Emerson’s Renewed Plantweb Leverages Industrial Internet of Things

Emerson Automation (formerly Emerson Process Management) is the latest automation company to thoroughly exploit the Industrial Internet of Things as it unveiled its digital strategy and reinvigorated Plantweb architecture at Global Users Exchange 2016.

Microsoft continues its deep penetration into industrial and manufacturing automation markets with a renewed commitment from Emerson. The companies announced at Exchange the Plantweb digital ecosystem and Connected Services are powered by Microsoft Azure IoT Suite.

Emerson is also broadly adopting Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT technology both in its DeltaV and Ovation control systems and in data gateways.

First introduced as the industry’s most advanced process control and safety network, Plantweb now harnesses the power of Industrial IoT to expand digital intelligence to the entire manufacturing enterprise, while also providing an architecture for on-premise applications. Plantweb provides a comprehensive framework to help manufacturers achieve Top Quartile performance in the areas of safety, reliability, production and energy. Top Quartile is defined as achieving operations and capital performance in the top 25 percent of peer companies.

“In 1997, Emerson revolutionized the automation landscape with Plantweb, the first field-based digital plant architecture,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer, Emerson Automation Solutions. “Now, we are doing it again by harnessing the power of Industrial IoT to give customers the technology foundation for Operational Certainty.”

plantweb-2016

The pieces comprising Plantweb (see diagram) include (from the bottom of the stack): Pervasive Sensing; Secure First Mile; Insight; Advisor; Always Mobile; and, Connected Services. I’ll discuss a little of each of these below. Many are build outs of existing products and technologies, some are new products or services.

Pervasive Sensing

Emerson’s Pervasive Sensing Strategies expand the use of sensor and analytics technology into new operational performance areas through a new generation of low-cost sensors that are easy to install and maintain, take advantage of wireless communications as part of a secure, integrated industrial network and use new analytic algorithms to create insights into the performance of a plant’s assets.

Emerson’s expanding portfolio of pervasive sensing technologies includes capabilities in the areas of hazardous gas sensing, wireless corrosion monitoring, wireless medium voltage equipment monitoring, wireless gas monitoring, wireless non-intrusive surface-sensing temperature measurement, wireless power metering and pressure gauge measurement.

Wireless corrosion monitoring

Emerson’s Permasense Wireless Corrosion Monitoring is a permanently-installed technology that uses unique sensor technology, wireless data delivery and advanced analytics to continuously monitor for metal loss from corrosion or erosion in pipes, pipelines or vessels.

Designed to operate without maintenance for years, this monitoring technology reliably delivers high-integrity data even in the harshest environments, providing ongoing visibility of corrosion and erosion trends in real-time and direct to the engineer.

Wireless medium voltage equipment monitoring

Emerson’s IntelliSAW wireless medium voltage equipment monitoring systems offer real-time, continuous monitoring of electric power switchgear temperatures and smart grid monitoring, providing accurate temperature data for key points in a power transmission network.

Wireless gas monitoring

Emerson’s Rosemount 928 Wireless Gas Monitor is the world’s first integrated WirelessHART toxic gas detection solution. Maintaining remote sites like wellheads and natural gas metering stations is difficult and dangerous because workers approaching these sites may be exposed to unplanned releases of toxic gas. Due to the prohibitive costs to install and operate conventional gas detection systems at these sites, operators have been forced to rely on portable gas detection devices or, even worse, carry on with no gas detection at all. In all these cases, workers may run the risk of exposure when approaching these remote sites to perform maintenance.

Wireless non-intrusive surface-sensing temperature measurement

Emerson’s Rosemount X-well Technology is a surface-sensing temperature measurement solution that eliminates the need for thermowell process penetration when measuring process temperatures in pipe applications and removes leak points to reduce compliance costs and increase safety. X-well technology eliminates the need to drill device connections to get process temperatures, allowing users to avoid the risk of corrosion.

Wireless power metering

The Emerson SensEnable 56WM wireless power meter is designed to monitor voltage, current, power, energy, and other electrical parameters on single and three phase electrical systems with revenue-grade accuracy. The power meter delivers early detection of machine problems through continuous measurement of power consumption and power quality of submeters.  Submeters are physical metering devices that monitor electricity, gas, water, steam, and other utilities.

Pressure gauge measurement

Emerson’s Rosemount Wireless Pressure Gauge delivers safer and more reliable readings, enabling remote collection of field data as frequently as once per minute. Accurate, wireless readings keep operators updated on changing field conditions remotely – reducing manual operator rounds and improving safety by keeping personnel out of hazardous areas and safeguarding against catastrophic events.

Secure First Mile

Emerson’s Secure First Mile is a set of architectural approaches and designs, enabled by a family of security services and robust, secure and flexible servers, gateways, and data diodes that ensures that data in existing OT systems can be easily and securely connected to internet based applications.

Using Secure First Mile architectures, a plant can transform its operational technology data into information technology data while ensuring outbound paths of information do not become inbound paths that expose its systems to harm.

As part of its Secure First Mile architectures, Emerson is using OPC Unified Architecture (UA) servers to export data from application databases. OPC UA is an industrial machine-to-machine communication protocol that can be directly consumed by Microsoft Azure, Emerson’s chosen platform for cloud computing. Microsoft Azure enables the building, deployment and management of applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. Its integrated cloud services include analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web applications.

