Commentary: Are you using wireless for control?

If you aren't, you're already behind. Wireless for control applications is in widespread use today.

03/03/2009


Listening to the presentation, I could hardly believe my ears. “30% of wireless devices are being used in control applications.” Did he really say that? The “he” in this case is Bob Karschnia, VP of wireless business for Emerson Process Management , arguably one of the largest suppliers of wireless process instrumentation and control systems today. He made that comment at the ARC Advisory Group forum in Orlando last month, and said it in a very offhand way, like everybody already knew it.

I had to ask if he really meant what he said. “Sales seem to be following the same ratios we see with our wired products for control vs. monitoring applications,” Karschnia explained. “People immediately associate control with high speed flow control loops. With most loops, the fastest ones are flow, followed by pressure, then typically temperature and level. Sure, people use wireless for monitoring applications, but about 30% of our wireless devices are in control applications. Some are open-loop control, meaning an operator will take an intervention, but they use it as a control point. Others are built into control strategies, but they’re things that have longer time constants, like supervisory control applications, tank levels, temperature control of heated jackets, and things like that with slower time constants.

“The larger point is that control requires multiple pieces. Only one of those is high speed, and that is really only for a small subset of applications. What control really needs is repeatable results, high confidence in the measurements themselves, and high reliability to your communication. If communication is sporadic, you find yourself in a situation where you’re chasing after old data. Emerson is in control because we have high-quality measurement devices, and reliable communications.”

All control applications aren’t critical, in the sense that the process will blow up or do something terrible if it gets out of hand. Karschnia went on to point out that these applications have nothing faster than a five-second update rate, which is the shortest period for Emerson’s Smart Wireless devices, pre-WirelessHART. There are users trying faster loops with newer devices, but that’s still considered experimental.

Coming away from that presentation, I wondered if other companies are having similar experiences. Maybe there’s more of this going on than I know about. I asked Jeff Becker, director of global wireless business for Honeywell Process Solutions , if he found the same thing. Honeywell is also one of the largest players in the wireless instrumentation and process control fields. He wasn’t sure he could give a specific percentage, but he also believes it’s already happening.

“End-users have moved past the‘is it secure enough?’ question,” says Becker. “They’re using wireless more for control purposes, everything from temperature regulation to blending and movement. At Honeywell, we built our second-generation platform as a control-ready network, with the latency, updaterates, redundancy, and scalability that is required for control. Honeywell believes that nearly all industrial wireless networks will eventually be used for some element of control, which is why it is important to select a control-ready architecture from the beginning.”

The picture is already emerging: Many customers are not waiting for wireless instrumentation to be pronounced officially “ready” by some monarch or governing body. They’ve concluded that it works, and they aren’t holding back on what they consider to be appropriate applications—monitoring, control, or whatever.

—Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com ,
Control Engineering Process & Advanced Control Monthly eNewsletter
Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters .





Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
Human Factors and the Impact on Plant Safety
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
April 2018
Cybersecurity best practices, artificial intelligence, robotic additive manufacturing, embedded systems, IIoT integration, energy efficiency
March 2018
Digitalization integration, process sensors, edge computing, fog computing, condition monitoring, and motors
February 2018
DCS visibility, alarm management, motors and drives, robotic machining, Engineers' Choice winners
HMIs
Automation and controls continue to help HMI hardware and software advance. As computing capabilities progress, hardware has become more rugged with less maintenance required, with wider environmental capabilities, and integrated input/output (I/O) connections.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Machine Vision
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
Human Factors and the Impact on Plant Safety
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
April 2018
Cybersecurity best practices, artificial intelligence, robotic additive manufacturing, embedded systems, IIoT integration, energy efficiency
March 2018
Digitalization integration, process sensors, edge computing, fog computing, condition monitoring, and motors
February 2018
DCS visibility, alarm management, motors and drives, robotic machining, Engineers' Choice winners
HMIs
Automation and controls continue to help HMI hardware and software advance. As computing capabilities progress, hardware has become more rugged with less maintenance required, with wider environmental capabilities, and integrated input/output (I/O) connections.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Machine Vision
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
Human Factors and the Impact on Plant Safety
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
April 2018
Cybersecurity best practices, artificial intelligence, robotic additive manufacturing, embedded systems, IIoT integration, energy efficiency
March 2018
Digitalization integration, process sensors, edge computing, fog computing, condition monitoring, and motors
February 2018
DCS visibility, alarm management, motors and drives, robotic machining, Engineers' Choice winners
HMIs
Automation and controls continue to help HMI hardware and software advance. As computing capabilities progress, hardware has become more rugged with less maintenance required, with wider environmental capabilities, and integrated input/output (I/O) connections.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Machine Vision
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me