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Two weeks ago I was in San Diego attending the Emerson Process FRUG (Fisher-Rosemount Users Group) technical conference. Last week I was in Orlando attending Invensys Showcase. That means during the past two weeks I've listened to a lot of 'news' from Emerson Process Management, Invensys Production Management, and their respective customers. It also means I'm approaching buzz word, marketing hype, and information overload.
Of course I wasn't able to attend all the sessions I would have liked, but here's a snapshot of what I did see and hear.
Emerson Process FRUG technical conference
Consistent with traditional user-group gatherings, this year's FRUG (Fisher-Rosemount Users Group) meeting in San Diego was four days of technical presentations for Provox, RS/3, and DeltaV users. About half the presentations were made by end-users. Various Emerson Process product marketing and support types and a few third-party suppliers did the remaining presentations.
There was also a small exposition area where some 45 stations were located. About one-third of the stations were demonstrations from companies such as:
The remaining stations were demonstrations of Emerson Process brands including:
End-users at the conference spoke about DeltaV system applications.
The keynote address was given by Andy Chatha, president of ARC Advisory Group . Andy's message encouraged end-users to focus on ROA (return on assets) and not on TOC (total cost of ownership) to obtain operational excellence.
Andy said most companies have been too focused on internal elements, such as supply chain management, and haven't spent enough time and effort on external focuses. He also added, many companies aren't culturally prepared to achieve continuous improvements, pursue best-in-class status, and lower costs by x% each and every year. He said to achieve operational excellence requires benchmarking customers and competitors to learn the right things that need to be done and who's already doing them well. Andy added that more 'out of the box thinking' is required. One example was to benchmark a company's product distribution logistics with those of FedEx and UPS.
Paul Berwanger, director of global engineering at Millennium Chemical , talked next, about finding the 'hidden plant' within existing plants.
Using Millennium Chemical as the example, Paul explained how working with Emerson Process consultants, Millennium increased throughput of an existing plant to the point that Millennium senior management cancelled construction of a new plant.
I sat in on a presentation about Diavik diamond mines in Canada. A recent '60 Minutes' TV segment about the diamond industry near Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada, peeked my interest to attend this session. What I learned was Canada is about to become producers of 12% of the world's jewelry grade diamonds.
Apparently control complexity isn't rocket science for the separation and refining process of diamonds, but the logistics of building and staffing an open pit mine and refining facility near the Arctic Circle is most challenging. It's also refreshing to see a new industry emerge in North America, one that can't be relocated.
A key take away from the Diavik presentation centered on the benefits of using simulation software. Diavik estimated Mimic simulation software saved them $1 million.
I asked how they arrived at the $1-million number. It's simple, explained Darron Barlow: 'Getting people to/from the site and housing and feeding them while they are there is very expensive. Using simulation software we were able to conduct training without taking people to the site. Plus when the control system did arrive on site, the software was already tested. All that was left to test were field connections, and that went very quickly.'
Visit www.mungerpd.com to learn more about Mimic simulation software.
Visit www.diavik.com to learn more about the Diavik diamond mines project.
Emerson Process announced the 2003 conference and user group meeting will be in Nashville, TN, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, and it will bring together all the Emerson Process Management divisions.
Emerson Process FRUG: Dave's Diary
My first stop was to attend a short course on intrinsic safety (IS), mainly because my IS experience is both antiquated and even what I did know was pretty limited. I know IS isn't a 'hot' item in the U.S., but it does offer some benefits, mainly that IS is the only protection technique that allows 'live maintenance.' You don't have to use sniff test to temporarily declassify an area, you don't need hot work permits, and you don't need a fire guard (person with a fire extinguisher) standing by while you conduct instrument maintenance in an IS installation.
I learned there have been a lot of efforts to harmonize a variety of area classification national and international electrical standards. The fruits of these harmonization efforts is currently found in National Electric Code (NEC) Article 505 in the form of area classifications, product standards, and wiring methods. Ultimately, the goal is to create an IECEx scheme that produces a single test, certificate, and mark.
