Collaborating through the Social Networks

There are many great conferences where process manufacturers and producers can share best practices and exchange knowledge with their peers. Our Emerson Exchange conferences—coming April 14-16 in Brussels and October 24-28 here in Austin—are but one example.

Another great example is the ARC Advisory Group’s Industry Forum next week in Orlando. Many big topics will be discussed including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing, Industrie 4.0, Digitization, and the Connected Enterprise.

I had the honor to speak at the ARC Industry Forum several years ago. My message was about the shared interest for process manufacturers and producers and their suppliers to take advantage of the social networks to more closely connect together to solve the problems at hand in making plants safer, more efficient and more reliable.

Although the video recording of this presentation [presentation slides] goes back four years, the message is even truer today than it was then.

I appreciate any comments and perspectives on collaboration through the social networks!

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Life Experiences Shape Consulting Translation Skills

Emerson's Michalle Adkins

Author: Michalle Adkins

Before the holidays, I wrote a blog post, Life Experiences from a Woman in STEM, in the Emerson Exchange 365 Women in Stem group. I talked about growing up on a farm where I gained some early experiences with animals, vitamins, medications, pumps, controllers, and valves.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but this coupled with my high school math teacher’s encouragement to go into engineering had an influence on my choice to study chemical engineering and ultimately have an interest in both the Pharmaceutical/Biotech and the Automation world. It’s funny but as I look back over the experiences of my life, I can see how it all fits together – each experience building the bridges on the road that I have taken to where I am today.

Upon farther reflection, I can see more of those bridges. When I was in high school, my family hosted an exchange student and I also went to Costa Rica as an exchange student. This gave me the opportunity to realize that I love interacting with and learning from different people and different cultures. Continue Reading

Helping Develop and Support Industry Standards

Trade associations play an important role in setting standards for their industry. A great example is the American Petroleum Institute (API). Just a sampling of important standards we’ve discussed here on the blog includes API 670 – Machinery Protection, API 682 – Pumps—Shaft Sealing Systems for Centrifugal and Rotary Pumps, API 2000 – Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storage Tanks and API 2350 Overfill Protection standard.

API describes how these committees are organized and who participates:

API’s Standards Committees are made up of subcommittees and task groups made up of industry experts who develop API standards. These groups identify the need, then develop, approve, and revise standards and other technical publications. New projects must be justified by valid business and safety needs. The standards-writing subcommittees and task groups are open to representatives of groups that are materially affected by the standards. These include oil and gas companies, manufacturers and suppliers, contractors and consultants, and representatives of government agencies and academia.

As a supplier to the oil & gas upstream, midstream and downstream industries, numerous Emerson folks participate in these API standards committees and subcommittees.

Emerson's Christian SkaugEmerson’s Christian Skaug has been appointed co-chairman of the important API Ch 3.1B Standard Practice for Level Measurement of Liquid Hydrocarbons in Stationary Tanks by Automatic Tank Gauging committee, and chairman of the API Ch 7.2 Temperature Determination, Part 2—Portable Electronic Thermometers committee.

Christian has also served as chairman since 2008 of the API Ch 7.3 Temperature Determination – Fixed Automatic Tank Temperature Systems, which was released in 2011. Continue Reading

Monitoring Control Valves with Remote Expertise

An ARC Advisory group study highlighted that “The global process industry loses $20 billion, or five percent of annual production, due to unscheduled downtime and poor quality. ARC estimates that almost 80 percent of these losses are preventable…”

Key components in controlling a process are the control valves, which directly touch the process. As such, they can be subject to corrosive, erosive and other challenging fluids.

Emerson's Damon Meadows

I caught up with Emerson’s Damon Meadows who gave me an update on how some process manufacturers and producers are managing the reliability and maintenance programs for these control valves.

Many of these plants struggle with becoming more proactive in their valve maintenance due to retiring expertise, downsizing, and being totally consumed in day-to-day upkeep activities.

Even with the technologies that can continuously monitor the health of these control valves, many operations and maintenance staffs find it difficult to take advantage of these diagnostics to optimize current work processes. And, the skills required to interpret the data are very different than the skills required to perform preventive maintenance.

Damon described a Control Valve Condition Monitoring service as a diagnostic service performed by certified Fisher valve and instrument product experts focused on providing predictive analysis of a facility’s control valves. Its purpose is to identify potential failures and avoid them before they cause unsafe operating conditions and/or unplanned downtime. Continue Reading

Optimize Energy Consumption with Additional Monitoring

Emerson's Barbara Hamilton

In a quick Emerson Exchange 365 Operate & Maintain group discussion post, Plant modernization for energy efficiency and loss control, Emerson’s Barbara Hamilton alerted the community to a nice article in Control Engineering Asia magazine.

Energy-Efficiency-Loss-ContThe article with the same title by Emerson’s Jonas Berge describes how additional measurements in older process manufacturing and production plants are being added to make them more energy efficient and reliable.

Emerson's Jonas Berge

While large energy users such as fired heaters, boilers and large motors have typically been monitored, advancing technologies have made measurements on smaller equipment more feasible. Some of this equipment includes:

  • Pipe and flange leaks
  • Equipment not turned off
  • Performance degradation
  • Steam trap failure
  • Relief valve seat passing
  • Relief valve release
  • Heat exchanger fouling
  • Cooling tower excess cooling
  • Air cooled heat exchanger fouling and excess cooling.

Many of these pieces of equipment have historically be manually monitored via operator rounds on an infrequent basis. Energy losses occur in several ways: Continue Reading