Honeywell Process Solutions: 34th Americas User Group, 6 areas of change in next 10 years
Honeywell Process Solutions has launched its week-long Americas User Group in Phoenix. With travel down nationally, attendance has declined slightly from last year, but “HUG” is enjoying a new audience with 50% of the attendees at the event for the first time. Below, the company outlines six major areas of change by 2020.
Following the theme‘Return on Imagination,’ the group is stressing the importance of fresh thinking as users seek ways to apply technologies in new ways. As Frank Whitsura, vice-president and general manager for the Americas put it, “It takes imagination to optimize performance.”
In his first meeting as president of Honeywell Process Solutions, Norman Gilsdorf offered a range of thoughts in an opening session. He began by comparing current conditions to his experiences trying to work in a Soviet refinery in the Ural Mountains in the early 1980s. At that point he said communication issues were huge, and he had to request permission for a phone call to the U.S. two weeks in advance.
Looking ahead to 2020, Gilsdorf expects to see six major areas of change:
1. Sensors will become ever more sophisticated allowing measurements in places that are not possible now, including nano devices that can be entrained in a process solution.
2. Wireless will grow as an enabler, with greater use of two-way communication between people and devices in the field with the control platform.
3. More data will be turned into usable knowledge, and sent to the right people. More sophisticated simulation capabilities will help improve operator effectiveness.
4. Business IT and process control will continue to converge, using techniques such as cloud computing. This will help mitigate problems caused by a growing shortage of skilled workers.
5. Automation layers will converge. Middle layers particularly will become increasingly indistinct.
6. Automation will move beyond plant boundaries, with much closer ties to the enterprise level in all areas.
With all these factors in mind, Gilsdorf stressed the importance of not looking strictly for technical answers. Companies taking that approach will create islands of automation when a much more integrated solution is required.
HUG runs for the rest of the week, closing on Friday, June 19. Show organizers say attendees number 700, including 350 customers.
-Peter Welander, process industries editor, Control Engineering
Process control and instrumentation