Keeping Control Systems Current for Secure and Reliable Operation

Emerson's Yoga Gorur

As commercially available off-the-shelf operating systems and hardware came on the scene for control systems, they brought with them rapid performance improvements that translated into increase functionality and ease of use.

Maintenance Technology: Focus on Automation System UpdatesThey also brought with them the need to provide ongoing software and hardware updates to remain secure, reliable and available. In a Maintenance Technology article, Focus on Automation System Updates, Emerson’s Yoga Gorur highlights how critical it is to keep control systems up to date.

Yoga opens describing the importance of:

…keeping critical hardware and software elements up to date. Leaving the system and its operating environment unpatched or out of date means exposing the plant to potential equipment failure and cyber attacks. In addition, it is essential to maintain the hardware and software backbone on which the automation system relies.

Operating systems require regular security patches as does automation system software that requires periodic updates, patches and hotfixes.

Hardware components also have a lifespan to consider. Continue Reading

3D Immersive Dynamic Simulations

You may have seen the recent announcement that Google Glass is back as Google Glass Enterprise Edition (EE) designed for workplace environments like ours in the manufacturing space. This technology joins others well established technologies such as Daqri and Gilgamesh in providing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions to support operators, technicians and other plant personnel in safely, efficiently and effectively performing their jobs.

Automation World: Digital Twin Spawns Automation EfficienciesA recent Automation World article, Digital Twin Spawns Automation Efficiencies, describes one important application for virtual reality as a means of:

…creating a virtual representation of physical assets, including modeling behavior—for validation and test purposes. This process, which promises to reduce reliance on costly prototypes while accelerating time to market, is now starting to take root in the plant floor environment as a way to garner efficiencies for production and, in some cases, set the stage for predictive maintenance.

Emerson's Ronnie Bains

Emerson’s Ronnie Bains was one of the people interviewed for the article. Ronnie has been seeing an increase in demand for 3D/Immersive simulation, as part of multi-purpose dynamic simulation (MPDS) projects.

MPDS enables the external operator’s view to be simulated with that of the control room operator, creating a unique way to support integrated operations. A simulation model represents the dynamic operation of the process along with its controls and associated logic.

In the article, Ronnie explains that: Continue Reading

Comprehensive Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure

The electrical power generation and distribution industries, especially here in the U.S., have a long history in working to improve reliability and security. This history goes back to the establishment of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) in the late 1960s as a response to a widespread blackout in the Northeastern U.S.

NERC became the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (also NERC) in 2006 and was designated by the U.S. Department of Energy as electrical sector coordinator for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). They developed the NERC CIP standards. We highlighted how these standards apply to distributed control systems like the Ovation system in an earlier post, Securing Ovation Systems per NERC CIP Standards.

Emerson's Jaime Foose

No matter which supplier’s or suppliers’ control system(s) you use, having a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and suite of technologies is critical to better secure and comply with the standards over time. This is true whether you’re in the power industry or other critical infrastructure industries like water and wastewater.

In this 3:12 YouTube video, Power and Water Cybersecurity Suite, Emerson’s Jaime Foose explains a platform-independent, ICS cybersecurity solution that helps DCS and SCADA system users in the power generation and water/wastewater industries secure their critical assets without process disruption, and meet regulatory requirements like NERC CIP. Continue Reading

Characterizing and Configuring Micro Motion Coriolis Meter How-To Video

Here’s another in the great series of Micro Motion flow and density measurement “how to” videos. This 8:14 video, Micro Motion Coriolis Meter Characterization and Configuration Using the Transmitter Display describes how to characterize and configure a Micro Motion Coriolis meter, using the Model 5700 field-mount transmitter display. The goal of the video is to know how to check the meter status, to learn how to characterize the meter, to understand how to configure the meter outputs, and to know how to save the characterization and configuration. Continue Reading

Advancing Industrial Internet of Things Projects

If you keep up with news in the world of automation, you’ve likely heard about IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) coming ever closer together due to the potential value of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. For many manufacturers, this process of coming together brings separate organizations together with different objectives and cultures.

Solutions that bridge this divide can help foster improved collaboration between organizations as well as improve business performance—in safety, reliability, efficiency and/or environmental performance.

Emerson's Mike Boudreaux

Earlier this year at ARC Advisory Group’s Industry Forum, ARC’s Craig Resnick interviewed Dell’s Kirsten Billhardt and Emerson’s Mike Boudreaux on how IT and OT technologies can come together more simply and be maintained more easily. In this 6:48 YouTube video they describe a remote monitoring IIoT application and share thoughts on successfully deploying IIoT projects.

Mike describes how wireless instrumentation collects the data from the process for non-control applications such as equipment performance, reliability, energy consumption and environmental performance and pass this information to software running on a Dell Edge gateway. Continue Reading