Honeywell User Group 2015

Honeywell User Group 2015

Since I have to follow the Honeywell User Group (number 40, by the way) from afar, I’m relying on tweets and any Web updates or articles I can find.

So far, Walt Boyes (@waltboyes, and Industrial Automation Insider) has posted a few things to Twitter, mostly slides from presentations that are barely legible; Aaron Hand (Automation World) has posted a few tweets; Mehul Shah (LNS Research) has a couple of tweets—interestingly saying he things as an analyst that Honeywell has all the elements of a complete IIoT solution—hmmm; and Larry O’Brien, analyst at ARC Advisory Group has published a few tweets. If they would post links to articles in the tweets, that would be interesting.

Putman Publishing (Control magazine) once again is doing a digital “show daily” and therefore is posting several articles a day and blasting out an email daily.

Walt sent a tweet about obsolescence of open systems to which software geek Andy Robinson (@Archestranaut) replied. I didn’t understand until I saw Paul Studebaker’s article online (see below). The open systems in use today are getting long in the tooth. They feature Microsoft Windows XP—evidently never getting upgrades. Now there is no Microsoft support, the world has moved on, and all these DCS interfaces based on PCs are getting ancient.

Paul Studebaker, Control magazine’s editor-in-chief, reported on the keynote presented by Vimal Kapur, Honeywell Process Solutions president.

“ ‘Since Q4 of last year, since oil prices have changed, capital investments have been reduced’, said Kapur. Investments were up about 20% in 2010 and 2011, and remained flat through 2014, but so far, 2015 is down about 12%. Operational expense spending is also off.”

Kapur described how Honeywell is helping operators meet those challenges with strategies, technologies and services.

1. Honeywell will expand the role of the distributed control system (DCS). Now, the DCS has become a focal point of all control functions, taking on the functionality of PLC, alarm, safety, power management, historian, turbine control and more. Having a single system and user leverages scarce resources, and a single platform leveraging standards does more with less.

2. Cloud computing is becoming a standard part of HPS automation projects, with a logarithmic increase in the number of virtual machines in the HPS cloud over the past two years.

3. While process safety management has always depended on detecting unsafe situations, preventing them from causing an incident or accident and protecting people from any consequences.

4. For cybersecurity, Honeywell has created a team of specialists who can do audits, identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions. But cybersecurity requires constant monitoring, so consider using a cybersecurity dashboard, “a step toward enabling a much higher level of proactivity by identifying cyber threats before it’s too late,” Kapur said.

5. Standardization holds great promise for reducing cost and time to production by allowing pre-engineering of control systems.

6. Honeywell continues to expand and refine its field device products to offer a complete line of smart instrumentation that can be preconfigured and use the cloud for fast auto-commissioning, and that have full auto-alerts and diagnostics to enable predictive maintenance.

7. OPC UA is becoming the key to leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

8. Kapur told attendees their existing investments are not fully leveraged.

9. Expansion of mobility is changing workflows and the responsibilities of individuals.

10. Honeywell is driving more outcome-based solutions in services.

Jim Montague, Control executive editor, reported on the technology keynote.

(Jim, you need to update your bio on the Control Global page)

“This is a transformative time in process controls, rivaling the open process systems introduced in the early 1990s,” said Bruce Calder, new CTO and vice president of HPS, in the “Honeywell Technology Overview and New Innovations” session on the opening day of Honeywell User Group (HUG) Americas 2015, June 22 in San Antonio, Texas. “Today, the words are cloud, big data, predictive analytics and IoT, but this situation is similar to when Honeywell pioneered and invented the DCS in the early 1970s. For instance, our Experion PKS integrates input from many sources, which is what big data and the cloud aim to do, and our Matrikon OPC solution gives us the world’s leading contender for enabling IoT in the process industries. And all these devices are producing lots more data, so the question for everyone is how to manage it.

“This is all part of the digital transformation that Honeywell has been leading for years. So Experion and our Orion interfaces enable IoT because they collect and coordinate vast amounts of data, turn it into actionable information and turn process operators into profit operators. At the same time, Honeywell enables customers to retain their intellectual property assets as they modernize and do it safely, reliably and efficiently.”