I also learned about FISCO (Fieldbus Intrinsically Safety Concept). In a nut shell, FISCO allows interconnection of intrinsically safe devices that have not been specifically examined in combination-a sort of continuation of the fieldbus interoperability story. FISCO is described in the IEC 60 079-27 standard.
After lunch, Emerson Process Management's vp of marketing for DeltaV, Duncan Schleiss gave a whirlwind presentation of where and how Emerson Process is focusing their efforts. Emerson's #1 priority is to use life-cycle-planning to help existing RS/3 and Provox customers move to the DeltaV platform. Duncan also emphasized that Emerson Process remains committed to supporting 'obsolete' products for 10 years after those products are removed from sale and that neither RS/3 nor Provox are in the 'obsolete' category. Duncan also mentioned that DeltaV's Series 2 I/O system is already SIL 2 certified, and efforts are underway to obtain SIL 3 certification for DeltaV controllers and I/O. Read a related article in the September 2002 issue of Control Engineering titled ' One Controller, Many Uses .'
Another I/O-related project is to provide remote DeltaV I/O that is suitable for use in Zone 1 & 2 electrical classifications.
In the evening I spent time in the exhibit area. Among the things that caught my eye were:
Lutze wiring systems . Despite having been around for over 20 years, Lutze wiring systems were new to a lot of people in attendance, including me. In fact, I had breakfast with a guy who said he's purchased a lot of panels over the years, and he'd not heard or seen the Lutze design, but was pretty impressed. What makes this wiring system different is Lutze places the wiring behind the devices instead of in cable trays above, below, and beside the devices. The benefit is more mounting space with an overall neater appearance.
Flex Connect Solutions from Munger Product Development . Flex Connect allows existing I/O terminations from Provox, RS/3, GSE D/3, Infi 90/Net, I/A Series, Mod 300, Centum, APACS+, and TDC 2000/3000 to appear to DeltaV controllers as native I/O channels.
I also sat in on the DeltaV batch forward direction presentation. Among the highlights in various future software releases are:
Dynamic operator prompts
Batch historian auto-archive capability
Dynamic unit allocations
Support for up to four batch executives
Class-based module configuration with aliasing
Recipe exchange interface using an XML schema.
Invensys Production Management expo and conference
This was Invensys Production Management's inaugural expo, conference, and user group meeting with all 11 divisions in full attendance, and it was exceptionally well-done.
With over 2,000 end-users, representatives from 11 Invensys divisions, and participation by another 30 or so third-party vendors, Invensys Showcase was impressive and worth the time.
The take-away message I got from Invensys Showcase was two-fold. First, Invensys wanted to demonstrate and communicate it has its act together and plans to remain a major player in the control and instrumentation industry. Second, the company has embarked on a journey with potential of changing how the control and instrumentation industry delivers products to market.
About a year ago, Invensys began introducing ArchestrA. ArchestrA is a made up word that combines orchestrate and architecture. From the beginning, it was clear: Invensys felt ArchestrA would place the company well ahead of competition in delivering a 'unified automation and instrumentation environment.' I spent a lot of time learning what ArchestrA is, where it fits, and why it matters. If you're interested, the online version of this e-newsletter contains what I learned (or at least what I think I learned) about ArchestrA, along with a bit of my own observations and thoughts and links to related items.
A contradiction popped into my mind while talking to Invensys vp of marketing, Peter Martin.
Andy Chatha's (ARC Advisory Group) keynote address at the Emerson Process user conference emphasized the importance of benchmarking (see above) to achieve operational excellence.
One of Peter's comments was that benchmarking does little if any good because it looks back, sometimes quite far back, and does not examine what's currently happening. Peter believes it's better to apply a good cost accounting system as deep in the production process as possible and use that information to 'feed' dynamic performance measures (DPMs).
I suspect that benchmarking and DPMs each have their place in evaluating business conditions; I'm just not wise enough to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?
Peter, and several of his advanced control consultants, sat me down and explained Invensys Production Management's Performance Improvement Process group.
