Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What matters now


So this is Christmas!

It is a time when we try to concentrate on the things that really matter in our lives. Our loves, our personal relationships and remembering things past. Unless of course we subscribe to the Scrooge philosophy of Bah Humbug.

Nevertheless after such a year as we have just experienced it is useful to consider the priorities and changes that are occuring so quickly in this day and age and how they effect our "working" life and therefore indirectly our "personal" life.

This morning I got the latest blog from Chris Rand and he was was giving a present for the year end. A little light holiday reading he called it.

Apparantly our good friend Seth Godin has got 70 "big thinkers" to contribute to a free eBook called "What Matters Now" with inspirational articles about "Things to think about (and do) this year."

So here it is for you too. Read and enjoy!

May we wish all of you and your families every blessing for Christmas and in 2010 every success and prosperity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Split-range control

New Book Covers Split-Range Control

PIDTutor has released a book covering all aspects of split-range control. The book, Mastering Split-Rang Control, is designed to help technicians and engineers to implement and troubleshoot split-range control applications.

Split-range control uses a single controller with two control valves to maintain a single process variable. It can be used for a variety of applications, such as heating and cooling of a tank or a room. Split-range control is widely used in the process industries, such as pulp and paper, oil and petrochemicals, and mining.

George Buckbee, President of PIDTutor, and author of the book, says: "I wrote this book because split-range control is widely used, but is often mis-understood. With split-range control, the devil is in the details. These details and many ‘tricks of the trade’ are included in the book."
The book covers all aspects of the use of split-range control. Starting with the basics, the book discusses when to use split-range and when not to, costs and benefits, how to configure the control strategy, how to calibrate the valves, how to tune the loops, and even how to train operators and troubleshoot problems. Color pictures illustrate the key concepts.

About PIDTutor and George Buckbee George Buckbee, P.E. is a process control industry veteran, and president of PIDTutor. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering. George has dedicated his entire career to process control, spending decades in hands-on engineering assignments. He has written dozens of articles, and a full-length text “Automation Applications in Biopharmaceuticals”. He is widely known for his practical approach to process control. George started PID Tutor to help solve common problems in the process industries. In addition to books, PIDTutor offers training, consulting, and project management services.
See his Blog: Process Control Guru.

Load cell launch

North American launch of ultra low range precision load cells

Sherborne Sensors has announced the North American launch of their SS2/SS3 series, a family of ultra-low range precision load cells, designed for aerospace, automotive, medical, R&D and general industry applications where extremely low force measurements are required.

The SS2/SS3 series offers full range measurement capabilities to 60 grams, with a 12mV/V full scale output and virtually infinite resolution, enabling low forces to be resolved down to just a fraction of one gram. Bonded semiconductor strain gage technology confers excellent sensitivity, and eliminates the fragility associated with non-bonded strain gage types. The robust design of the SS2/SS3 series features excellent immunity to the effects of eccentric loading, side loading and bending moments, with added versatility of precision measurement capabilities in either tension or compression mode. Low deflection and high-frequency response characteristics of the SS2/SS3 series are suitable for measuring both peak and transient forces over an operating temperature range of -20 to +90 °C.

Their customers benefit from extensive applications engineering support, global technical sales presence, repair, refurbishment and calibration services, stocking programs, and continuous product improvements. Illustrating the confidence that they place in their products, SS2/SS3 series ultra-low range precision load cells include a comprehensive two-year warranty. Additionally, throughout 2010, Sherborne Sensors guarantees on-time delivery for SS2/SS3 series load cells, or the Purchaser is entitled to claim credit, in accordance with the new Sherborne Sensors Late Delivery Compensation plan.

EMI solution

HMI-like ease of use
New EMI solution features best-in-class data analysis, presentation & reporting.

Wonderware Ireland part of SolutionsPT Limited – has announced Wonderware® Intelligence Software 1.0 solution. This new, easy-to-use enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) solution enables customers to contextualise, aggregate and report both historian and operational data using role-based dashboards, presenting key performance indicators (KPIs) and real-time operational business metrics that are used to monitor, tune and optimise operations and supply chains.

