Tomorrow's automation technology starts today. From field device daily routine through the chances of modularization up to data mining. Suspense and excitement continued on the second day of the Namur Annual General Meeting. Here, it was clearly palpable: The modernization tempo that users and operators in the process automation have jointly unleashed has increased significantly.
Day 2 of this years Namur Annual General Meeting initially addressed the topics that users are preoccupied with in their routine work. After all, with all the concepts that are in vogue under the key word Industry 4.0, one is conspicuous: First, the currently deployed components must work. And even in the area of reliable field devices, there are several internal tasks that are yet be completed.
These were mentioned by Thomas Grein, of the Technology Regulations (IGR) Interest Group, who pulled the user back to the ground reality of the field device daily routine by narrating his experiences in the type management of field devices. “Only the safe and reliable entry of process parameters enables the economical operation of a process plant”, Grein clarified.
In type testing according to NE 95, one tests whether the device is suitable for the concerns of the process industry. This includes among other things EMV tests, the observation of Namur recommendations, documentation check or expert comments.
The astounding part of it: Not even fifty percent of the devices pass the type testing at the first attempt, although these were actually developed for the process industry. One third of these can be improved, but: For the operator, this means delayed use and for device manufacturers it frequently means surplus costs on development and documentation.. To confound matters, each 5th devices fails the type testing miserably.
The faults are not always serious, at times the failure can be attributed to ambiguous terms designations. “What is hidden behind the term security measurement deviations?”, cites Grein as example. Essentially more serious are faults that lead to less availability.
Thus for instance, a measurement range of 1 to 4 bar excess pressure was set for a device. The diagnosis function reported that a measurement value less than 1 bar is equivalent to a device error. As the device is commissioned at standard pressure, the measurement cannot be deployed in operation initially. “Only irreversible device damages that can impair the function as component of a PLT security function can lead to a shutdown of the device”, says Grein indicating the logical consequence. In this example, the dialog with the manufacturer led to improvement and extension of the measurement range.
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