My analysis:

1. The downturn in the price of a barrel of oil whose impact we first noticed with the decline in attendance at the ARC Forum in February has really impacted Honeywell’s business.

2. Honeywell, much like all technology suppliers, addresses the buzz around Internet of Things by saying we do it—and we’ve always done it. (mostly true, by the way)

3. Otherwise, I didn’t see much new from the technology keynote—at least as it was reported so far.

4. I got some good reporting, but It’s a shame that all the media has retrenched into traditional B2B—reporting what marketing people say. You can read that for yourself on their Websites. Context, analysis, expertise are all lost right now. Maybe someone will spring up with the new way of Web reporting.

At any rate, it sounds like a good conference. About 1,200 total attendance. Even with oil in the doldrums, the vibes should be strong.

Schneider Electric Automation Conference and Tricon Release

Schneider Electric Automation Conference and Tricon Release

First afternoon and evening done at the Schneider Electric Global Automation Conference.

When the Schneider Electric acquisition of Invensys was announce about 18 months ago, I predicted that the companies of Invensys would thrive under stable organization and financing—something that Invensys never had.

Well, it was either that, or Schneider would tear things apart and sell off pieces. And there havebeen rumors of just that scenario. The result seems to be the former. I’m sure the planning analysts that Schneider surely has looked at all the scenarios. But everything seems intact.

Schneider has actually bumped Foxboro/Triconex research and development spending by 25% over an already increased amount under the last gasp of Invensys.

And here is one result. The first announcement of the conference. A thoroughly updated Tricon safety system. Of note is the item that this is the first TUV certified safety and security system.

Updated Compact Industrial Safety System

tricon cxTricon CX, released today, is a compact system for safety and critical control applications in the oil and gas, power, refining, chemicals, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, where safe operations are critical and reliable operation is paramount. A certified ISA Secure system, the high-integrity and highly available Tricon CX ensures operational integrity, protecting against inherent risk and hazards, as well as external threats such as cyber-attack.

image“Safety and security have always been a top concern for our industrial clients, but now new threats, such as cyber-attack, have challenged the traditional approaches they have taken to protect and secure their people, property, communities and the environment,” said Mike Chmilewski, vice president, process systems offer management, Schneider Electric process automation business.

“Therefore, our clients demand the highest levels of safety and security to keep them safe and ensure the systems they rely on are immune to external threats. Our high-performance, future-proof Tricon CX safety system does just that. With more performance and capability, it can help clients maximize productivity, reliability and security while minimizing risks and the likelihood of business interruption. It’s another example of why Schneider Electric is uniquely positioned to power the big ideas our clients need to solve their most critical issues.”

The latest addition to Schneider Electric’s Triconex line of safety-instrumented systems, the Tricon CX is smaller, faster, lighter and more powerful than previous safety solutions. Its advanced functionality enables online upgrades without operational interruption. Additionally, the compact design allows for a number of new features including:
• Reduced form factor by 50 percent
• 67 percent reduction in weight
• Lower power consumption
• Advanced monitoring and control capabilities, including:
• Supervised DI/DO with advanced line-performance diagnostics
• Fast analogue inputs with integrated HART
• 1ms SOE digital input
• Choice of direct termination or external termination panel
• 300 percent increase in controller tag capacity
• 5 times increase in peer-to-peer performance
• ISA Secure EDSA level 1
• New automated test and verification of safety logic

“The Tricon CX safety system will enhance Schneider Electric’s current safety portfolio, and ARC believes its increased capabilities will enable new and existing customers to expand existing systems, replace obsolete systems or implement new systems,” said Larry O’Brien, vice president, process automation, ARC Advisory Group. “Its ability to handle upgrades without interrupting the operation should give users confidence in their ability to continue to draw additional value from their investments down the road.”

