Automation market survey!

12/06/2014

Possibly one of the hardest sectors in which to get a complete picture is Automation in any country. The reason is the complexity of the industries and processes which include automation as an important part. Indeed some surveys we have seen seem not to have a even a basic understanding of the discipline.

EU_IR_4321Here in Ireland the baton has been taken up by Simotech a company which does have the requisite extensive experience in all aspects of Automation and Manufacturing Instrument Systems.  It is a comprehensive and well designed questionnaire specifically aimed at automation professionals, either European Union passport holders or those who are licensed to work within the EU.

Pat Desmond, the MD at Simotech, who has himself many years experience at the coal face of automation in Europe and elsewhere, explains, “The last decade has seen major changes in the Automation industry with significant peaks and slumps in the market. General indications are that the industry is experiencing growth again over the past 18 months.”

The why!
The survey objective is to benchmark the state of the Automation industry in Ireland. It plans to be the most comprehensive insight into the views of employers, employees and suppliers.

It is hoped to help all in the automation community of practice, employers, employees, and contractors, to understand the current automation marketplace for engineers. It will help to understand career expectations, salary expectations, locations, technical capabilities, and the career paths into automation and migration into more senior positions.

• Engineers: It will help them gauge where they are with their career expectations, salary benchmarking against their peers, business growth forecasts, the most popular locations for engineers and much more.

• Employers: It will help them understand what motivates the automation engineering community, remuneration benchmarks, how to attract the best engineers into the best positions. It will also assess the sentiment for growth across various industry sectors, etc.

The survey should take no more than six minutes and is simple to complete with no open ended written responses required.

Obviously the success of this survey will be dependent on getting a wide spectrum of engineers and employers across all industry sectors, so participants are encourged to share thesurvey link with their colleagues and employees.

Automation Survey!“Your privacy is important to us. We guarantee that no personal or systems information will be recorded as part of this survey,” says Pat Desmond.

Reward
As a Token of our appreciation participants have the option to enter into a draw for an Apple iPad mini on completion of the survey. To enter the draw, simply forward the entry form at the end of the survey and we will send you on the complimentary report when published and enter you into thedraw. We respect corporate giving policies so we will also make a donation to Unicef in lieu of those who do not wish to enter the draw.


Remote monitors track river restoration success

10/05/2013
Remote monitoring of restoration work on beautiful English river using advanced sensing and telemetry technology.

Possibly one of the most unique areas of England is East Anglia; that part of the country north of London and south of the inlet known as the Wash. It encompasses the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, and is generally flat, stretching to the famous Broads, beloved of inland sailors and wildlife lovers. Water is an ever-present feature and this needs to be protected for environmental and biodiversity reasons.

The Norfolk Rivers Trust has installed a remote river monitoring station that has been tracking water quality and flow before and after river restoration work at an area of ecological importance on the River Nar (WIKI link!).

Picturesque view of the River Nar below Castle Acre! (Pic: Norfolk Rivers Trust)

Picturesque view of the River Nar below Castle Acre! (Pic: Norfolk Rivers Trust)

Rising in chalk hills to the east of the village of Tittleshall, the river flows south for 2.5 km until it reaches Mileham, then predominately west for 39.5 km through the villages of Litcham, Castle Acre, West Acre and Narborough until it reaches the tidal Ouse at King’s Lynn. The river rises on chalk and in its course to Narborough flows over chalk formations. In its lower course the underlying geology is more complex and consists of a progression from Narborough downstream through a series of clays and greensands, making it one of only a few remaining fenland chalk streams. In line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, the project is designed to ensure that the Nar maintains good ecological status by 2015 and in doing so it aims to improve the habitat for wildlife and promote biodiversity. The river monitoring station incorporates an Adcon GPRS telemetry unit from OTT Hydrometry, which automatically collects data and feeds a website, providing easy access for the project team.

The Problem
Agricultural runoff is a particular problem in the Anglian region because of the light sandy soils which are easily eroded during times of heavy rainfall. Fertilisers can add to the problem because they can be washed from the field and end up in water courses. As a result, many Norfolk Rivers contain high levels of nitrate and phosphate. Excessive levels of these nutrients can lead to eutrophication, symptoms of this can include vigorous growth of blanket weed; this change in water quality lowers dissolved oxygen levels in the streams and rivers, and harms wildlife.

In the past, the Nar channel has been made straighter, wider and deeper; initially to improve navigation, and later to improve drainage. However, this has had a detrimental effect on wildlife.