Essentially this is a group of highly talented industry experts that are ready, willing, and able to attack performance improvement opportunities under a risk/reward contract arrangement. They interview senior executives and managers to identify the production business problems that keep executives and managers awake at night. Then they audit the production processes, establish the DPMs, and identify areas, means, and quantified improvements that can help alleviate those identified production business problems. If the customer agrees to pay Invensys $1 for every $2 saved in the first year, the Invensys consultants implement the improvements. The DPMs establish the before and after measurements of success.
What's really interesting is, Peter's people don't care which control system is installed. They are seeking production process improvements. I may be missing something, but this looks to me like a no-brainer win-win that most plants could benefit from.
In related news, Control Engineering Online did recent items on:
Invensys Process Management Showcase: Dave's Diary
The day began with a press breakfast briefing that highlighted the week's activities and introduced a few I/A Series enhancements including:
Rick Haythornthwaite, Invensys ceo, talked about how Invensys was changing itself from the inside out.
Intelligent Automation Configuration Component (IACC), Field Device Management (FDM), I/A Series Data Access (DA) Server, and SuiteVoyager 2.0.
IACC combines all I/A Series configuration tools-system, control, and operator display configuration-into an integrated environment that includes 'drag-and-drop' functionality.
FDM provides a universal solution for configuring, monitoring, and managing any FDT-compliant field device from the I/A Series system, regardless of device vendor or fieldbus protocol.
DA Server provides connectivity between Wonderware FactorSuite A2 applications and an I/A Series control system. (FYI: When you see A2 used in conjunction with any of the Invensys Production Management products, it means the software is ArchestrA enabled/compliant.)
SuiteVoyager 2.0 provides a production process information portal with customizable views of real-time and historical information from I/A Series system devices.
During the general session, Invensys ceo, Rick Haythornthwaite, talked about what Invensys had done wrong during the past few years, and how it was changing itself from the inside out. Rick explained how his challenge is to 'fix' an under-performing company. To do that, Rick says, requires a clearly defined business direction, and delivery of flawless customer solutions.
Rick's education and previous business credentials allow him to empathize the complex issues and concerns facing Invensys' customers. However, the question yet to be answered is, 'Has Rick Haythornthwaite arrived in time to help Invensys recover?'
He was followed by a presentation by William Pulleyblank, IBM's director of Deep Computing Institute.
Deep and pervasive computing is the study of what technology might provide 10 or more years from now. One of his examples was using personal communicators to enhance airport security at the same time it eases the check-in process.
Bill was followed by Mount Everest adventurer, Jamie Clarke, one of the finest inspirational speakers I've ever heard. His story-telling style ran the audience through every emotion from watery eyes to a good old belly laugh, all the while emphasizing the importance of teamwork, flawless execution, and never taking your eyes off the goal/summit.
Visit his Web site at www.jamieclarke.com
Because Invensys Production Management is betting its future on ArchestrA (Orchestra + Architecture), I spent a lot of time trying to understand what it is, what it will do, and why it matters. The conclusion I've come to (and I may not have grasped it fully) is ArchestrA is a middleware architecture of computing services created using Microsoft .NET (pronounced dot Net) technology.
Because Microsoft .NET is based on XML (extensible markup language) and XSL (extensible scripting language), the middleware applications developed using .NET, such as ArchestrA, are less likely to become obsolete in the foreseeable future. For example, if a new security or messaging .NET module becomes available, it can be substituted into ArchestrA without impacting surrounding modules.
The way Invensys plans to use ArchestrA is every Invensys product that contains software (I/A Series, Wonderware, AVP, Avantis, Eurotherm, etc.) will have ArchestrA as its foundation. The type software application to be developed helps determine how much or how little of ArchestrA is required. The key benefits are the consistency, reduced development and testing times, and obsolescence prevention ArchestrA is intended to provide.