In addition to leading technology and solution sets, Schneider Electric’s process safety offer includes more than 650 safety engineers who provide a suite of services that help clients better manage their operations. These services include:
• Safety Instrumented Functions Management services
• Process safety consulting services
• Functional safety learning services

Process safety consultants also provide technology paths to help future-proof Triconex technology investments and ensure systems adhere to the latest safety standards.

Significant Increases to Asset Management Portfolio At Bentley

Significant Increases to Asset Management Portfolio At Bentley

Asset management, analytics, modeling, safety—some of the significant trends highlighted at last week’s ARC Industry in Transition Forum in Orlando—all popped up at the Bentley Systems press conference session. Highlights were acquisition of C3global and its Amulet Operational Analytics, acquisition of Acute3D and its reality modeling solution, and added process safety and risk management capabilities.

Operational Analytics

Bentley Systems has acquired U.K.-based C3global, provider of web-based Amulet software for operational analytics. Bentley’s AssetWise platform, which serves configuration management, asset health monitoring, inspection, maintenance, and compliance for infrastructure assets, can now deliver additional actionable insights as asset performance management is extended, through AssetWise Amulet, for asset performance modeling. AssetWise Amulet offers unique value in applying predictive and prescriptive analytics that are easily configurable at industrial scale to leverage just-in-time data for improved operational efficiencies.

Gartner recognizes C3global as part of the industrial analytics transformation helping digital businesses (as noted in Gartner’s “Industrial Analytics Revolutionizes Big Data in the Digital Business” report [G00264728], published August 19, 2014). Among the many infrastructure owner-operators benefiting from Amulet operational analytics are water utilities, oil and gas, and power transmission grids. User organizations include Babcock, BP, Chevron, Danfoss, Emerson, MWH, National Grid, South Australian Water, and Total.

AssetWise Amulet can be readily configured to build sophisticated applications tailored to infrastructure operations needs without having to know a programming language. It bridges the gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), enabling advanced analytics to be an integral part of all aspects of the business process. Through AssetWise Amulet’s interactive and easily configurable operational dashboards, owner-operators are provided with the context they need to be confident in their decisions and are afforded an easy method of measuring and managing the outcomes.

AssetWise Amulet is designed to integrate and analyze “big data” generated by a wide range of external applications and systems – from SQL or Oracle databases to enterprise data warehouses, industrial data historians, and control systems, as well as maintenance and work order management systems. The data can be structured or unstructured and include systems data, photos, video, log books, Microsoft Excel files, event failures, scanned notes, witnessed events, and more.

Once data from the IT and OT systems has been captured and aggregated, the software applies the users’ business rules, models, and knowledge to provide an improved view and understanding of operational performance for decision support. In conjunction with AssetWise-certified integrations to SAP EAM, IBM Maximo, and Oracle eAM, AssetWise Amulet will help drive the right actions at the right time, reducing operational risks and improving operational efficiency.

Reality Modeling

Bentley Systems also announced that it has acquired France-based Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling. Through reality modeling, observations of existing conditions are processed into representations for contextual alignment within design modeling and construction modeling environments. Rapid technology advancements in scanning and photography – and especially the burgeoning application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for these purposes – are making the capture of such observations broadly and continuously affordable in sustaining infrastructure.

Acute3D software automates the generation of high-resolution, fully-3D representations from digital photographs taken with any camera, whether highly specialized or embedded in a smartphone. Scalable from site to city, and with precision limited only by the quantity and quality of photography, Acute3D technology can assure that existing conditions are contemporaneously considered throughout the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations of any infrastructure asset. Now that photo sequences from UAVs are likely to become the most feasible source for surveying, construction monitoring, and inspection workflows, Acute3D’s industrial-level accuracy and unlimited scalability are making it a preferred technology for UAV manufacturers and professionals around the world.

Process Safety and Risk Management

AssetWise APM V7.3 the enhanced version of Bentley’s asset performance management (APM) offering – an all-in-one analysis and information management software platform for asset reliability and asset integrity – now also advances process safety.

