Control Engineering’s Process Control Newsletter for June 2001

By Dave Harrold June 4, 2002

In this issue:

  • Purdue CIFM Center assists the food industry
  • Virtual trade-show planned for October
  • EPA issues counter-terrorism guidelines
  • CPS releases new risk analysis book
  • ARC releases control-valve study
  • Honeywell releases ProfitBridge
  • PSM best practices
  • FDA and cGMP conference
  • LinuxPLC project and open control follow-up
  • Conferences, seminars, and exhibitions
  • June in Control Engineering

Purdue CIFM Center assists the food industry

Not too far from where I work and live is Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.). Besides having a decent sports program and a really great golf course, Purdue also is home to the Computer Integrated Food Manufacturing Center (CIFMC) and Pilot Plant.

Purdue University’s CIFMC is an impressive facility with an extensive inventory of pilot plant equipment and knowledgeable staff. Students attending CIFM courses are handpicked upper classmen and graduate students focused on food service industry related topics. Besides conducting generic food industry related testing, the Center also conducts confidential short- and long-term equipment evaluations. Among current food industry related activities underway at the CIFM Center are the:

  • Recent completion of a project to fully automate a non-agitating batch sterilizer (retort) using Rosemount (Eden Prairie, Minn.), SMAR (Houston, Tex., and Endress+Hauser (Greenwood, Ind.) sensors and valve actuators, and a Emerson Process (Austin, Tex.) DeltaV control system. CIFM intends to use this highly automated retort to investigate how digital instrumentation can benefit food manufacturers in terms of production flexibility, simplifying validation efforts, and ensuring compliance with FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C.) 21CFR Part 11 electronic record keeping regulations

  • Evaluation of a magnetic resonance sensor, manufactured by Magnetic Instrumentation (Indianapolis, Ind.), to determine if this technology is suitable for on-line measurement of moisture in cheese

  • Testing of Endress+Hauser’s (Greenwood, Ind.) non-glass pH/Redox probes for use in food processing operations.

For more information about Purdue’s CIFMC activities and capabilities, visit or contact CIFMC manager Sasha Ilyukhin at (716) 496-7224.

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Virtual conference and tradeshow planned for October

I know summer isn’t officially here and I’m plugging something in October, but this is one of those things you can do now and then when October comes you are ready.

Control Engineering and the Cahners Supply Chain/OEM Group are hosting a two-day online conference and tradeshow, October 17-18. During this FREE event, you can enjoy all the benefits of attending an industry tradeshow, right from your desktop. No traveling, no expenses, no wasted time…just valuable seminars, product information, networking-everything you’d find at a traditional conference or tradeshow-but on the Web. Keynote speakers are Thomas Stallkamp, ceo of MSX International and former president of Chrysler Corp., and James McNerney, ceo of 3M Corp.

Visit to register and qualify to win prizes: laptop, digital camera, and cash!

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EPA issues counter-terrorism report

I know counter-terrorism is not the type of thing we like to think might happen in our communities, but since so many readers of this newsletter work in chemical and biological related industry’s I thought some of you might also be involved in local emergency planning committee’s (LEPCs).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice have shown an interest in plant security issues. EPA has released a factsheet that addresses measures EPA believes LEPCs need to consider in addressing the possibility of terrorist events. EPA is concerned that, in recent years, the treat of incidents involving chemical and biological materials has increased. LEPCs can use the guidance as they review existing plans and consider how to incorporate counter-terrorism measures into their plans.

The EPA factsheet can be downloaded from

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CCPS releases new risk analysis book

Recently an increasing number of readers have written to ask for sources of material on conducting quantitative risk analysis. As I mentioned in last months newsletter, a portion of Control Engineering’s web site, at /ch-process/safety.html , has several articles available and just the other day I learned the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) has recently issued a new book titled, ‘Evaluating Process Safety in the Chemical Industry: A Users Guide to Quantitative Risk Analysis.’

This new book explains how managers and users can make better quantitative risk analysis decisions and how plant engineers and process designers can better understand, interpret, and use the results of quantitative risk analysis in their plants.