The River Nar also suffers from sediment deposition arising from point sources such as land drains, and from diffuse sources such as run-off resulting from cultivation in wet periods. This has affected species that rely on gravel beds for any stage in their lifecycle. For example, brown trout need sediment free gravel to lay their eggs.

The River Nar Project
Assisted by funds from WWF-UK, the Coca-Cola Partnership and the Catchment Restoration Fund, the Norfolk Rivers Trust has established a £609k  (€720k) river and flood plain restoration project to reduce pollution in the River Nar and improve the habitat for wildlife.

The project began in June 2012 and includes work to change the course of the river from a straight incised channel to a meandering route; reconnecting the river to the floodplain, which would create new habitats. This channel restoration project was completed in October 2012. The project also includes the creation of reed beds and other in-ditch options to trap sediment before it enters the River Nar. Currently four reed beds have been installed in different areas in the River Nar catchment which also includes the dredging of an existing pond.

Monitoring
Prior to the commencement of the project, the Norfolk Rivers Trust measured water quality by collecting weekly samples and transferring them to their laboratory for analysis. This was a time-consuming and expensive activity and only produced spot data for the moment that a sample was taken. Consequently, events that took place at night or between the sampling interval were not detected, so there were clear advantages to be obtained from continuous monitoring.

In order to establish a continuous monitoring station for water quality and flow, OTT Hydrometry provided a Hydrolab Minisonde water quality monitor and an Adcon A755 Remote Telemetry Unit (RTU). In combination with a bed mounted Doppler flow meter (provided by the Environment Agency), the station is able to provide a continuous record of the river’s condition.

narOTTThe Hydrolab Minisonde 5 takes measurements for turbidity, flow, conductivity, temperature and luminescent dissolved oxygen (LDO) every 15 minutes. The collected flow and water chemistry data is then stored and transmitted every hour via the RTU to an online server hosted by OTT Hydrometry. This allows information to be downloaded and analysed in the Trust’s office without the need for regular site visits. Data can be accessed at anytime from anywhere using the Adcon app.

Operating on extremely low power, and designed specifically for the collection and transmission of remote monitoring data, ADCON RTUs are able to utilise a variety of communication methods depending on site conditions. For example, radio represents a low-cost alternative in areas with poor GSM coverage and where line of sight is possible, with repeaters if necessary.

The monitoring site on the Nar has some GSM coverage, but the signal is poor, so an ADCON A755 RTU was chosen to communicate via GPRS. The A755 RTU has been developed specifically for areas with low signal, because it stores all monitoring data when signal strength is too low for transmission, and then sends the information when signal coverage improves, sending the backed up data first.

The monitoring equipment was installed at the end of July 2012 and restoration work began on 8th October 2012. Emphasising the importance of monitoring before and after the restoration work, project officer Helen Mandley says: “To be able to judge the success of the project it is essential that we are able to compare water quality data from the old river channel to the new river channel, because we need to improve water quality in order to improve the biodiversity of the river.”

Results
In addition to water quality and flow monitoring, ecological assessments have been undertaken for water voles and other small mammals, macrophytes, aquatic invertebrates, vegetation and fish. However, before a reliable assessment of the project’s success can be undertaken, it will be necessary to evaluate data over an extended period so that seasonal effects can be taken into consideration.

Pre- and post-restoration data on ecology, water quality and flow will be assessed in September 2013, and it is hoped that this will provide clear evidence that the project has had a significant effect on water quality and biodiversity.

Helen hopes to continue the project beyond 2013 commenting, “We currently monitor downstream of one of the new reed beds, but in the future we would like to place more monitoring equipment upstream of the reed bed to really see the differences, particularly in levels of turbidity and conductivity.”

The current phase of the project is due to run until the end of 2013, but a series of ‘restoration units’ have been identified by The River Nar Steering group that includes the Norfolk Rivers Trust, each applying restorative work to a specific section of the river. These units extend to 2027 but will be reliant on the availability of future funding.

Clearly, environmental monitoring is essential for the evaluation and ongoing management of remediation projects, and OTT’s UK Managing Director Simon Wills says: “This project is a good example of how simple and low-cost it can now be to create a monitoring station that is sufficiently flexible to collect and transmit data from a variety of monitors. “Advances in sensor, datalogging, communications and power management technology have combined to dramatically improve the effectiveness of remote data collection, which means that less site visits are necessary; thereby saving a great deal of time and money that can be spent on restoration.


