Adapting to Change Review of the Honeywell EMEA Users Group Conference
Adapting to change was the theme of the event which Honeywell Process Solutions staged last November in Seville, Spain. Customers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) gathered at the user meeting in the Andalusian city to share thoughts, ideas and best practice which can help improve the operation of Honeywell products and systems.
Paul Orzeske, Vice President Of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), summarized the effects, which the demand for better efficiency in today’s production systems is having, as follows: “Fewer and fewer people have to make better decisions quicker in an economic environment that is constantly evolving.”
How the constantly growing volume of data can be properly interpreted and used is an issue that threatens to overwhelm operators and maintenance engineers. State-of-the-art technologies including wireless communications, asset management, cyber security, simulation, real time corrosion measurement and detection and energy management can help alleviate the situation and also enhance safety. Users who attended the sessions and roundtable discussions, which were organized by industry, had the opportunity to gather information and to take an active part in the dialogue, for example in the User Input Subcommittees (UIS). Users such as Heinz Janiec, employees at Shell Germany and others are able to influence the future direction of product and system development. Honeywell’s partner companies such as Turck, Flowserve, Pepperl+Fuchs, Intergraph, etc. also made an important contribution at the conference.
Wireless was the major topic at the conference. Back in 2003, Honeywell’s XYR 5000 series transmitters were among the first wireless sensors in the industrial market. The company now claims to have an installed base of more than 300 customers including Roche, DuPont, Repsol, Statoil and Nerefco. In the middle of last year, HPS presented a customer-driver wireless roadmap which will enable users to optimize system operation and increase employee productivity. According to the manufacturer, the program also gives due consideration to network security, improving aspects such as compliance with regulatory requirements, functional and communications security, reliability and applications efficiency. These activities ensure that the wireless technologies are developed to reflect the work which is currently going on at the standardization bodies, for example ISA SP100 (Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society) and the Wireless Hart committee. However, insiders are well aware that it is not easy for the SP-100 standardization committee to keep up with the advancing technology.
HPS will be introducing the second generation early this year. Workers on the move and wireless instrumentation will share a single, scalable, secure, plant-wide network. Concerns are often raised about vulnerability to sources of interference which could be used to sabotage wireless networks. HPS expert Herbert Fittler made the following observation about the risks: “Of course networking planning should include familiar protection features such as encryption and antenna configuration. With careful planning, the interference source would have to be positioned relatively close to the system to have any significant effect. Facilities security must be a key element in the overall security strategy.” Customer feedback reveals that users would like a secure, reliable, scalable and multi-functional network environment that can be managed from a central point. The most popular wireless networks currently only support selected devices. One network is needed to support hand-held devices, and another collects data from process sensors. The networks also have different security configurations and compete for the same bandwidth, increasing the susceptibility to network failure, explained Fittler. The future Honeywell network will support different industrial protocols and up to 30,000 devices including panel PCs and sensors along with other wireless devices such as PDAs, pagers, radios and cellular phones.
Integrated security technology, which Honeywell already deploys in its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), is the key element in the network. PKS is Honeywell’s control and advanced automation platform for the process industry. The platform creates a link between critical production line subsystems, giving the user a better overall understanding of what is going on in the process. A redundancy function automatically re-routes critical information over pre-defined paths if a device develops a fault.
Focusing on safety
Release 110 is the newest version of Honeywell’s Segment Safety Manager. The current version supports interaction with process simulation tools as well as fire and gas detectors. “Honeywell submitted its Safety Manager system for cyber-security testing, and the comprehensive tests did not impact the safety functions in any way,” reported Eric Byres who set up the critical infrastructure analysis team at BCIT and is now in charge of security at Wurldtech Research. HPS believes that a holistic approach, which establishes a bridge between the security systems and process control information, is the key to designing an effective safety strategy for any production system. The latest version of Safety Manager supports this approach and is designed to accommodate future technological developments in the SIS market.
What happened to Shell at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska last year shows how quickly pipeline corrosion can make the headlines. Honeywell supplies a corrosion transmitter which might have prevented that situation. “SmartCET was developed to reduce the financial losses which corrosion causes in the process industry,” explained Russell Kane, Director of Corrosion Services at Honeywell Process Solutions. “Local corrosion is responsible for about 70 to 90 percent of all corrosion-related faults.” In combination with Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), SmartCET provides real time online data which is used to assess the corrosion rate in millimeters per year (mmpy) and the local corrosion status (pitting).
If you are interested in finding out more, the dates have already been set for the next EMEA User Conference. The Honeywell user community will get together again this year on November 5th – 8th in Mozart’s city of Salzburg in Austria.