The 102 page book sells for $54.95, and is available at or by calling (800) 242-4363

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ARC releases control-valve study

INow that the frenzy has subsided, there may be an interest and maybe even some money available to improve production performance. At least that’s the tone of a recent ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, Mass.) report titled ‘Control Valve Worldwide Outlook’ prepared by ARC senior analyst David Clayton.

Among the interesting insights in Mr. Clayton’s report is how painful it has been for ‘old economy’ control valve suppliers to transform themselves from a product delivery to a solution-oriented mentality.

If you’re in the control valve supplier business, you might want to take a look at Mr. Clayton’s study. At a minimum it could validate that your product to solution transformation efforts are on the right track.

Further information on this study is available at

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Honeywell releases ProfitBridge

In the February and April issues of Control Engineering I wrote about advanced process control (APC) and artificial neural networks as intelligent sensors. Well to let you know that things continue to heat up in this arena, Honeywell Hi-Spec Solutions (Phoenix, Ariz.) recently released their ProfitBridge application to provide the advantages of a dynamic non-linear advanced control and optimization capability to the process industry.

According to Honeywell, ProfitBridge automatically extracts gain information, such as the effects of changing feedstock’s, economics, and environmental conditions, from user-developed non-linear process models and continually updates ProfitController and ProfitOptimizer models.

The idea behind ProfitBridge is to allow users to preserve investments made in developing complex non-linear process models and automatically use the information these models provide to reduce variability and improve process performance.

For more information, visit:

To read the February and April Control Engineering articles visit:
ctl0201.01/010201.htm and ctl0401.01/010400.htm

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PSM best practices

Process Safety Management (PSM) has been the law for several years, but is still considered ‘a necessary evil’ that diverts resources from value-adding activities in to bureaucratic management processes. If that pretty well describes the attitude at your company or plant, perhaps you should consider attending a conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in early October 2001.

The title of the conference is ‘Making Process Safety Pay Off – Sustaining Performance in the 21st Century’ and presentations will include case studies describing PSM programs that have delivered measurable benefits in yield, quality, output, and plant availability. There are also sessions planned on measuring PSM performance and how proper implementation of PSM can help influence positive culture changes.

For more information, visit

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FDA and cGMP conference

Perhaps its good news for we consumers the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C.) has issued a significant number of warning letters, initiated consent decrees, and issued new inspection guidelines, but if you work in an FDA regulated industry you know all about the dreaded FD483’s (letter citations/warnings of non-compliance).

In conjunction with the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (San Antonio, Tex.), the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.) is sponsoring a conference that brings together high-level FDA officials and respected members of the drug industry with extensive FDA experience to address FDA policy’s and programs and how current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) can help meet those policy’s and programs.

If your company is struggling to avoid FD483’s and/or would like to learn how to work with the FDA to resolve compliance issues, you should investigate attending this August 6-8 conference in New Brunswick, N.J.

For more information, visit

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LinuxPLC project and open control follow-up

Last month I opened up the proverbial Pandora’s box by asking about the viability of Mr. Curt Wuollet’s initiative to develop and promote the LinuxPLC project.

Several of the responses came from system integrators who seem to think I underestimate their ability to successfully use ‘open’ control products, which I don’t. But the interesting thing is, in varying ways each explained the importance of designing, installing, and testing an integrated solution. After tactfully taking me to task, one integrator stated it this way, ‘End-users that do not use a sole-source supplier of a completely integrated system that has been specifically designed for the application will always bear the ultimate liability for the operation of their control and automation systems. Attempting to shift this liability is neither logical or productive in as litigious society as we presently find ourselves. Open source brings a major benefit of transparency to key technologies and, through a larger and more disparate user-base than is typical with proprietary products, a better tested and refined end product.’

