2017 AIChE Board of Directors Election

Professional societies are very important in advancing knowledge, standards, peer networks and more. Within our world of manufacturing and automation there are several including the International Society of Automation (ISA) and the Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA) to name but two. There are also numerous engineering societies around the globe focusing on many of the engineering disciplines including chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, etc.

I mention this because many engineers involved in process manufacturing, instrumentation and automation are chemical engineers. The professional society for them is AIChE. Although the acronym is based on the words, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, it has grown into a global association of chemical engineers. Many of the experts we feature here on the blog are chemical engineers belonging to AIChE.

Emerson's Tim Olsen

One of these experts, Emerson’s Tim Olsen, is on the ballot for the 2017 AIChE Board of Directors election. Ballots were mailed out this week to AIChE members and the election commences on August 28.

I don’t know the other folks running for the board of directors’ positions, but I do know Tim, and want to put in a shameless plug for him. I did review the election guidelines and saw that campaigning on social media was permitted. It wasn’t clear whether friends could help or not, but I’ll assume so.

You’ll find much of Tim’s expertise in refining challenges, trends and solutions in many posts we’ve done over the years.

If you’re an AIChE member who plans to vote, here’s the page with the full slate of candidates for the 2017 election. And here’s the part about Tim on that page: Continue Reading

Driving Sustainable Cybersecurity Programs

EnergySec is a consortium with the mission, “…to support energy sector organizations with the security of their critical technology infrastructures.” Their EnergySec Summit 2017 is happening this week. The focus of this conference is:

  • Defining and developing strategies to strengthen critical infrastructure protection programs
  • Learning the details about the latest standards (e.g, AMI Security, NERC CIP compliance, CFATS, etc)
  • Understanding the complexities to balance security and compliance in a highly-regulated industry
  • Making valuable connections with industry-recognized security leaders who are at the forefront of physical and cyber security.
  • Meeting and learning more from leading security solution vendors, communication suppliers and technologists in the energy sector

Emerson's Jaime Foose

Emerson’s Jaime Foose has been attending this gathering and shared some notes and panelist quotes that I’d like to pass along from one of the sessions she attended, How to Survive the Ever Expanding Scope of NERC CIP. Whether you’re in the electrical power generation and distribution business or another industry, cybersecurity program planning and execution likely plays a large role in your overall efforts.

For the power industry, complying with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards poses a significant challenge. One of the panel sessions Jaime attended included representation from Tripwire, who provide security configuration change management software. Tripwire Enterprise is included as one of the components in the Power and Water Cybersecurity Suite. Continue Reading

Improving Bulk Liquids Storage Terminal Management

A safe, reliable and efficient bulk liquids storage terminal requires effective order execution. As part of a terminal management system, the execution of these orders must consider scheduling, asset and use management, process control, safety instrumented functions and reporting for the business systems.

Emerson's Ramon Badell

Emerson's Gerry Snow

In the continuing Bulk Liquids Storage Terminals Webinar Series, Emerson’s Ramon Badell and Gerry Snow present on the topic of Management and Information Processing for Terminals on August 17 at 1pm CDT.

Ramon and Gerry will highlight the need for robust operations management practices to effectively deal with increased complexity and growing need for information management. A well-integrated terminal management system can improve profitability, reduce operating costs, optimize assets, and improve safety performance.

They will discuss common operational challenges, the operational business cycle within a terminal, advanced applications for one or multiple terminals, and have a question and answer portion at the end.

Some common challenges include the inefficient use of terminal assets, inaccurate and/or ill-timed terminal customer communications, reconciling physical inventory versus book inventory, and closing the books in a timely and accurate manner. The challenges, if not addressed, can result in limiting throughput and growth, falling short of customer expectations and missing revenue opportunities. Continue Reading

Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain

As liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant come online across the globe, the fundamental nature of the gas market is changing with supply finding demand and pricing variability decreasing. The October 25-27 Gas Asia Summit, as part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), brings together business leaders and technical experts in the natural gas and LNG industries to discuss trends, innovations and collaboration opportunities.

Emerson’s Jonas Berge will be participating on a technical panel on digital and data management. His presentation will be Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain. Here is the abstract for his presentation:

Emerson's Jonas Berge

A summary of technology, experience, and results from digitally transforming operations with pervasive sensing and Industrial IoT (IIoT) based on wireless sensor networks and analytics integrated with cloud and existing systems. Information is compiled from feedback from early adopters in gas production, processing, and LNG transportation, and where applicable also from refining, petrochemicals, and chemicals.

Pervasive sensing and IIoT technologies such as digital sensor networks, analytics software, and cloud help plants including LNG carriers by digitally transforming operations to save personnel’s time, reduce cost, and increase output in four primary domains: reliability/maintenance, energy efficiency, HS&E, and production. Each domain has many applications complementing existing plant automation, and plants are constantly innovating new solutions. Some of the most popular applications which sites have implemented in each domain will be reviewed with case studies from around the world. Applications where these new ideas can be applied include condition monitoring of compressors, pumps, blowers/fans, steam traps, relief valves, pipes, instrumentation and control valves, performance monitoring of heat exchangers, cooling towers, air cooled heat exchangers; energy management; monitoring emergency safety showers and eyewash stations, manual valves, shutdown valves, H2S, effluent temperature; monitoring wellheads and control panels, control valves and dampers, consumables inventory, and LNG storage temperature profile for leak detection etc. Reducing manual data collection rounds for operations and maintenance are also covered. Continue Reading

DCS Cybersecurity Tips and Updates

Emerson's Rick Gorskie

Most of the process manufacturing facilities across the world is considered critical infrastructure. From the energy we consume to the medicines we take, manufacturers work to deliver these products as safely, reliably and efficiently as they can. And with the threat of cyber-attacks growing more common, cybersecurity remains a growing concern and focus.

Emerson’s Rick Gorskie has been sharing a series of Cybersecurity Moments. Although they are specific to the DeltaV distributed control system, much of the guidance is beneficial no matter what control or data acquisition system you might have. I’ll recap a few items from his recent posts in the Emerson Exchange 365 community here.

In a post, Cybersecurity Protection Starts at The Front Gate!, Rick opens highlighting the critical importance of the human element in cybersecurity:

No matter who you are or what your job title is, YOU are an integral part of the cybersecurity protection at your site. The very moment that you pass through the front gate, your cyber-related actions could possibly lead to the compromise of your site’s cyber-protection strategy. Human error is responsible for some of the worst data breaches on record and, because of a lack of cybersecurity awareness, organizations are risking their reputation, customer trust, and potentially their bottom lines when employees mishandle data.

Education of the plant staff in the collection of cybersecurity policies and procedures is critical. Some of these elements to highlight and continually reinforce include spear-phishing or phishing, indiscreet use of USB sticks, computer lock screens, unauthorized software downloads, and strong passwords (see Rick’s earlier post, DeltaV Secure Passwords: The Do’s and Don’ts). A security-minded culture must be built as a safety culture has been built, in the vast majority of manufacturing facilities. Continue Reading