Control Engineering Process Control eNews for August 2002


In this issue:

15,000 chemical plants will need to comply, but when?

In the April issue of this e-newsletter, I made readers aware of U.S. Senate Bill 1602, 'Chemical Safety Act of 2001.'

On July 25, 2002, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee approved, 19 to 0, measures requiring the government to develop safety standards and to identify 'high priority' chemical plants producing or handling hazardous substances that are vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

When enacted, the bill will govern security operations at 15,000 industrial chemical sites, down from the 40,000 plants and refineries included in an earlier version of the bill.

The approved bill also dropped proposed regulations governing the transportation of hazardous chemicals, and softened a section that would have imposed strong criminal penalties on site managers that failed to meet security standards.

The following day, July 26th, The American Chemical Council (ACC) posted a lengthy statement on its web site regarding the council's opinion of Senate Bill 1602. The following are excerpts from the ACC posting.

'We have a long history of meeting tough deadlines on commitments to protect the environment and the safety of our employees and our neighbors. Soon after the September assaults, for example, the ACC Board of Directors unanimously approved a new `Security Code' that quickly enhances security at all of our facilities across America. This program already is well underway. All of our members are required to take these steps.

Unfortunately, Senate Bill 1602 threatens to delay or stop efforts to increase security at priority facilities until beyond 2005. ACC companies are implementing a nationally accepted security program -- they are making the right security enhancements now. Senate Bill 1602 instead would make companies wait years for new regulations.'

So there you have it. Once again government and industry had an opportunity to cooperate and mitigate potential risk for the benefit of the nation, and once again we get bickering and conflict. When will we learn?

Visit at to read the entire ACC statement and to download a FREE copy of 'Site Security Guidelines for U.S. Chemical Industry.'

Read EPW committee's July 25, 2002, press release at

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FREE-Chemical facility vulnerability assessment methodology

In June 2002, The National Institute of Justice issued an initial version of a vulnerability assessment methodology. This report was developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia's employees are recognized experts in the areas of security and counter-terrorism and have extensive experience in the protection of nuclear weapons and radiological materials.

The 'Chemical Facility Vulnerability Assessment Methodology' focuses on terrorist or criminal actions that could have significant national impact or cause releases of hazardous chemicals that would compromise the integrity of the chemical facility.

Visit to obtain a free copy of the National Institute of Justice's report.

For more about Sandia National Laboratory activities, go to

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One of my 'go to' people, when it comes to safety systems and related topics, is Bill Goble, a founding partner at Established as a U.S. LLC, remains independent of vendor relationships and provides me unbiased opinions about what's good and what's not so good when it comes to process-safety-related issues and devices. Recently added cybersecurity audit services to its existing product and service offering.

Exida's cyber security audit procedure (probably similar to others) conducts risk-based audits. For existing facilities, the audit begins with the existing HAZOP documentation and focuses on the most critical process units.

Exida's audit team then obtains, or creates, a detailed drawing of the control system architecture including all communication circuits, permanent or temporary. They also interview all operator station users and note the availability of nearby phones (hardwired and cell) that could be used on a temporary basis to breach security.

The next step is for the audit team to examine the type of control and safety equipment in use and look for security 'holes,' mostly focusing on the ability of an intelligent human to cause loss of control via an unsecured communication link.

Bill said, 'What our audits have revealed thus far is `open systems' present a greater risk to security than proprietary systems.'

Visit at to learn more about its cybersecurity audit service.

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More about electronic records and signatures

21 CFR Part 11 (electronic records and signatures) is one of the hottest topics to hit the control and automation industry in a long time. The 1997 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation has direct impact on food, beverage, and drug producers. More recently, control system electronic records, signatures, and audit trail capabilities is gaining interest among other industries concerned with a control system's ability to thwart unauthorized use and/or manage/control changes.

Regular readers of this e-newsletter may recall several previous mentions about the FDA regulation 21 CFR Part 11.

There were announcements of companies offering 21 CFR Part 11 services and products, and request to complete a 21 CFR Part 11 awareness study. There also was mention of the article I wrote for the April 2002 issue of Control Engineering titled 'I'm from the Government, and I'm Here to Help You!' Read the article online at

Most recently, Invensys announced a new initiative that unites the expertise of Invensys' Validation Technologies group with Invensys' Wonderware business unit.

According to company spokespersons, Invensys' Validation Technologies is working as an auditor and consultant for Wonderware and is contributing its knowledge of specific FDA requirements for the pharmaceutical industry. Invensys is counting on the combination of Validation Technologies' FDA-compliance expertise and Wonderware's background in the industrial control software field to help expedite customer efforts for easier compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulatory requirements.

Visit Invensys at to learn more.

