Smart Remote Automation extends Emerson’s PlantWeb

By Control Engineering Staff October 5, 2005

Orlando, FL — Emerson Process Management introduced Smart Remote Automation, an extension of its PlantWeb digital architecture intended to improve businesses with processes beyond the typical plant. Smart Remote technology enables continuous diagnostics to run at remote sites and connect in real-time to centralized operations centers where they allow predictive operations and maintenance, enabling staff to increase site availability and throughput, Emerson says.

First target industry for the extended architecture will be upstream oil and gas, where production, transportation, and distribution operations can cover hundreds or thousands of square miles, requiring many personnel hours and miles of driving. BP, Chevron, and Shell are among companies with initiatives supporting smart technologies in field applications, says John Berra, president, Emerson Process Management. The company made the announcement on Oct. 3, the first day of the week-long Emerson Global Users Exchange conference and exhibit, with record attendance of more than 1,800, up from about 1,500 last year.

“Smart Remote Automation represents an entire new category of technology that will give our users continuous visibility to the health of their field instrumentation, enabling operation and maintenance that is more proactive and efficient, and increasing up-time of their dispersed facilities,” says Jon Milliken, president of the Flow Computer division of Emerson Process Management. “This launch marks the beginning of the end of run-to-fail practices. Smart Remote Automation embraces our customers’ process instrumentation and equipment, and represents an architecture platform for future additions that we are developing,” continues Milliken. “Throughput and yield should increase, and helping to make that possible with new technology is very gratifying.”

While traditional SCADA systems only collect process data from remote sites, Milliken says, Smart Remote Automation provides equipment health information for pressure, temperature, flow, level transmitters, and control valves. Smart Remote Automation uses digital technology of Emerson’s HART-based field devices that power PlantWeb with predictive intelligence and ROC800 Remote Operations Controller, supporting wired and wireless communications. New are Emerson’s ROC field server and AMS Suite with ROC Polling Service. AMS Suite is the company’s family of software products that convert health status from the intelligent devices into predictive information. ROC Field Server manages communications as it merges low-bandwidth, low-speed field diagnostics communication with high-bandwidth, high-speed Ethernet host communications.

Emerson expects Smart Remote Automation to:

  • Improve process availability by using predictive intelligence to help detect and avoid causes of equipment failure that can lead to unplanned downtime;

  • Increase maintenance efficiency and effectiveness by detecting and diagnosing potential equipment problems before they become issues that detract from performance;

  • Help regulatory compliance and reporting by enabling companies to provide device alert tracking and a detailed audit trail of operations;

  • Increase throughput and yield by reducing downtime, and by improving basic and advanced control, reducing variability; and

  • Improve quality by helping keep instruments and equipment maintained and performing at their best.

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering ,