Of wireless technology, process safety, and VFD software

During the last decade, the use of industrial wireless sensor networks has been growing rapidly in the process industries. Variable frequency drive (VFD) software has also gone through a number of changes.
By Jack Smith October 2, 2016

Since the early 2000s, wireless technology has been working its way into industrial facilities. And during the last decade, the use of industrial wireless sensor networks has been growing rapidly in the process industries, which is the topic of the cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation. According to the author, "Many users across these industries have found that wireless monitoring technologies provide new ways to improve the performance and reliability of their operations."

I would be remiss in mentioning process automation without touching on process safety, which brings me to the second feature in this issue. The distinction between a safety integrated system (SIS) and safety integrated functions (SIFs) is that SIFs perform specific system functions within the SIS. The author explains the process for creating SIF validation procedures. He writes, "The validation process puts the SIF under a microscope, dissects it, and looks for all the ways in which it could fail. Each of those possibilities must be examined and tested, one by one, element by element. Proof tests are conducted at prescribed intervals to detect undetected dangerous failures that could prevent the SIF from working in the future."

Most articles about variable frequency drives (VFDs) talk about efficiency and how to get the most from motion control technology. The third article in this issue looks at VFDs from another aspect: software. Making changes to drives, especially when there are multiple units to configure, can be simplified by entering parameters, such as acceleration and deceleration, only once. In addition, VFD speed, current, and voltage can be monitored remotely via a network.

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering 
and Plant Engineering

– See other articles from the supplement below.

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