Business Critical Measurement Instrumentation-Second Layer of Automation

Measurement instrumentation has traditionally been used by process manufacturers to control their processes safely and reliably. This instrumentation may not be enough to operate the process as efficiently as possible.

Jonas Berge Director, Applied Technology

Jonas Berge
Director, Applied Technology

In a recent comment to one of my earlier posts, Finding Areas for Energy Efficiency Improvements, Emerson’s Jonas Berge wrote:

When it comes to new plants, these should not be built the old fashioned way where only process critical control and safety is automated, but rather built to support business critical needs from the very beginning, including wireless sensor networks and an asset management system with its specialised applications. This way, the plant is prepared to quickly and easily add more sensors when needed in the future as industry demands inevitably change. Learn more from this new article:

Second Layer of Automation

Control-Engineering-Asia-Second-Layer-of-Automation-Jonas-BergeIn this Control Engineering Asia article, Jonas explains how implementing a wireless instrument infrastructure provides plants the capability to extend measurement beyond the process in order to solve a number of business-critical challenges.

Jonas notes that operators have the process critical measurements needed to operate the facility:

The operators at the distributed control system (DCS) and safety instrumented system (SIS) consoles in the control room are getting just about all the real-time data they need to do their job – running the plant efficiently and safely.

Others lack important information:

…the maintenance, reliability, energy efficiency, and HS&E disciplines do not sit in the control room, and only get a small portion of the data they need. There is a lot of data they don’t receive or have to collect manually, referred to as “missing measurements”.

These missing measurements include:

…essential asset monitoring for reliability, energy conservation measures for energy efficiency, and HS&E monitoring for environmental and site safety to reduce risk.

Reducing downtime, cutting energy costs, minimising environmental impact, and reducing personnel risk are trends seen across all industries around the world. Getting the data needed to take action in these areas requires adding more automation to the plant.

The barrier to these measurements has often been the time and expense to install the instruments and associated cabling infrastructure to wire the measurements back to the control room and asset management systems.

As technology continues to advance:

Many sensors are now non-intrusive, like temperature sensors which clamp on to the outside of the pipe. Wireless pressure sensors can connect at fittings which until now were used for pressure gauges. Position sensors for bypass valves and other hand valves simply bolt on to the outside of the actuator. Acoustic sensors for monitoring for steam trap failure, relief valve release, and passing valves simply strap on to the outside of the pipe.

IEC 62591 WirelessHART-based communications from these devices:

…eliminate the need for running signal wires to each of these additional instruments, saving time and reducing the possibility of damage to the existing installation. They also eliminate the need for an electrician to get involved.

Jonas summed up his key points from the article to me:

  • It is not about the “process critical” points on the Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)–those are already handled by the integrated control and safety system (ICSS = DCS + SIS)
  • It is about other data which is also critical for the business, yet beyond the P&ID
  • Operators at the ICSS console in the control room already get most of the data they need
  • The maintenance, reliability, energy efficiency, and HS&E disciplines beyond the control room are not getting the data they need—they collect manually or get nothing at all
  • Most of the new data therefore does NOT go to the DCS
  • Most of the new data goes to the asset management systems (primarily Asset Graphics and Machinery Health Manager more so than the Device Manager) and plant historian (like OSIsoft PI system)
  • Non-intrusive sensors reduce mechanical risk and cost
  • WirelessHART transmitters eliminate electrical risk and cost
  • The AMS and Historian can be configured more freely–the last step to access the data
  • It is the basis for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data

Give the article a read to see how these business critical measurements can improve the performance of your operations.

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