Advanced metering market

24/01/2013
Advanced Metering Infrastructure Market to Grow at Fast Rate, States Frost & Sullivan. Revenues expected to triple – Massive opportunities for communication systems and network, meter data management (MDM), customer and programme data management

SmartMetersLegislation and standardisation are set to catalyse the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) market in Europe. Market participants are working towards standardisation and fulfilling regulatory requirements for the development of smart meters and AMI to begin mass rollouts. In Ireland we are faced with metering of domestic water supply in the short term future for instance.

New analysis from Frost & SullivanEuropean Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Market, finds that the AMI revenue in Europe is expected to grow from €85m ($1.13b) in 2011 to €2.8b ($3.72b) in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9%. The research covers smart meters, installation, communication systems and network, meter data management (MDM) and customer and programme data management.

“Emerging smart grid technologies, which support enhanced energy management, will boost the installation of AMI in Europe,” noted Frost & Sullivan Energy & Power Supplies Research Analyst Neha Vikash. “The market is expected to witness higher growth not only in smart meters and the installation segments, but also in communications networks, MDM, customer and programme data management segments as well.” Most companies in the AMI space are not just the hardware (meter) providers. They combine them with important services and appropriate functionalities in communication infrastructure and data management. These are the key technologies for the deployment of innovative solutions. Installation of hardware does not generate a constant stream of revenue.

Despite its obvious benefits, smart meter implementation reveals regional disparities. Market growth has been faster in Western and Northern Europe. The lack of regulatory drive and utility implementations has affected installation rates in Central and Eastern Europe. It is expected that the smart metering activity in the CEE region will follow the Western European knowledge wave and experience. “It is also expected that once large scale roll out activity begins in Central and Eastern Europe, the pace of implementation will be faster compared to that of Western Europe,” concluded Vikash. “Regulatory approval, along with increased competition, aging infrastructure, and new technology will continue to drive investments in advanced metering and intelligent grid technologies.”

Nevertheless, EU member states that lack the regulatory push for deployment will experience large-scale implementation after 2015, as they have to comply with the EU’s Third Energy Directive, or pay a high penalty fee.

“AMI is an important step towards achieving the EU 20-20-20 goal which states that by 2020, 80 per cent of households must have smart meters and complete rollout achieved by 2022,” elaborated Vikash. “Government mandates will, therefore, be a key driver for AMI deployment.”

In addition to legislation, the lack of communication standards and security issues also play a major role in determining market prospects. In fact, data security is an issue among all member states, but it is of higher importance in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. This has resulted in a delay in smart meter roll out plans by utilities.

“Standardisation is likely to affect future smart meter sales, development and innovation,” concluded Vikash. “Meters complying with security requirements as per the standardisation mandate as well as satisfying regional legislative security requirements are likely to encourage customers to adopt smart meters.”


#EMrex: Automation returns to Düsseldorf!

04/06/2012
Emerson’s first Global Users Exchange (#EMRex) in Europe was a three-day event for existing and potential users of Emerson Process Management products and services. The event was held from 29-31 May 2012 in Düsseldorf (D).

Automation on the Rhine!

Düsseldorf was for many years the Mecca for Automation professionals and afficianados. The memories of those of a certain age will recall with pleasure the visits to the incomparable Interkama and the perhaps even more memorable visits to the Altstadt in the evenings. Its takeover and subsequent submersion in the huge Hannover Meße ended this relationship with the city on the Rhine.

Over 1000 delegates from over 40 countries attended the European Exchange and the format was similar to the Emerson Global Users Exchange  held in Nashville, USA last October (2011). The event included General Sessions, Presentations, Industry Forums, Product and Services Roadmaps, Meet the Experts Sessions and a Solutions Exhibition.

The content was tailored to meet the needs of users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and delegates could learn about best practices and see how colleagues are meeting new regulatory requirements, increasing yields, improving efficiency and reducing costs with enhanced automation. All of the content was in English, but with some presentations simultaneously translated into German and/or Russian.

Shaped by users, for users – the Emerson Global Users Exchange is managed by a Board of Directors, comprising users from a range of industries, who shape the conference content and guide the direction of the users group at large.

For tweeters!