To connect its field data aggregation products such as wireless sensor gateways, CHARM I/O cards, Ethernet I/O cards and RTUs, Emerson is using Windows10 IoT edge gateways. These gateways enable data to securely reach the Microsoft Azure cloud by translating operational technology protocols such as FOUNDATION fieldbus (FF) and HART to information technology protocols such as Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) & MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT). These gateways provide a high degree of security through data encryption and key management. In addition, as described, data diodes installed within the system act as physical barriers to incoming information, preventing outside access to a plant’s systems.

Insight

Emerson’s Plantweb Insight applications, which leverage Emerson’s Pervasive Sensing strategies, help users instantly make sense of plant data to drive overall enterprise profitability. It’s a single, lightweight, easy-to-install web-based platform that automatically and strategically interprets plant data through a scalable suite of applications.

Plantweb Insight features a user-friendly, intuitive interface capable of running on any device with access to a web browser (desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones).  Pre-built analytics require minimal configuration, and its flexible software is operating system-independent, easily installing and integrating with existing infrastructures.

The power of Plantweb Insight resides in its collection of easy-to-deploy applications, each containing the embedded domain expertise and analytics that enable existing resources to immediately identify and resolve asset issues that historically were addressed by periodic, manual rounds or unexpected failures. These applications are designed to help users realize the most from Pervasive Sensing strategies at their sites.

More than a dozen total applications are scheduled for release, with each dedicated to a single, specific asset class. The first three applications are available now and future applications will be released at a rate of two per quarter.

Plantweb Insight is currently available with applications for steam trap monitoring, pump monitoring and pressure gauge monitoring.

Advisor

Emerson’s Plantweb Advisor Suite is a scalable set of software products offering two new applications, Health Advisor and Performance Advisor, in addition to the previously released Energy Advisor – all of which leverage the industry-standard OSIsoft Pi System’s highly scalable open data infrastructure that captures and shapes data generated by equipment.

“Together, Emerson and OSIsoft are creating a foundation for digital transformation,” said Martin Otterson, senior vice president of sales, marketing and partners at OSIsoft. “Through the combination of Plantweb Advisor Suite and the PI System, organizations will be able to rapidly achieve deep insights into their operations that in turn will help them boost productivity or develop new services.”These complementary applications are designed to boost operational performance by empowering a plant’s reliability, process and energy experts with critical information about equipment health and efficiency as well as energy consumption and emissions.

Using the Plantweb Advisor Suite, a plant’s essential assets are continuously monitored for potential problems with Health Advisor, operating efficiency of a plant’s equipment is tracked through Performance Advisor, and Energy Advisor maps and manages a plant’s energy consumption in real time.

Always Mobile

Always Mobile solutions deliver secure, instant access to critical information in intuitive views that prepare personnel at all levels to more effectively make business-critical decisions and operate their facilities.

AMS Asset View

AMS Asset View software is a dashboard and messaging application used to present asset health information on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. An application connecting into the AMS ARES Platform, AMS Asset View’s persona-based views ensure that reliability personnel know the health of their assets in relevant time and always see the alerts they need to see, and only the alerts they need to see, so they can focus on asset conditions critical to production.

AMS Asset View focuses on delivering asset health status and alerts in relevant time, using a push alert mechanism to provide notifications that are pertinent to a user’s responsibilities and the criticality of an individual asset.

DeltaV Mobile

The new DeltaV Mobile application allows process engineers, operators, and plant managers to quickly and easily view personalized watch lists and receive real-time alarm notifications.

Collaborative features enable users to more efficiently diagnose and troubleshoot abnormal process situations—whether they are on site or in a remote location.

Guardian Mobile

Emerson announces Guardian Mobile, a mobile application delivering visibility of critical data for control, asset, machinery, and device monitoring systems. An element of Emerson’s Always Mobile, Guardian Mobile enables users to access their system health score for all associated systems from anywhere.

AMS Trex Device Communicator

The AMS Trex Device Communicator is a handheld communicator for advanced diagnostics, configuration, and troubleshooting in the field, designed to improve the efficiency of the many tasks performed by maintenance technicians.

The Trex communicator supports additional mobile applications, such as ValveLink Mobile, which allows technicians to configure and test valves inline, minimizing the impact on production.

Connected Services

Emerson Connected Services are bridging that gap by harnessing the Industrial IoT to help its customers maximize the health, reliability and performance of plant assets and processes through proactive, predictive analysis that delivers actionable data. A key component of Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem, the service offers remote, continuous assessment of a plant’s equipment and processes by Emerson experts to empower customers with the information needed to improve efficiency and avoid unplanned downtime. Emerson Connected Services utilize Microsoft Azure cloud services and data analytic tools that provide a scalable and secure cloud application environment.

Emerson Connected Services offer support across four main subscription-based service offerings in which experts analyze data from critical equipment to provide actionable insights so customers can align their maintenance and operational responses with their business strategies. These offerings currently include Control Valve Connected Services, Steam Trap Connected Services, DeltaV System Health Connected Services, and Machinery Connected Services.

These new services are an integrated part of Emerson’s Lifecycle Services offerings, enabling Emerson to provide customers with more effective and efficient access to its experts. Rather than physically sending experts to inspect and analyze data from critical equipment on a customer’s site, Emerson is able to bring the data to the experts, wherever they are located, with secure connectivity and cloud services. For the most part, users are leveraging the existing infrastructure in their facility making it easy to start small and focused, and grow the service to deliver more business results.

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