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Attendance Down, Activity Up at Emerson Users Event

Major product announcements and discussion of numerous real-world industrial wireless applications were among items filling the agenda at Emerson Process Management’s recent Global Users Exchange.

Emerson's Smart Wireless network helps improve profitability and environmental compliance at Tecpetrol natural gas facilities in
Emerson's Smart Wireless network helps improve profitability and environmental compliance at Tecpetrol natural gas facilities in

Not surprisingly, attendance was down somewhat at the annual Global Users Exchange of Emerson Process Management ( held in Orlando Sept. 28-Oct. 1. The atmosphere was anything but down, however, as the process automation supplier made several significant product announcements and attendees made ample use of the Twitter social networking application. Indeed, “tweets” were flying prolifically from Blackberries to iPhones and back during the week.

Executives explained that Emerson maintained research and development spending during the downturn, and one result was the launch of a new DeltaV distributed control system (DCS) platform. Emerson used ideas of “human-centered design” as the model for developing new products. In fact, it announced the formation of the Human Centered Design Institute. The announcement culminates more than five years of customer work-practice analysis, new product development re-engineering and organizational training. The stated goal: “Make products that are not only reliable, compatible and cost-effective, but also bring about a significant improvement in ease-of-use and workforce productivity.”

“Process control technologies have come a long way in the past 40 years,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson.  “But the industry has invested almost exclusively on feature and technology enhancement, instead of designing around how people actually use the technology.  We believe it’s time technology began serving people, instead of the other way around.”

Premature locks

The ideas came together in the development of the DeltaV S-series digital automation system. “We observed that customer project engineering and design processes across the industry put too much emphasis on locking down designs very early in the project, often before the process design was complete,” noted Zornio.  “Not only does this increase FEED (front end engineering design) and detailed design cost and time, it also exposes the project to increased labor and potentially significant change order costs during construction.  Additionally, the existing wiring processes were time consuming and laborious…and ripe for an innovative approach.”

Sporting a new logo, the S-series DeltaV features “I/O on demand” and electronic marshalling. With I/O on demand, users decide what type of input/output (I/O) configuration they want, whether wireless, Foundation Fieldbus, Hart, analog input, analog output, digital input, digital output, thermocouple or resistance temperature detector (RTD). They decide when they want the I/O, whether for late project changes, during start-up, during operation, or temporary installations; and where they want the I/O, whether in a rack room, remote locations, hazardous areas, safety systems or harsh environments.

Electronic marshalling, a technology that streamlines design and installation for users, eliminates two-thirds of the wiring and connections needed by today’s conventional marshalling cabinets, according to studies done by Emerson. New, single-channel CHARacterization ModuleS (CHARMS) are the foundation of the system. CHARMS relay I/O information to any DeltaV controller via Ethernet backbone. This electronic communications method eliminates the need for users to wire I/O to specific controller I/O cards. These benefits are said to improve plant uptime, and make projects simpler and easier to engineer and implement.

DeltaV S-series hardware with electronic marshalling is said to make changes easy and eliminate re-wiring. Technicians land the field wires, install the CHARMS and electronically marshal it wherever needed. Emerson notes that adapting to change easily allows process manufacturers to shorten project schedules, accommodate late project changes, and simplify the I/O and marshalling design process. This late binding of process changes provides adaptability and can help avoid costly, last minute change orders.

DeltaV S-series includes an enhancement for WirelessHart with redundant communications. It also includes a Foundation Fieldbus I/O card with integrated power supply.

Because Emerson is a major backer of WirelessHart, the wireless industrial standard developed by the Hart Communication Foundation, it was hardly surprising that wireless was featured for at least the third year in a row at the Emerson Exchange. Before bringing a parade of wireless implementers before the media, the spotlight fell on a new product called the Thum. The “Smart Wireless Thum Adapter” installs on existing Hart field instruments in order to “free up diagnostics and process information previously inaccessible in wired legacy system installations.”

Wireless control

Not only did Emerson add redundancy to WirelessHart technology to enhance its applicability for control applications, it reported on two installations demonstrating the effectiveness of wireless for control.

At bioprocess technologies supplier Broadley-James Corp. (, Irvine, Calif., WirelessHart pH and temperature transmitters control a single-use disposable bioreactor. “We conducted batch runs using mammalian cell culture,” said Scott Broadley, president of Broadley-James. “The observed pH and temperature control using wireless measurements was equivalent to that achieved using wired transmitters.”