Jim Cahill, Emerson Blogger & Eoin Ó Riain, Read-out Signpost

Those following Emerson tweets (#EMrex) or on facebook had the opportunity to meet Emerson’s blogger extraordanaire, Jim Cahill. He was inviting delegates to “come join the Emerson Exchange 365 Community.” It is an interesting fact that people who contact through the Social Web even if they have never met face to face are immediatly friends without needing to go through the ackward introductory phase. We were delighted to meet Jim and there was a picture take because as Jim said “Unless there is a picture nothing has happened!” (Read what Jim has to say: Recap from Emerson Exchange Düsseldorf!)

General Sessions
The opening general session on Tuesday includes a welcome from Ali H. Alawadhi, Emerson Exchange Board of Directors, Kuwait National Petroleum Company and Member of the ISA Kuwait Section. He emphasised that this was “by users, for users.”  Emerson’s European President Bob Sharp and Steve Sonnenberg, Executive Vice President, Emerson and Business Leader, Emerson Process Management also spoke. Sonnenberg included users as “shareholders” in the company and the importance of their communicating with these shareholders. They continued to invest in people, local support and technology for customers in spite of the Global recession.

Ali Alawadhi welcomes delegates!

The guest speaker for this session was Euan Semple,  a leading authority on the impact of the social web on the world of work. He presented a very stimulating discussion based partly on his experience in the BBC. Participation in the Social Web (He eshews the term “Social Media”) benefits those who participate. His statement that “We need more rubbish on the internet to improve the signal to noise level” excited much comment. Take a look at his website. Somebody tweeted during his talk declaring he was “one of the good guys!”

Because of the press conference we missed the keynote by David Beckman on the Wednesday however he had a wonderful session later with standing room only when he presented “Nail a speech – Launch a Career!” This 90 minute (twice the length of the usual presentations) was peppered with examples of excellent speeches for analysis including that of the late Steve Jobs to Stanford. Beckman’s presentation struck many chords  especially for those hoping to “stop death by power point.” He stressed the importance of being able to present: “As soon as you move one step up from the bottom your progress depends of how you make a speech!”

 Press Releases

• Strategic account management award!
• Gas distallation plant saves €1.2m per annum!
• Smart wireless improves power plant availability & efficiency
• Addressing process manufacturing safety
• Digital overspeed protection for rotating machinery
• Minimising safety loop vulnerabilities in valve controllers
• Reducing complexity in safety instrumented system installation & operation
• Automation technology & services for North Sea oil production
• Users’ share knowledge!

Other publications and/or participnts

Emerson adds CHARMS to DeltaV SIS (Nick Denbow IAI 5/6/2012)

Thinking of change at Emerson Exchange – Duesseldorf (Mynah 6/6/2012)

1000 delegates experience “by users, for users” event! (Emerson Process Management 6/7/2012)

Emerson’s hails first European users exchange a success (Brian Tinham, Plant Engineer, 9/7/2012)

Press Conferences
The Emerson press conferences were launches of new products making the business case for safety. Introduced by Jim Nyquist, President, Systems & Solutions. The theme was improving safety through the lifecycle.

The product presentations were:
First reducing complexity in safety instrumented system installation & operation where Peter Zornio, (Chief Strategic Officer) launched the DeltaV™ SIS logic which uses Emerson’s CHARM I/O technology.

Treve Tagg, Manager Final Control Elements spoke on minimising safety loop vulnerabilities with the Fisher® FIELDVUE™ SIS Digital Valve Controller.

Bjoern Salomon, General Manager, Machinery Health talked on digital overspeed protection  for rotating machinery on improving operational integrity of safety systems., introducing the CSI 6300 SIS Digital Overspeed Protection System.

The press conference concluded with an update on where the company is going with Wireless including an presentation on the use of wireless acoustic monitoring technology in a power station.

These and other releases are listed in the box on the left.

Presentations
Over 100 presentations covered a wide spectrum of industry and technology-specific topics. Significantly, over 80% of these were from customers, keen to share their experiences. Delegates could attend a presentation track dedicated to a single subject, select presentations by customers’ in their own industry, or choose individual presentations to build a personalised conference curriculum.
The presentations were divided into tracks covering:
• Business Management & Cyber Security
• Control System Applications & Migrations
• Energy Management
• Instrumentation & Valve Applications
• Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation
• Operate Safely & Legally
• Process Optimisation
• Project Excellence
• Wireless Applications

Excellent calibration
One of these presentations was a fascinating exposé on calibartion in the Cork (IRL) facility of GlaxoSmithKline. Alan Gray of GSK described the project for an innovative, integrated PlantWeb asset and calibration management which went live in 2010. It was described as an Intelligent Application of Smart Technology which improves business results. It was the result of co-operation between Emerson, Beamex and GSK in an award winning project. There was a demonstration of the interaction between the various components in this calibration excellence programme which achieved significent improvements in the opearion of the business and the management of regulatory complience. More details on this application in our story  Co-operation gives advanced calibration and asset management package (22/6/2012).

