 MW solar power plant

The Adani 648MW solar power plant

The project contributes to India’s vision of achieving 100 GW of solar power by 2022, with the overall aim of diversifying its energy mix to meet growing demand while minimizing environmental impact. As part of this plan, the government has issued a proposal to implement 25 ultra-mega solar power projects with capacities between 500 and 1,000 MW over a period of five years. The government of Tamil Nadu is also pursuing a solar policy which envisages a solar generation capacity addition of 3,000 MW.

“We are proud to support the country’s clean energy vision and push for solar power which demonstrates its commitment to sustainable growth,” said Claudio Facchin, President of the ABB Power Grids division. “This project exemplifies our end-to-end power and automation system integration capabilities and reinforces our commitment to the renewable energy sector, a key component of the ABB ‘Next Level’ strategy.”

The ABB project scope included the design, supply, installation and commissioning related to the solar plant electrification and automation systems. This includes two 230 kilovolt and three 110 kV outdoor switchyards to connect to the local transmission grid and will enable clean power supply for around 150000 households, based on average national per capita consumption.

ABB to strengthen the power infrastructure in Indonesia

ABB is to support the Indonesian state-owned utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to strengthen the reliability and enhance the efficiency of its Java-Bali transmission and distribution networks to meet the growing demand for power in Java, the most populated island on earth.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and install the substation extensions, including switchgear, transformers, state-of-the-art control and protection systems as well as ancillary equipment. The product scope will include 11 units of 60 megavolt-ampere (MVA) transformers, high-voltage air-insulated switchgear for eight substations, high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear for one substation as well as the replacement works and control systems for uprating the transformers in three other substations. Financed by the Asian Development Bank, the $11m project is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

@ProcessingTalk

(c) ProcessingTalk.info

Yokogawa Analyser systems integration services

The Yokogawa Analytical instrumentation makes up a significant part of their product range, serving customers in the oil, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, natural gas and power industries. The measurement techniques used in their products include chromatography, laser-based infra-red absorption and Raman spectroscopy, as well as industrial liquid sensors for conductivity and pH monitoring. Typically many of these sensors are installed in on-site laboratories or analyser houses, which can be skid or container type units attached to the process directly or via sample lines.

YokogawaASICenterEurope_02xx

The expertise developed within Yokogawa in the installation of efficient and effective analytical installations led to the establishment of a complete analyser system supply and integration service, to provide a total package of instruments, monitoring housings, sample line interconnections and conditioning systems, ready for site installation. Such services have been operational for some years, operating from bases within the Yokogawa US and Asian business units: now with the launch of a new service in Europe, ASI or Analyser Systems Integration, the same full service will be available to European customers. This makes Yokogawa a true one-stop-shop for ASI at both green-field or brown-field projects of almost any size, thus helping project owners to simplify their supply chains as they need only deal with a single team for all analytical requirements.

ASICenterEuropeinMadrid

The Yokogawa European ASI centre in Madrid

Loek van Eijck, business unit manager, analytical solutions at Yokogawa Europe, said: “We’re very pleased to announce the introduction of Yokogawa Europe’s Analyser System Integration service. This services responds to a growing market demand within the chemical, oil & gas industry, and increasingly in other process industries, to simplify project management of both new installations and renovations. We’ll be working with our own analysers and those of 3rd-party manufacturers, but it makes sense for project owners and primary contractors to deal with a single integrator of analytical systems, and for that integrator to be a supplier of instruments being installed.”

One of the major issues facing project managers is finding a team with the right skills and experience for specialist areas of project implementation. Yokogawa’s ASI service guarantees access to design and implementation engineers with the highest levels of qualification and certification. The highly skilled project management team is fully certified by Project Management Professional (PMP), while the engineering team designs solutions to the explosion-proof standards specified by ATEX, IECEx and all other relevant standards and legislative bodies, making design compliance easier to prove. They are backed up by a professional execution team with more than 150 years of accumulated installation experience.

YokogawaASICenterEurope_01xx

Yokogawa has built a global reputation for quality and innovation, and has now applied this to its ASI service. “We believe this sets our service apart from the competition,” said van Eijck. “Yokogawa has earned its reputation through involvement in some of the industry’s largest and most innovative projects, and is now able to apply this in Europe to ASI projects of almost any size from any process industry requiring highly accurate analytical instrumentation by sharing know-how with other ASI facilities and developing synergy among Yokogawa Group Companies.” This new facility makes Yokogawa a true one-stop-shop for ASI at both green-field or brown-field projects of almost any size, thus helping project owners to simplify their supply chains. The mature European process industry has many aging plants, and these regularly require updates, renovation and modernizationto meet current and new monitoring requirements.

The service provides a full analytical services life cycle from design, fabrication and manufacturing to installation, on-site services and training. Yokogawa ASI also links up to the similar services provided by Yokogawa in its Asian and US divisions providing customers with global coverage – an obvious advantage for international organisations and projects.

The ASI service in Europe is based in Madrid, Spain. Almudena Mier, ASI location manager at Yokogawa, said; “We have created an excellent facility here for the new service which offers a great environment for the team and the projects they will work on. Madrid is well served by transport links to the rest of Europe and beyond, and has access to some great local engineering talent as well as being an attractive place to work for staff and customers who come from elsewhere in Europe.”

(c) ProcessingTalk.info, June 2016

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