Yokogawa Acquires ASI, Approves Industrial Firewall

The purchase of Analytical Specialties and the selection of the Tofino cyber security appliance highlight announcements at Houston User Conference.

Industrial automation and controls vendor Yokogawa Corp. of America has established a Laser Analytical Division and acquired Houston-based Analytical Specialties Inc. (ASI) to be that division. Word of the deal came at the at the Yokogawa 2008 Technology Fair & User Conference, April 7-10, hosted by the Newnan, Ga.-based North American subsidiary of Japan’s Yokogawa Electric Corp.

Among other announcements at the Houston event, Yokogawa said it has selected the Tofino Industrial Security Solution as the first industrial firewall for use with Yokogawa’s Centum CS 3000 Production Control System and Stardom Network-based Control Systems. Jointly developed and marketed by British-based MTL Instruments (a part of Cooper Crouse-Hinds) and Byres Security Inc., of Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada, the Tofino is designed specifically for industrial control operations in critical industries such as oil and gas, manufacturing, utilities and power generation.

Yokogawa Corp. of America said it acquired all of the stock of ASI on April 3. The company makes gas analyzers using tunable diode laser spectroscopy (TDLS) technology. The main uses are for measuring oxygen and carbon monoxide concentrations for combustion control, detecting ammonia and hydrochloric acid in exhaust gases and monitoring moisture levels in natural gas pipelines. The company's analyzers are capable of installation into very hot environments.

Big impact

ASI President and now Yokogawa Laser Technology General Manager Trevor Knittel stated that the most exciting thing is not just the TDLS technology, but the ability now to combine with advanced process control to improve control of combustion processes—a huge consumer of energy. Both Knittel and his new boss, Jon Pecchia, general manager of the Yokogawa Analytical Business Unit, predict this technology combination will have a larger impact on process control than did the gas chromatograph. They also stated that the ASI deal is the first Yokogawa acquisition in 10 years.

“To achieve the top position in the global industrial automation market by 2010, Yokogawa has announced its VigilantPlant vision for the ideal plant, and this TDLS technology enhances our VigilantPlant solution portfolio,” said Satoru Kurosu, senior vice president of the Industrial Automation Business at Yokogawa corporate headquarters. “We consider that technologies and products focusing on energy saving and environmental conservation will continue to play an important role. Therefore, we aim to expand our line-up of sensors used in analytical processes, and to enhance our capability to offer solutions over the entire lifecycle of a plant that also address the need for energy saving and environmental conservation."

Defense in depth

Regarding the approval of the Tofino, Yokogawa said the device will give users of Yokogawa’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and process control systems the much-needed ability to deploy “defense-in-depth” security in their plants.

Tofinos are small, industrially-hardened security appliances that are deployed throughout a refinery or industrial plant and centrally managed for a coordinated security approach. Each Tofino security appliance is placed in front of one or more mission-critical control devices, such as the Stardom industrial controller as well as the sub-system interfaces of CS 3000, which run the open industrial protocols, and then tuned to meet the security requirements of those systems. The approval came after months of extensive Yokogawa testing and analysis of the Tofino.

Analytical Specialties Inc.

Byres Security Inc.

MTL Instruments

Yokogawa Corp. of America

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