One of the 21 CFR Part 11 awareness study questions was, 'How many hours of formal, in-person 21 CFR Part 11 training have you attended?' Surprisingly, less than 20% of respondents had 8 or more hours of formal training on this topic.

Joining those offering 21 CFR Part 11 training, is ISA (Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation) society.

On August 21-22, at ISA headquarters in Research Triangle Park, NC, ISA will host '21 CFR Part 11-Is Your Company Ready?' ISA says this conference and training event will cover FDA 21 CFR Part 11 validation and compliance issues, including legacy systems, process control system validation, electronic records, and more.

Vist ISA at and type 21 CFR into the search criteria to learn more about the ISA 21 CFR Part 11 training.

Visit the AFAB Group at to obtain a FREE copy of the 21 CFR Part 11 awareness study.

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FREE - Pump sizing and selection

Like control valves, the proper selection and sizing of pumps can make or break a process control application.

Pump-Flo Solutions recently launched an online pump sizing and selection portal.

After registering, users select from a variety of manufacturers to generate a dynamic pump curve based on a system design point search. Additional search criteria include: fluid properties, motor sizing, NPSH calculations, pump limits, and system operating points. Once a dynamic pump curve is generated, users have the ability to trim impeller diameters, adjust operating speeds, and dynamically generate PDF curves and data sheet reports.

For more, visit and click on 'Pump Selection.'

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Pump sizing and selection training

If your knowledge about pump types and how to select and size them is lacking, you might consider attending one of two courses being offered by Michael Volk.

Mr. Volk is the author of 'Pump Characteristics and Applications,' first published in 1996 and now in its sixth printing.

Two 3-day courses are being offered. The first is Oct. 1-3 in Seattle, WA, and the second is Nov. 23-25 in Long Beach, CA. Registration is $900 and includes a copy of Mr. Volk's book, lunches, and refreshment breaks. Two CEUs will be awarded to course participants. For more information or to register, contact Volk & Associates at 800-733-8655 or by e-mail at

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Good/better practices - reader feedback

In the June and July issues of this e-newsletter I asked for input about sharing good/better practices related to control and automation. Several people took the time to reply and I appreciate the candid feedback.

The general consensus is:

  • I would love to have them; but

  • I may not be able to use them; and

  • I'm not willing to share any of mine.

Some of their own words follow!

From the machine building industry: 'When I was in the Navy I was an instructor in a technical field, and `sharing' good or important information was commonplace. I quickly learned that is NOT THE THING TO DO in the corporate world.'

From the construction and engineering industry: 'I understand good engineering practices cover the wide range of our profession. From the sizing and selection to the procurement and installation of the systems we specify. I think we could all benefit from a new look at what we call good engineering practices.'

From the chemical industry: 'GEP [Good Engineering Practice] is not solely the domain of the engineer. My experience has been that bad engineering practices are a direct result of compromise by all parties involved, from the bean counters, to design, to engineering, to the vendor, and finally the end-user. In a world where we could fly to Mars, read license plates from space, and have the technology to construct buildings that will last a thousand years, cost wins in the end over good engineering practice, and we are left with buildings we have to replace every 20 years, equipment designed to fail, and the final demise of the engineering profession.'

From the information technology industry: 'In a phrase, our company is now focused on laying-off all the engineering staff in favor of `outsourcing' all non-core competencies.'

From the ammonia industry: 'There are many stupid standards that effect our business that are NOT Good Engineering Practice. Do your other readers ever have problems with the `standards' they are required to use that are not only bad engineering practice, but stupid and dangerous?'

That last one is a really good question. How about it? 'Are different industries being forced to use standards and/or practices that are out of date and/or can create unsafe conditions?'

Let me know at

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Do you know the answers?

'Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought with ardor and attended to with diligence.' -Abigail Adams

Awhile back I began introducing a few basic instrumentation and control questions in this newsletter. From the feedback, several find them useful, so here are a few more.

1. When two or more materials must be blended, _______ control is used.

a. Feedback
b. Feedforward
c. Ratio
d. Cascade

The answer is: c - Ratio

2. While calibrating a 0-100 psig instrument, beginning at 0 psi the reading is 49.8 psi when 50 psi is applied, and 50.8 when 50 psi is applied beginning at 100 psi. What type of error is this?

a. Linearity
b. Span
c. Hysteresis d. Zero shift

The answer is: c - Hysteresis

3. The leak through rate of a metal-seated valve may be reduced by a process called:

a. Characterizing
b. Linerarizing
c. Calibrating
d. Lapping

The answer is: d - Lapping

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Control Engineering web site redesign

In June, Control Engineering redesigned its web site, so I thought I'd use a few lines to explain some of the key changes.