This software transforms data and information from multiple sources into business intelligence by aggregating process and production data in real time and adding contextual elements, such as equipment, product, work orders, material and personnel. This information context enables end users to gain insights into the root causes of problems and understand how production events are related — another unique benefit.

The formatted information is saved and optimised for fast reporting and analysis, allowing end users to create and publish dashboards using the Wonderware Intelligence Analytics Client into a wide variety of web portals. Users can also configure customised metrics without programming. Additionally, the solution:

• Acquires data not only from the Wonderware family of products, including MES, InBatch™ and Historian, but also from external systems such as ERP, LIMS, PDM or even other execution systems and historians, to provide plant, multi-plant and corporate-wide views of operations and performance.
• Utilises best-in-class tools for rapidly creating and publishing dashboards that can be rendered in commonly used web platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint®, mySAP Enterprise Portal and Wonderware Information Server.
• Furthers investments in the core Wonderware products, leveraging System Platform’s Integrated Development Environment and services for configuration and deployment of the data model and allowing customers to incrementally add MES and EMI features and functionality easily and non-invasively.
• Is a cross-functional product, applicable to any industry or market segment

“This is a true EMI solution that allows customers to build once, deploy at multiple sites and enjoy corporate-wide visibility of their plant’s KPIs, even with disparate data sources. Dashboards can easily be created with drag-and-drop ease, enabling self-service access to information,” said Maryanne Steidinger, director of product marketing, Invensys Operations Management.

Canadian distribution

New distribution centre opens

Brennan Industries has opened a new distribution center in Canada allowing for faster and more cost-effective shipments to Canadian customers.

“The new distribution center allows us to better serve our Canadian customers by saving them money and making our products more convenient for them,” said David M. Carr, president at Brennan Industries. “Now there are no delays or large fees for small orders.”

The new Canadian distribution center is located in Mississauga, Ontario. Since shipments no longer need to clear customs and customhouse brokerage fees can be avoided, Canadian customers will benefit with time and cost savings.

Brennan Industries offers more than 25,000 standard and special products in sizes ranging from 1/8- to 2-1/2-inches. These include pipe and straight-thread fittings, O-ring face-seal fittings, 37 degree flare tube fittings, bite-type fittings, metric fittings, international fittings, and a double ferrule instrumentation tube fitting line. Most products are available in carbon steel, stainless steel and brass, and meet or exceed J.I.C., S.A.E. and other specifications.

Brennan products are stocked at six strategically located, full-service distribution centers in: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle (all USA) and now Mississauga in Ontario.

DP transducers

Wet/wet pressure differential transducers designed for high line pressure

For high line pressure applications where it is important to measure the differential pressure between two pressure ports, RDP Electronics has a specialist range of transducers.

Applications such as measuring the pressure across hydraulic cylinders, very high pressure filter measurement, or test applications where a very high line pressure or very high overload pressure is called for, can all be addressed with true wet/wet differential transducers. Versions can allow differential pressure of 4,000 psi for example, even where the line pressure may already be 5,000 psi and are designed for the minimum possible error caused by variations in line pressure. Transducers are manufactured from stainless steel and versions are compatible with a wide range of fluids and gases.

Technology alliance

Invensys Announces Technology Alliance with RWD
Operator training simulators from Invensys and training services from RWD target hydrocarbon processing market

Invensys Operations Management has announced the formation of a global relationship with RWD, a world leader in developing and implementing programs for continuous improvement, advanced learning services and business transformation and change management. RWD will create training programs for Invensys Operations Management's operator training simulators (OTS) for clients in the hydrocarbon processing industries.

"Operating companies worldwide face a daunting dilemma of replacing operators and other personnel quickly and effectively," said Steven Sendelbach, applications consultant, Invensys Operations Management. "Combining RWD's highly effective training methodology with our world-class simulation and modeling technologies provides a complete solution focused on rapidly accelerating the competencies of a shrinking workforce. The end result is an operating team with improved troubleshooting and optimization skills that help plants run more safely with less downtime and lower operating costs."