Alan Kiraly, Bentley senior vice president, server products, said, “Our AssetWise APM V7.3 meets the demanding requirements of reliability, integrity, safety, and maintenance managers and engineers in industries ranging from oil and gas, petrochemical, and mining and metals to power generation and other utilities. The software ensures assets are safe and reliable and that they are inspected and maintained to reduce or eliminate risk. Users further benefit from the elimination of unexpected downtime, increased asset availability and utilization, reduced maintenance costs, and support for regulations and safety standards, including ISA 84, IEC 61511, IEC 61508, and IEC 61882.”

AssetWise APM V7.3’s new process safety features help users manage the integrity of safety systems and hazardous processes, thereby preventing failures and catastrophic incidents and keeping people, assets, and the environment safer. Capabilities include safety instrumented function (SIF) analysis, safety instrumented systems (SIS), safety integrity level (SIL) and safety provisions, overrides, and incidents. AssetWise APM V7.3 also provides version control and approval, the analysis of loss of containment scenarios, and the identification and assessment of risks at the system level, as well as for related assets (risk matrix).


Critical Systems Safety Profile Released

Critical Systems Safety Profile Released

GaryThumb14Machine and process safety has colored many a conversation during conferences of the past couple of months. Here, Wind River has introduced a safety profile for its next-generation version of VxWorks.

Highlights of the release:

  • Safety Profile for VxWorks delivers functionality aimed at development of safety critical systems across wide range of market segments.
  • New features include advanced time and space partitioning on multi-core and optional IEC 61508-3 SIL3 certification evidence package.
  • Wind River continues its legacy of helping customers address the most critical safety requirements with robust safety features across its product portfolio.

The profile adds safety features to VxWorks 7 aimed at development of safety critical systems in industrial, medical, transportation, aerospace, and defense. Additionally, Wind River has enhanced its Virtualization Profile for VxWorks.

The new Safety Profile for VxWorks delivers advanced time and space partitioning capabilities to ensure reliable, interference-free consolidation of multiple applications with different levels of safety criticality on one hardware platform, single or multi-core. Consolidation helps customers meet stringent safety requirements with a variety of system design options while driving down bill-of-material and maintenance costs. Furthermore, separation of applications of different criticality levels allows customers to update specific applications in a targeted fashion, without having to retest or recertify the entire system.

Standard conformance pre-approval

In addition, the profile has received pre-approval by TÜV SÜD for IEC 61508-3 SIL3 conformance. The optional certification evidence package will help VxWorks customers reduce cost, risk, and time-to-certification for their embedded systems. Safety Profile will also serve as the future foundation that will help customers certify their devices to additional IEC standards.

“With Safety Profile for VxWorks, developers can take full advantage of technological advances in microprocessors that VxWorks enables, with the confidence that they will have a strong OS foundation to meet the most demanding safety certification standards,” said Dinyar Dastoor, vice president of product management at Wind River. “For three-plus decades Wind River has been a trusted technology partner to companies in markets where safety and reliability are paramount, and this is just another proof point of our commitment to providing robust safety features across our product portfolio.”

Separately, the recently launched Virtualization Profile for VxWorks now provides support for device virtualization through the open VirtIO standard. Device virtualization further reduces the mechanical footprint and cost base of consolidated systems, and lowers the barrier to virtualization in the embedded domain, while the use of the VirtIO standard allows any operating system to use the virtualized devices.

Recognized as the industry-leading RTOS, VxWorks boasts a modular, scalable architecture that separates the VxWorks core from middleware, applications, and other packages, enabling bug fixes, upgrades, and new feature additions to be accomplished faster.


Process Industry Safety Lessons

My friend Kenna Amos is a  Chem E, PE, has been a magazine editor and editor-in-chief. He has written columns for me in a couple of tours of duty.

He recently wrote a series on process industry safety. Here is a guest post with one of those reports.

Chemical Safety Board Blames Deficiencies for Tesoro Refinery Deaths

Catastrophe blasted Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company LLC’s (Tesoro’s) refinery in Anacortes, Wash., on April 2, 2010. Seven workers died—and the refinery would be closed for six months. Unfortunately, maintenance, design, operations, regulatory agencies, industrial guidance and company safety culture all had roles in the incident.

