Wireless Takes Stage at HUG

Citing the benefits of providing process information to plant applications, Honeywell Process Solutions (www.honeywell.com/ps) announced the “OneWireless” strategy at its Honeywell Users Group Americas Symposium June 10-14 in Phoenix.

As an engineering solution to what was once a big wireless divide among process control suppliers, Honeywell unveiled a multi-radio, multi-port wireless access point that also supports multiple industrial protocols and applications simultaneously. Along with this “universal network” strategy, the company announced eventual support for IEEE 802.15.4 mesh network radios when the ISA SP-100 committee publishes its specification. 


Thus Honeywell will support mesh sensor networks, WiFi, frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radio (Honeywell’s current solution) all in one box. The electronics provide for bandwidth control that will give increased security and capacity in a customer’s wireless installation. The company claims the solution is scalable to 30,000 devices. In addition to sensor devices, it also supports mobile worker devices, such as the company’s IntelaTrac PKS and Mobile Station products.

Where are they?

In a release aimed at worker safety, the company also announced and demonstrated for assembled media the Honeywell Instant Location System (HILS). It integrates such identification and location technologies as Ultra-Wideband, Global Positioning Systems, Wi-Fi and active radio frequency identification (RFID) with Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System. Receivers can pinpoint the location of an employee, contractor or piece of equipment bearing a tag and send the information to the HILS server, which directly feeds the information to the operator’s workstation.

Byron Lewis, of the Big Spring, Texas, Alon USA plant, said that his company uses the Honeywell XYR5000 pressure transmitter and gateway base station for data acquisition. He loves the installation. Lewis said it was easy to set up, easy to extend and easy to use, and that the application has helped him a lot.

Jack Bolick, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, used the term “inflection point” in his address to the media during the OneWireless press conference concerning wireless. In a separate interview, Automation World asked Bolick what he meant—and what his vision of a plant after a major wireless installation would be.

First, he said that wireless is the “enabler” of plant optimization. The applications riding atop the wireless (and wired) infrastructure that carries the data will be the game changer. He calls it “data-to-decision.” Bolick likened it to the security firm ADT finding it could vastly expand its available market through wireless sensors in older homes that would be hard to wire, and then finding that it could add more services to its portfolio. In the same way, engineers in process plants will be able to bring in more data points to their applications, said Bolick, and will probably find many new services designed to optimize plant performance.

Finally, Honeywell announced that it is entering the flow meter market. The VersaFlow line is manufactured to Honeywell specifications by Krohne (www.krohne.com), a German company with U.S. headquarters in Peabody, Mass. Available models include an electromagnetic flow meter, ultrasonic flow meter, vortex flow meter and coriolis mass flow meter.


Gary Mintchell

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