Together, Invensys and RWD will provide a single, unified and fully integrated training program that will help manufacturers and process companies create better trained, more skilled operators. The initial offering will encompass several Invensys SimSci-Esscor® products, including DYNSIM® software for Operator Training, utilizing a simulator modeling platform, and the EYESim™ 3-D virtual reality field operator training solution. By including professional training services, clients can maximize the benefits they experience from an OTS alone.

"In today's environment, companies want complete solutions for training operators and engineers rapidly and predictably so they can safely operate plants at peak performance with minimal downtime," said Jim Parish, executive vice president of RWD's Energy Solutions Group. "Invensys has proven simulation and modeling technology, and in combination with our RWD TOPS® training programs and eLearning solutions, we can offer high value-add solutions to our clients. RWD looks forward to working closely with Invensys."

Packaging

Improving packaging performance in 30 days
A powerful, pre-built solution utilises operator-centric performance management paradigm

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of the Proficy® SmartStart Packaging Performance Solution™, a pre-built software and services solution that offers a low-risk, proven approach to packaging performance. The solution helps customers improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), production rate, availability, and order fulfillment while reducing waste and labor costs by providing critical insight into high-speed packaging line operations. When fully implemented, customers have seen OEE increases on packaging lines of between 5% and 12% over time.

The package is part of a suite of GE Intelligent Platforms’ SmartStart solutions designed to enable business results in as little as 30 days with minimal risk by packaging our full-featured software, a proprietary rapid-engagement methodology, high-impact best practices and application templates, with the right delivery and domain expertise to ensure results.

“Packaging operations are under intense pressure to achieve production and quality objectives while reducing costs, adapting to rapidly changing schedules, maximizing asset utilization, and continually improving overall performance,” said Sheila Kester, General Manager, Operations Management Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Troubleshooting, analysis, and root-cause-level correction of packaging performance problems within packaging environments are extremely challenging. This SmartStart solution is built to address those critical issues in an accelerated manner. ”

The SmartStart Packaging Performance Solution, developed by GE Intelligent Platforms Premier Solution Provider EnteGreat of Birmingham, (AL US) and Mississauga, (ONT CDN), is a value-added application of Proficy software components that can be rapidly deployed to help operators quickly identify root causes of stoppages and quality issues. Engineers and maintenance technicians can use the system to gain comprehensive insights into the packaging performance at each manufacturing site within an enterprise.

EnteGreat has combined the power of GE’s Proficy software with its deep understanding of production efficiency management to deliver the Packaging Performance Solution. The package provides:

Pre-built displays that operating teams will use during shift hand-over meetings to ensure the incoming team gets the facts quickly and understands what is currently causing the most problems, sees how the line is trending – and enables them to get onto fixing current problems.
Real-time visualization of packaging line operations data, including tracking of downtime and waste – highlighting exceptions and the areas where performance is below par – with a ‘path to action’ that the teams can follow to identify root cause quickly and directly
Tracking of team performance aimed at motivating the teams to meet their targets whether it is during the shift or even year to date.

Focused reporting and intuitive, user-friendly interface – so the system can be used when the line is stopped and answers are needed now.

“Packaging Performance is a prime target for most manufacturers because it is so critical to their overall business performance,” said Noel Peberdy, President of EnteGreat. “Packaging is typically responsible for a large percentage of the manufacturing cost, and any hiccups in packaging can quickly impact customers.

“Order fulfillment and supply chain responsiveness are dependent on reliable, efficient, high performance packaging operations,” continued Peberdy. “This is particularly challenging on high-speed lines. When a line is down, every minute that ticks by is lost production. Operators don’t have time to fiddle around, trying to figure out what the root cause of downtime is. We have worked with large and small manufacturers on literally hundreds of packaging lines to develop the processes and systems to maximize up time – and to support continuous improvement initiatives that improve OEE and sustain higher levels – even as SKU complexity increases, line changeovers increase in frequency - and as more experienced operators retire.”