Similar results were seen at another installation at the University of Texas, where stripper and absorber control in a distillation tower is done using WirelessHart transmitters. Column pressure control and heater stream flow control using WirelessHart transmitters provided the same dynamic response and comparable performance to that achieved using wired transmitters.

Both installations use an enhanced proportional–integral–derivative (PID) algorithm available with the DeltaV S-series. This PID algorithm for wireless devices delivers high accuracy control in an exception reporting environment.

Working examples of Emerson’s Smart Wireless network included:

•    Tecpetrol ( natural gas facilities in Argentina, where Rosemount wireless transmitters at three sites measure venting, deliver gas data for AGA3 (American Gas Association) calculations to balance plants, and data for fiscal accounting of sold gas. “The wireless applications saved us a total of $34,000 in installation costs compared to installing a wired solution, a 27 percent savings,” said Odin Fernández, automation and energy head, Tecpetrol. “We preferred Smart Wireless because it’s a secure, robust, self-organizing network. It’s reliable and easy to install, expand, and use.” Installation of the equipment took one day.

•    Severstal Wheeling (, the United States’ fourth largest integrated steel producer, has expanded its use of Smart Wireless technology to improve process, fire safety and environmental monitoring at its fully integrated, 80-inch hot strip mill in Mingo Junction, Ohio. The initial installation prevented roll failures valued at $300,000 and improved mill efficiency. This gave the company the confidence to deploy three additional networks to further fine-tune process control and to monitor its fire safety system and oil storage tanks. “The success we saw in the first installations gave us the confidence to go forward,” said Gary Borham, Severstal Wheeling engineering manager. “Now that we’ve used this technology, it’s like anything is at our finger tips if we want it.”

•    Harcros Chemicals Inc. (, in Kansas City, Kansas, monitors valves previously unconnected to the plant’s control system. Unit manager Kevin Root said the Harcros facility has documented numerous benefits from the wireless instrument applications, and total savings were far beyond the direct cost reductions of a “no-wires” installation. “This was about eliminating mistakes and increasing safety,” he said. “Wireless valve position monitoring enabled us to reduce inadvertent emissions and bad batches, as well as avoid the high costs of rework, clean-up and lost material. Eliminating these costs, up to $25,000 per incident, not including fines, is a good thing for our plant.” “Besides applying the Fisher wireless position monitors to more of our manual valves, we are considering Emerson Smart Wireless technology for tank level management, rail-car monitoring and a host of temperature, pressure and flow applications at our Kansas City site,” said Lloyd Hale, director of manufacturing.

•    CalPortland Co. ( used Smart Wireless to comply with air quality emissions requirements at its Colton, Calif., cement plant, despite rotating equipment and harsh conditions. “The rotation, extreme temperature, and the location of the kiln (at 20 to 40 feet above grade), made using a wired solution impractical,” said Steve Tyrrell, CalPortland senior electrical supervisor. “With a rotary kiln, the continued addition of process variable instrumentation to optimize the control strategy becomes overwhelming.  The wireless option allowed for movement of the process indicators to various positions on the kiln for development of the control strategy,” continued Tyrrell. “Minimal maintenance of the wireless option also ensures reliability of the process signals for greater process control. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to apply wireless.”

Also at the Exchange, Emerson Process Management and Meridium Inc. (, Roanoke, Va., announced a partnership to deliver enhanced asset management capabilities by combining Emerson’s PlantWeb predictive intelligence with Meridium’s advanced analytics and decision support technology.

AMS Suite: Asset Portal v4.0 powered by Meridium is the new product providing integration in real-time to other AMS Suite applications to link asset diagnostics with business metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Built upon Meridium’s Asset Performance Management (APM) Framework, the AMS Asset Portal v4.0 includes pre-defined analysis, views and reports of AMS Suite information. Query, reporting and graphing capabilities enable users to perform custom analysis.

Select Meridium application modules are also available for use with AMS Asset Portal. These options provide advanced metrics and scorecards, management of data collected using handheld devices, and integration with computerized maintenance management systems such as SAP PM and IBM Maximo.

Emerson Process Management

Meridium Inc.

To hear Gary Mintchell’s podcast interview with David Deitz, Director of Product Marketing for Delta V, about the rollout of the new DeltaV version 11, please visit

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