The accident occurred in the Catalytic Reformer/Naphtha Hydrotreater unit. In it, two parallel banks of shell-and-tube heat exchangers operate. On the day of the disaster, workers were returning A/B/C bank into service, while leaving D/E/F bank in operation.

At 12:35 a.m., carbon-steel exchanger E, in the middle of its vertical stack, ruptured. Instantly, hydrogen and naphtha at 630-710 degrees Fahrenheit and about 600 pounds per square inch, gauge, burst out and auto-ignited. The resulting explosion’s fireball engulfed the heat exchangers. It and the ensuing fire, which burned for three hours, killed the workers.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) concluded the tragedy was completely preventable. So did the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) in its May 1, 2014, report—“INVESTIGATION REPORT: Catastrophic Rupture of Heat Exchanger (Seven Fatalities) – Tesoro Anacortes Refinery; Anacortes, Washington; April 2, 2010.”

High-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA) caused the vessel to rupture along high-stress, non-post-weld-heat-treated regions of the inside walls of exchanger E. In HTTA, CSB says, atomic hydrogen diffuses into steel, reacts with carbon and produces methane. Because those molecules are too large to diffuse through the metal, they accumulate and exert pressure against exchanger walls.

That process fissures or blisters the steel. “As more fissures form, they can link, forming microcracks. Microcracks can also link to form larger cracks, which greatly weaken the steel and can lead to rupture of the vessel,” says the CSB report. “This process occurred in the E heat exchanger.”

But it needn’t have. Had Tesoro measured or otherwise technically evaluated the heat exchanger’s actual operating condition, existing refinery procedures would’ve required an HTHA inspection, CSB reports. “[Also] no evaluation was documented to demonstrate effectiveness of the inspection safeguards claimed by the [process hazard analysis] PHA team.” If an evaluation had occurred, investigators would’ve found Tesoro didn’t implement safeguards.

Nor did the refiner pursue safer design. None of the Tesoro PHA teams ever considered applying the principles of inherently safer design, by upgrading the heat exchangers before the incident, CSB declares.

Substandard State, Federal Oversight

Even so, for failing to evaluate/implement inherently safer design—or failing to implement HTHA inspection as a safeguard, state and federal regulators never issued citations to Tesoro, reveals CSB. But regulators couldn’t have, as the board discovered, because they have no process safety management (PSM) requirement to scrutinize inherently safer design or evaluate safeguards’ effectiveness.

No U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement is puzzling. “Despite its acknowledged authority to do so, to date the EPA has not required industries to implement IST [inherently safer technology] through either the creation of a new rule, or the enforcement of the Clean Air Act [Amendments of 1990] General Duty Clause,” CSB states.

But would an existing state requirement have been effective? Circumstance suggests not. CSB notes for 270 PSM facilities, DOSH employs only four process-safety specialists. Only one has significant refinery experience. Only one is an engineer. And none have metallurgical experience.

The state would’ve found deficient maintenance and design programs—and problematic safety culture. Instead of incorporating design elements to eliminate HTHA risk, Tesoro used the mechanical-integrity program to identify damage mechanisms, CSB says. Also, for years, technical experts evaluated HTHA susceptibility using design parameters. But in concluding no heat-exchanger vulnerability, experts weren’t required to prove safety effectiveness.

The Chemical Safety Board also finds an inadequate American Petroleum Institute (API) standard. “API RP [Recommended Practice] 941 – ‘Steels for Hydrogen Service at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures in Petroleum Refineries and Petrochemical Plants’ is written permissively—and there are no minimum requirements for refiners to take any action to prevent HTHA failure,” CSB says. “We will consider CSB’s recommendations as part of the work already underway to prepare the next editions of refinery safety standards,” API spokesman Carlton Carroll says.

Because of a long history of frequent leaks and occasional fires when putting the six heat exchangers back into service, CSB acknowledges that startup, shutdown, and cleaning activities were a hazardous nonroutine operation.

C. Kenna Amos can be reached at [email protected].

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