Site registration: To receive e-newsletters, search past articles and tutorials, and search the online Buyer's Guide and Automation Integrator Guide , you need to register. Register at /subscribe.asp

E-newsletters: Each month Control Engineering distributes a variety of e-newsletters. Each e-newsletter is written by a different Control Engineering staff editor, so the 'flavor' of each varies. If you would like to change the e-newsletters you receive from Control Engineering , visit / and in the box labeled 'Registration' click the 'Update' link. You will be taken to a page where you can change e-mail addresses, select the e-newsletters you receive, and more.

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Control Engineering plans October webcasts on manufacturing productivity

Control Engineering will conduct two October webcasts, moderated by Mark Hoske, editor in chief, on how automation tools boost productivity.

'Standard roadmap to manufacturing productivity' will show how OPC Foundation improves manufacturing by delivering non-proprietary technical specifications - a common roadmap to productivity. Getting participants to agree on the best course hasn't always been easy, but results benefit end-users. Efforts now extend into Ethernet to ensure interoperability advantages continue among automation/control applications, field systems/devices, and business/office applications. Speaker: Tom Burke, OPC Foundation president and advisory software developer at Rockwell Automation.

'Everything you need to know on one screen' asks if the ultimate productivity tool has arrived. A broad class of software shows key performance indicators for manufacturing, design, sales, logistics, or whatever needs monitoring. This 'digital dashboard,' a human-machine interface on steroids, can be rapidly customized to fit users needs and changing business goals. Panelists advise on how to get the most from this software. Panelists: Jamie Bohan, Business Manager for the Honeywell Industry Solutions Uniformance product line; Kevin Roach, Vice President, Global Solutions Business, GE Fanuc, part of GE Industrial Systems; and a representative from Manufacturing Industry, Industry Solutions Group (ISG), Microsoft Corp.

Other presentations will include speakers from IBM, Segway, Unilever, Microsoft, 3M, JC Penney, Amana, Honeywell. The webcasts are part of SupplyChainLinkExpo, a FREE online conference and tradeshow, October 16-17. Learn more at

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Conferences, seminars, and exhibitions

Control Engineering 's website includes registration for nine topical e-mailed newsletters, access to exclusive coverage from Control Engineering Europe, site search, Online Control Engineering Buyer's Guide , and Automation Integrator Guide Online , with advanced search functions. Recently added features include enhanced site search, bookstore, and improved navigation. For more, go to /

Control Engineering's website also includes links to upcoming conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions:

  • Sep 3-6, Fisher-Rosemount Users Group, San Diego, CA

  • Sep 8-12, Invensys Showcase & Users Group, Orlando, FL

  • Sep 24-26, Sensors Fall Expo, Boston, MA

  • Oct 7-9, ABS Consulting's U.S. Environmental Laws & Regulations Training, Washington, DC

  • Oct 9-11, Siemens Process Automation User Community Conference, Philadelphia, PA

  • Oct 8-11, Center for Chemical Process Safety Conference, Jacksonville, FL

  • Oct 21-24, ISA Expo, Chicago, IL

  • Oct 22-25, ABS Consulting's Clean Water Compliance Institute, Scottsdale, AZ

  • Nov 3-8, AIChE Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN

  • Nov 4-5, ISPE Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL

  • Nov 18-24, Embedded Systems, Boston, MA

  • Nov 19-23, BIAS, Milan, Italy

  • Nov 20-21, AB Automation Fair, Anaheim, CA

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August in Control Engineering

Cover: Vision systems
Development of 'vision sensors' has created a new product category of powerful sensing devices for inspection and control. Vision system software-increasingly capable and easy to use-is reviewed. The article discusses several ways this power is useful to readers. Also addressed are new camera and cabling (IEEE 1394) technologies.

Integrating quality and knowledge management systems in batch processes
Companies using batch processes apply different business drivers and need to integrate quality and knowledge management tools for use throughout a product's life-cycle development and production. This article explores applying 'system thinking' to meld quality tools and knowledge management systems.

Ethernet hardware
There's lots momentum for Ethernet to reach the plant floor, but data must go through some type of hardware and conversion process. This article examines some of the helpful hardware, best methods, and successful applications being used to help Ethernet serve in control, automation, and manufacturing settings.

Show: Sensors Expo
New sensor-related technologies important to industrial applications will be introduced at the Sept. 24-26, Boston, MA, Sensors Expo show.

Product Focus: PLCs / programmable controllers
Original Control Engineering/Reed Research examines trends and user issues with programmable logic controllers. Recent product descriptions from leading suppliers are included, along with some research results.

Back to Basics: Humidity sensing
Humidity sensing technology is taking a larger role in process sensing and control. Here's a look the basic technology and how it is applied.

For the complete August table of contents, go to /index.asp?layout=issueToc&CTL=yes&pubdate=08-01-02

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