I don’t disagree that ultimately responsibility and liability fall upon the end-user. I’m less confident open source brings major benefits. But I can’t help but wonder; if the integrator becomes the sole-source supplier of a completely ‘open’ integrated system solution, hasn’t the end user exchanged one sole-source supplier for another? Assuming my premise is true, I think I would sleep better at night if my sole-source comes from companies like ABB, Rockwell, GE, Siemens, Invensys, Honeywell, or Emerson Process rather than my local integrator and a collection of shareware software.

One integrator really brought the argument of whether to use open source software verses supplier source software when he said, ‘I shudder to think what would happen to my Errors and Omissions insurance premiums if the insurance company didn’t think they had the software developers (i.e., Rockwell and Siemens) to share the risk.’

Not only is this a very legitimate concern, but it begs two questions:

1. How many system integrators carry Errors and Omissions insurance?
2. What are the conditions placed on these integrators by the insurance carrier?

The general feeling seems to be that on the surface the concept of a completely open control system environment is doable but probably not practical in the near future. One system integrator accurately pointed out that even if the licensing fees for the LinuxPLC are free, or very nearly free, there still remains the hardware, application development, and system integration costs. Using some back-of-the-napkin calculations, this responder estimated the total savings on a 24 station PLC project to manufacturer automotive valve body parts to be about $7,500. Not an insignificant amount, until you figure the hourly downtime of manufacturing operations begins around $5,000 per hour and can easily reach $50,000 per hour.

Response from a user working for a major chemical company said he dreamed of a completely open system where all parts are a commodity, but acknowledged that until open system solutions were able to demonstrate the 99.999% availability they have come to expect from their proprietary DCS, the potential rewards aren’t worth the risk.

In closing on this subject, another integrator shared the ‘open’ control solution will incorporate substantial integration work, for which a ‘value-added reseller’ will of course be compensated. He closed by saying, ‘You will always pay for what you get; its up to you to get what you pay for.’

What I conclude from reading all the responses is that ‘open’ source software is more likely to shift who provides control and automation solutions with little of the projected savings actually ending up in the users pockets.

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Conferences, seminars, and exhibitions

  • July 23-25 Process Safety Management Course in Knoxville, Tenn. Visit for course details.

  • July 25-27 Compliance Auditing for Process Safety/Risk Management in Knoxville, Tenn. Visit for course details.

  • August 6-8 3rd Annual FDA and the Current Challenges of GMPs conference in New Brunswick, N.J. Visit for details.

  • August 7-9 Profibus Trade Organization’s General Assembly Meeting will be held in Scottsdale, Ariz. Contact Mike Bryant at (480) 483-2456 or for details.

  • August 28-29 American Petroleum Institute PSM Best Practices Workshop in New Orleans, La. Contact Karen Haase at for details.

  • September 10-13 ISA Expo 2001 will be held in Houston, Tex. Visit for details.

  • September 17-20 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Ammonia Safety Symposium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Visit for details.

  • September 25-28 Fisher-Rosemount Users Group Meeting (New Orleans, La.). Visit for details.

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June in Control Engineering

Special report/cover story: Survey of life-cycle customer services
Original Control Engineering research examines trends and user issues with control and automation service support. Results of a subscriber/reader survey and a manufacturer/suppler survey will be reported to help identify key needs and offerings. Keywords: Automation services

Mathematical modeling
Many control techniques rely on mathematical models of the process to predict the future effects of current control efforts. Here’s a look at how models are used in several techniques. Keywords: Process and advanced control, Software and information integration

Noncontact temperature sensing
Noncontact temperature sensing has enjoyed resurgence in use in continuous process applications. Improved accuracy, repeatability, and lower installed cost have helped foster this comeback. This article will take a look at these, other factors, and related applications in noncontact sensing. Keywords: Instrumentation and process sensors

Product Focus: AC adjustable speed drives
Original Control Engineering research examines trends and user issues concerning ac adjustable-speed drives. Recent product descriptions from leading suppliers will be included, along with research results from a reader survey. Keywords: Motors, drives and motion control

Back to Basics: Tube tightening
Here’s a look at things to do, not do, and reasons why-related to making up and reconnecting tubing connections. Keywords: Instrumentation and process sensors

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