Improving Pharmaceutical and Biotech Plant Utility Performance

Emerson's Michalle Adkins


For pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers, the use of steam, heating and air conditioning systems, water and other utilities are an important part of the manufacturing process. Efficient and reliable operations for these plant utilities is very important.

In a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing article, Monitoring Plant Utilities for Operational Excellence, Emerson’s Michalle Adkins describes how additional measurements from wireless instrumentation can help in more efficient and reliable operations.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: Monitoring Plant Utilities for Operational ExcellenceMichalle opens highlighting the importance of consistent and reliable utilities:

…to avoid the possibility of contamination, deviations and even quarantined inventory or lost batches. Outright failure can stop a manufacturing campaign. Even a minor disruption of flow or a temperature moving out of specification can sabotage a batch or result in approved additional processing. Such losses can be extremely expensive, however, many of these losses and problems are avoidable with effective monitoring and control.

For steam service, steam traps capture and release the water which has condensed from the steam as it travels through the piping. They operate with moving parts and can fail over time. Continue Reading

Pressure Relief Valve Fugitive Emissions Testing

Earlier this week, the Valve World Americas Expo & Conference convened in Houston, Texas. This gathering provides an opportunity for flow control industry professionals to share experiences, insights and to collaborate to resolve common challenges.

Emerson's Amr Gado


Emerson's D. Emile Tezzo


Emerson's Calvin Deng


Emerson’s Dr. Amr Gado, D. Emile Tezzo, and Calvin Deng prepared a presentation, Pressure Relief Valves Fugitive Emissions Testing which was given by Amr at this conference.

As defined by Wikipedia, “Fugitive emissions are emissions of gases or vapors from pressurized equipment due to leaks and other unintended or irregular releases of gases, mostly from industrial activities.”

Amr opened the presentation speaking about the importance of effectively reducing and managing fugitive emissions. Globally, more and stricter regulations are being released and enforced. Companies want to comply not only to meet these regulations but to build their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reputations.

Valves are one of the sources of these fugitive emissions and an important place to look for improvements. There are many industry standards and specification to help meet the regulations. Some include: Continue Reading

Reducing Storage Tank Thief Hatch Emissions

Regulations on emissions for process manufacturers and producers have continued to grow ever stringent. Storage tanks in oil and gas production sites account for a sizable percentage of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. To address these regulations, you may have seen last week’s news, New ultra-tight thief hatch reduces storage tank emissions, conserves tank contents.

Emerson's Steve Attri


I caught up with Emerson’s Steve Attri about these developments for this new Enardo Model ES-665 spring-loaded thief hatch. He noted that this solution was designed to help meet emissions regulations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Quad O regulations.

Thief hatches, also referred to as gauge hatches, provide both access to tanks as well as pressure control. Technology has advanced over the years from simple dead weight hatches to today with spring loading and advanced seal designs. Enforcement of emission levels has gotten high-tech as well.

Inspectors often use optical gas imaging infrared (IR) cameras to detect leaks. Detectable emissions from hatches and other pressure relief devices can result in significant fines and stopped production.

Steve explained the difference between tank venting and leakage. If a tank needs to relieve overpressure or vacuum conditions, it opens to normalize pressure. Continue Reading

Cybersecurity in the DeltaV Distributed Control System

Emerson's Alexandre Peixoto


Cybersecurity remains high on the list of issues for process manufacturers and producers to grapple with. In this 4:38 video, DeltaV Cybersecurity, Emerson’s Alexandre Peixoto discusses ways that cyber defenses are incorporated into the DeltaV distributed control system (DCS).

He opens describing the defense in depth strategies which includes four major focus areas: plant-level security, integrated services & support, DeltaV system features and setup procedures, and specific security-related products.

Alexandre shows the Emerson Smart Firewall which is a hardware-based perimeter protection device designed to enforce highly controlled external network access to the DeltaV workstations and servers. He next shows the Firewall-IPD (Intrusion Protection Device). It functions to provide additional protection for embedded nodes such as DeltaV controllers, CHARM I/O and Wireless I/O installed on the secure side of the firewall against message flooding and denial-of-service attacks originating from the workstation side of the firewall. Continue Reading

Digital Transformation in the Chemical Processing Industries

Chemical Engineering: The Digital Transformation in the CPIHow are companies in the chemical processing industries looking at Industrial Internet of Things technologies to improve their operations? This question was the focus of a Chemical Engineering article, The Digital Transformation in the CPI.

The article opens describing this digital transformation occurring:

More and more, smart sensors and equipment that contain smart diagnostic features are being used in industry to generate large volumes of data. Advanced computing technologies are allowing these devices to be connected to each other, and to use the data in a variety of ways. This growing interconnectedness of industrial operations is what is meant by the now familiar term, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo


Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo shared his thoughts on how this digital transformation affects refiners and chemical producers:

IIoT is partly about how we make data accessible and then get the right data to the right person, in the right format, at the right time — to make a decision. It’s about transferring digital data into digital intelligence by using the thousands of touch and sensing points in your plant and advanced analytics to help you recognize patterns and make decisions based on patterns instead of individual measurements.

What’s causing refiners and chemical producers to explore IIoT technologies? Continue Reading