The Packaging Performance Solution enables our customers to accelerate improvements in packaging performance. SmartStart offerings capitalize on the extensive application expertise of GE Intelligent Platforms’ solutions ecosystem and the structured evaluation period to improve time-to-value and reduce total cost of ownership for our customers. They also offer scalability and extensibility by establishing a foundation that enables rapid expansion to other production lines and/or additional Operations Management functionality.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Plant of the year

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation 2009 HART Plant of the Year
Use of HART technology detects abnormal situations and failures before they affect the process

HART Communication Foundation Director of Technology Programs Ed Ladd (left) and Executive Director Ron Helson present the 2009 HART Plant of the Year Award to Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in Kashima, Japan, (l-r) Takayuki Aoyama, team leader, Maintenance and Engineering Dept Instrumentation Group; Kenji Tsutsui, general manager, Maintenance and Engineering Dept; and Nobuyuki Mishima, group manager, Maintenance and Engineering Dept Instrumentation Group.

The HART® Communication Foundation has selected the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Japan’s largest chemical manufacturer) ethylene plant located in Kashima, (JP), as recipient of the 2009 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award is given annually to recognize the people, companies and plant sites around the globe that are using the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability.

Mitsubishi Chemical is using the HART Communication capability of over 800 interoperable field devices integrated with their DCS and asset management systems through multiplexers and HART-enabled I/Os to access real-time continuous process variables and diagnostics. By accessing this real-time intelligent data they are able to diagnose abnormal process conditions and track equipment health 24 hours a day. As a result, peak production performance has improved with an estimated operational savings for the plant of $20,000-$30,000 USD per day.

Diagnostics also are used to uncover device failures before they affect the process. It is estimated that two or three device failures have been detected that would have caused unplanned shutdowns. An unscheduled plant shutdown costs an estimated $600,000 USD in lost production per day with a minimum production restart time of 5 days ($3 million USD total savings).

“Diagnostic parameters that help detect signs of an abnormal situation or degrading performance are difficult to obtain with simple handheld devices because they require a time-consuming, manual, step-by-step approach,” says Takayuki Aoyama, team leader, instrumentation group, Mitsubishi Chemical. “HART technology made it possible to access this data without manual operation. This made it much easier for us to gather data and detect abnormal situations from field devices and has reduced maintenance costs by 10 percent.”

In addition, trending and analysis of secondary process variables throughout the plant provide process insight that has allowed plant engineers to analyze, troubleshoot and resolve a number of operational problems including plugged impulse lines, an unstable flow profile, and an inefficient compressor pump.

“We have designated HART as our standard communication protocol and will replace (older) devices with HART-type whenever we get a chance,” says Takayuki. “We use HART communication to collect online data from our field devices without disturbing the 4-20mA analog signal to the control system. Our goal is to detect abnormal situations in the process and protect field devices from malfunctions.”

“Mitsubishi Chemical is a perfect example of how the power of HART can be used to lower costs, improve plant availability and help keep a plant competitive,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation executive director. “We congratulate Mitsubishi Chemical on their innovative use of HART Communication in applications that not only benefit their company, but also serve as a powerful model for industry users worldwide—a working illustration of how to realize far greater benefits from HART Communication than ever before.”
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has 39,000 employees (including subsidiaries). The ethylene plant capacity is 380,000 tons per year. Approximately 800 HART devices are currently installed in the plant with an additional 2200 4-20mA only devices that will be upgraded over time.

The HART Plant of the Year is a unique award in the process automation industry. It is the only public award presented to end user companies to recognize ingenuity in the application of HART Communication technology. The award showcases end user companies and their suppliers who have demonstrated creativity in using the full capabilities of HART Communication technology.

The HART Communication Foundation encourages nominations for HART Plant of the Year from all world areas. Nominations are accepted through May of each year. Previous recipients are Petropiar PVSDA (Venezuela); StatoilHydro (Norway); BP Canada Energy (Canada); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); Clariant (Germany); BP Cooper River (USA), Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (USA) and Dupont (USA).