Simple Apps and Wireless Sensors for Effective Monitoring

Emerson's Brian Joe


Effective monitoring requires good measurement, effective analytics to help understand the measurement, and clear guidance for action to resolve the issue. For manufacturing and production facilities already instrumented for process control, adding measurements can be difficult due to existing wiring infrastructure.

In an Automation.com article, Apps Simplify Wireless Monitoring, Emerson’s Brian Joe describes how the combination of additional wireless measurements and mobile device enabled apps provide easily accessible and power monitoring capabilities outside the traditional control, safety and data acquisition systems.

Automation.com: Apps Simplify Wireless MonitoringBrian opens noting the issue with adding measurements for monitoring beyond what may be already installed. The project team:

…had to wire the new instruments to the existing 4-20mA or fieldbus I/O system. If the existing system was full, this required new cabling, conduit, junction boxes, marshalling cabinets and/or input cards. In some cases, adding a single wired instrument could cost $15,000 or more in labor, materials, new wiring, additional input cards, etc.

By contrast:

…wireless instrumentation and low-cost apps make it possible to monitor pumps, steam traps and other equipment for a fraction of the previous cost, and in much less time.

The wireless instruments form a communications mesh to supply process variable and diagnostic information back to the gateway, which then connects to system such as a historian, control or data acquisition system. To give meaning to this information: Continue Reading

Laser Gas Analyzers for Optimizing Ethylene Production

The ethylene molecule consists of a double bond between carbon atoms and four hydrogen atoms bonded, two to each carbon atom. Per the Wikipedia Ethylene entry, it:

…is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016[5]) exceeds that of any other organic compound.[6][7] Much of this production goes toward polyethylene, a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths.

Th growth of natural gas production from the shale gas formations in the United States has led a rapid increase in global ethylene production. Per a recent Petrochemical Update post:

The ACC [American Chemistry Council] estimates there are 310 projects currently under construction or planned and $185 billion in potential capital investment as of mid- 2017, up from the 97 projects and $72 billion in Mach 2013.

Emerson's Amanda Gogates


Emerson's Jeff Gunnell


Hydrocarbon Processing: Optimizing ethylene production with laser technologyIn a Hydrocarbon Processing magazine article, Optimizing ethylene production with laser technology, Emerson’s Amanda Gogates and Jeff Gunnell describe how laser gas analyzer technology is being used in ethylene production.

These analyzers are being applied to improve production throughput, reduce energy consumption and help to meet ethylene purity specifications. They open noting that gas chromatographs (GCs): Continue Reading

Improving Plant Staff Effectiveness

Emerson's Jonas Berge


Manufacturers across many industries continued to be pressured to be able to do more with fewer staff in their plants. Technologies have advanced to provide more measurements added more easily to be able to optimize the efforts of plant staff.

In a Control Engineering Asia article, Plant operations – from good to great, Emerson’s Jonas Berge highlights specific examples of how pervasive digital sensors and networks can reduce time spent in traditional practices while improving operational performance. I’ll highlight a few examples and invite you to read the article. Continue Reading

Successfully Addressing NERC CIP Cybersecurity Standards

The power industry is perhaps the furthest along in hardening their cybersecurity defenses due to the work of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) on the critical infrastructure protection (CIP) cybersecurity standards—now at version 6.

Power magazine: Tackling NERC CIP and Cybersecurity at America’s Largest Gas-fired Cogeneration PlantIn a Power magazine article, Tackling NERC CIP and Cybersecurity at America’s Largest Gas-fired Cogeneration Plant, this electrical energy and steam energy producer shares their story of their path to addressing these standards and hardening their cyber-defenses.

Upon being classified as a medium-impact bulk generating asset per the CIP v6 standards, this meant the plant:

…would need to comply with NERC CIP Standards 2 through 11, after having no prior NERC CIP obligations. This meant the facility needed a formal, documented process for patch management, configuration management, security event monitoring, and more.

The plant had 120 people with two responsible for the control systems. This additional requirement was borne by these two folks. They investigated ways to accomplish the required areas, such as patch management.

Based on the quantity of control system-related workstations and the process to identify the required patches, and then: Continue Reading

Integrating Analytics Across Process Development Lifecycle

For batch processes found in industries such as pharmaceutical & biopharmaceutical, food & beverage, specialty chemicals, etc., analytics technology advancements are helping to improve quality, consistency and reliability.

Emerson's Zuwei Jin


I caught up with Emerson’s Zuwei Jin for an update on these advancements and how they are being applied. He put together a chart of the process analytics landscape. The orange lines indicate the first wave of analytics solutions developed for batch control based upon the DeltaV distributed control system.

The blue lines indicate services that have recently been developed by the Emerson consulting team to address additional needs from some of the industries—the Life Sciences in particular. The green lines represent how specific solutions from Emerson address some of these key interests. Continue Reading