The ArchestrA story feels right to me, and if Invensys is able to pull it all together, there's little doubt it will significantly differentiate their product offerings. However, ArchestrA is still rolling out, and Invensys ceo Rick Haythornthwaite indicates the clock is ticking to improve an 'under performing' company. There is definitely a race between delivering obsolete-proof products to the market and the patience of the Invensys' board and shareholders. Stay tuned, this could get interesting!
In the area of flow measurement, Invensys Production Management has made a technology breakthrough in the form of the Foxboro CFT50 Coriolis mass flow transmitter. Using patented dual digital processing technology, the CFT50 continues to operate in the presence of two-phase (liquid and gas) flow. One processing system controls the meter drive sequence to provide uninterrupted flow tube operation. The second system processes the measurement data from the Coriolis flow tube to assure precise fluid measurements.
What makes the CFT50 really unique is the 'magic' takes place in the electronics so it doesn't care whose flow tubes are used. That means the CFT50 is easily retrofitted onto existing installations.
Login to www.iastore.com to purchase or learn more about the CFT50.
Working in conjunction with the 1,500 members of the Process and Power Client Community, Intergraph Process, Power & Offshore (P2C2) is traveling the Canada and the U.S. conducting hands-on workshops for electrical, piping, and process engineers. The hands-on sessions enable participants to learn more about the technical benefits and features of Intergraph SmartPlant Electrical software and the latest enhancements to SmartPlant P&ID 3.0, INtools (Dimensional Data for Piping module), Pelican Forge Pipe Support Modeler, and ALIAS I/Sketch.
For more seminar information visit www.techseries.com or call 1-800-240-3000.
For more information about Intergraph software, visit www.intergraph.com/ppo
Honeywell takes Experion PKS on the road
Chances are you've heard about Honeywell's Experion PKS by now. If you would like to experience Experion PKS, Honeywell recently began an 11 city Experion PKS road show throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The road show offers attendees an opportunity to ask questions of Honeywell product experts and see demonstrations of Experion PKS and its embedded Process Knowledge Solutions, including the new wireless productivity solution, Mobile PKS.
To learn more about the Experion PKS road show, visit www.experionpks.com
And yet more 21 CFR Part 11 white papers
I find it hard to believe 21 CFR Part 11 (electronic records and signatures) has been the law since 1997 and is only now getting so much attention from users and manufacturers. Anyway, I recently learned Schneider Electric folks (Modicon, Square D...) have been working with Stelex to provide product solutions that help end-users meet regulatory requirements related to 21 CFR Part 11.
Visit the Stelex web site at www.stelex.com to download several white papers Stelex has prepared in cooperation with control system manufacturers, including Schneider Electric.
To learn more about Schneider Electric's 21 CFR Part 11 efforts, visit www.schneiderelectric.com
Conferences, seminars, and exhibitions
Control Engineering is working with four participants to do two webcasts focused on automation productivity. The events are part of the SupplyChainLinkExpo, a free two-day online conference and tradeshow from Reed Business Information taking place on your desktop Oct. 16 and 17. To find out more, learn about the participants, see other webcasts, or register to view them, go to www.controleng.com/webcast or visit www.supplychainlinkexpo.com .
Control Engineering's website at / includes links to upcoming conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions:
Oct 7-9, ABS Consulting's U.S. Environmental Laws & Regulations Training, Washington, D.C.
Oct 9-11, Siemens Process Automation User Community Conference, Philadelphia, PA
Oct 8-11, Center for Chemical Process Safety Conference, Jacksonville, FL
Oct 16-17, SupplyChainLinkExpo, with Control Engineering webcasts
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
September in Control Engineering
The September issue of Control Engineering should arrive soon. I wrote the cover article, 'One Controller, Many Uses.'
This article examines the emerging trend of applying the same controller platform to do basic process control and/or safety functions. A key point I make in the article is that implementing a common controller platform requires also dealing with the corporate culture and people issues. There is also an exclusive interview I conducted with folks from Dow Chemical (Midland, MI) that helps drive home a key point: technology implementations are only successful when people are all singing the same song and same lyrics at the same time. Take a few minutes to read this article and let me know what you think.
For more, see the September issue online