Sense More and Solve More with Pervasive Sensing

Emerson's Danny Vandeput


Author: Danny Vandeput

Let’s face it, the world has changed in a dramatic way. 10 years ago, people barely knew what “The Cloud” was (except for looking up in the sky and trying to imagine of seeing a sheep, a horse or something else exotic). Today many of us have their documents, pictures, videos up “in the cloud” and it is almost unthinkable to not have somewhere a wireless internet connection.

The consumer industry vastly explores this new era – fridges with wireless connection, cars that are stuffed with all kinds of (wireless) sensors – even your boring toothbrush does not escape the revolution – nowadays we can connect it to our iPhone to see the quality of brushing our teeth.

So, where does all this lead to and what will it bring for the future? One thing is sure: more and more our world gets intertwined with our daily appliances to make our live easier, more dynamic and in many cases safer (think about the technology when a car crash happens emergency services are automatically alerted).

Also, industry is exposed to this ever-growing connectivity push. By having a “holistic” view of your plant operations production run smoother, problems are identified much quicker; costs are kept down and above all the overall safety of your plant increases further. One of the problems is that especially Europe has a significant aged industry, making it hard to comply with ever-stringent environmental demands and increased output to stay competitive. Hard-wiring extra measurement points like temperature probes to have a better control on a distillation column is not easy, let alone finding the necessary I/O available. And, let’s not forget the fire permit, scaffolding, drawings, programming, cabling, etc., which all come with a significant cost.

A large part of these problems can be solved by implementing an IEC 62591 WirelessHART infrastructure. This technology has proven over the last decade its security, adoptability and reliability in many solutions. Today, Emerson WirelessHART devices have more than 4B hours in service and 30.000 installations worldwide as well as an increased demand for these devices.

Pervasive-Sensing-StrategiesThe next logical step is of course to expand outside the traditional instrumentation adoption and help process manufacturers and producers with equally important challenges like energy consumption, reliability and HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment). One answer to all these challenges is the adoption of Pervasive Sensing™ strategies. Pervasive Sensing is the deployment of many WirelessHART sensors in the plant that provide Innovate Sensing, Strategic Interpretation and Actionable information in all areas of your plant, be it Safety, Process, Reliability or Energy.

Pervasive sensing makes it possible to achieve business-critical results with incremental investments that acquire new insights without adding complexity. It provides better insight into operations and makes it possible to optimise processes and thus increase productivity and profitability.

Pervasive Sensing in Process-Critical applications

Pervasive sensing helps in both process-critical and business-critical applications. Process critical means process control and process safety. Process-critical data requires immediate response to prevent off-spec product or even a plant shutdown. It requires maximum focus; fortunately, much of the equipment and operations involved are already automated, as the new sensors generally connect to an existing process control system. Pervasive sensing in this case contains predominantly WirelessHART technology, which makes it easy to expand on existing installations and improve process-critical measuring.

Pervasive Sensing in Business-Critical applications

Business critical means site safety, reliability and energy efficiency. Business-critical data requires a timely response, rather than the immediate response needed by process critical data. Failure to act on it can lead to conditions like a plant slowdown or increased energy usage. Because it is generally of lower priority (except for safety), business-critical data may receive limited attention.

This data gathered was previously obtained by making manual rounds, and in some cases was never gathered. Hard information simply did not exist, and was often replaced by assumptions, estimates or simple guesswork. Pervasive sensing addresses this.

Another business-critical application example is pump health monitoring with wireless vibration and seal pot monitoring. Excessive vibration triggers an alert to the operators to switch to a spare pump and sends email notices to technicians to further evaluate with portable analysers. Seal integrity for example is monitored with wireless differential pressure transmitters, level, pressure or guided wave radars.

From Jim: You can connect and interact with other wireless experts in the Wireless group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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