Industry Forums
Six industry forums took place on the second morning allowed open discussion between conference delegates and a panel of experienced professionals. The industries covered being: Oil & Gas, Refining & Petrochemical, Chemical, Power, Life Sciences and Engineering.

Peter Zornio, EPM, Peter Iles-Smith GSK, Leif Poulsen NNE Pharamaplan, Ian Allen Novartus at Life Sciences Forum.

Each forum compromised short presentations followed by questions from the audience. For instance the Life Sciences Industry Forum helped us to learn and exchange information related to industry issues and trends, and the impact of these on the manufacturing environment . The forum discussed the future of automation within the Life Sciences industry with an emphasis on Skills and people development, Integration of IT and Automation/MES, Simplification of project implementation, and security. There was much discussion on attracting new blood as the industry becomes more complex and the experience of operatives diminishes as the older members of staff retire.

Roadmaps – Watch this space!
Eight roadmap sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday provided detailed information on products, services and enhancements that Emerson hoped to release in the coming months, along with insights into the strategy and technology guiding future solutions.

Meet the Experts
Concluding the conference on the final afternoon were two practical working sessions focused on the issues that process operations face and solutions that can be applied. Delegates could learn from and consult with the “experts behind the technologies” who led two separate in-depth sessions about Emerson’s DeltaV™ automation system and Ovation™ Expert Control System.

Solutions Exhibition
The Solutions Exhibition provided a unique opportunity to see Emerson’s newest and most innovative technologies – all in one airy hall. Delegates met with the experts behind the technologies and experience live, hands-on demonstrations of Emerson’s PlantWeb™ architecture and their products and solutions, as well as solutions from complementary companies and strategic partners.

The exhibition area was split into two with the main Emerson area covering the Solutions areas and Industry Applications while the overlooking balcony was reserved for complementary companies and strategic partners.

Packed floor at the Solutions Expo at Emerson Global Users Exchange

All in all it was a very well organised and thought out event with lots of information and ample opportunity for interactive networking.

• The Emerson Exchange Düsseldorf team has done a great job of gathering and posting pictures from the Event.  There are over 170 pictures in the library. This is a link to the slideshow.

• And the good news is that they intend to do it all again, this time for the Americans in Anaheim  – 8/12 October 2012 EMrex for the Americas. And they are accepting registrations already!

Revival of market growth for the European positive displacement pumps market

05/11/2010

The demand for various types of positive displacement pumps in Europe is expected to witness an apparent increase due to re-initiated many industry projects in the regions recovering from the economic slump. Although, the financial crisis affected most of the end-user sectors across Europe, the demand from them has been sustained through government-aided stimulus packages.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the European Positive Displacement Pumps Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $1,731.6 million (€1,219.72m) in 2009 and estimates this to reach $2,050.3 million (€1,443.68m) in 2016. The products covered in this research service are rotary pumps, reciprocating pumps and peristaltic pumps.

“The maintenance, operating and energy costs of pumps contribute towards a major share of the total life cycle costs, impelling customers to shift their focus on products that offer better energy savings and longer a life cycle advantage,” says their Research Analyst Ram Ravi. “Furthermore, the increased demand from the Eastern European EU countries is expected to attract investments across end-user sectors.”

The prevailing scepticism on customer spending due to the economic recession is expected to increase the emphasis on life cycle and energy costs. Key issues to be addressed in these regions include enhancing waste management, water quality and hygiene standard.

However, competition in this market is likely to be fierce. Traditionally, European pump manufacturers have faced stiff competition from their Asian counterparts. The imposition of stringent regulations also ensures high product quality in Asia. However, there are more growth opportunities in the price-sensitive Eastern European markets.

“The recent economic slowdown has resulted in a shortage of investments across end users,” explains Ravi. “With existing projects being delayed or cancelled due to decline in capital expenditure, equipment suppliers have been facing a decline in demand and the end users are shifting their manufacturing base to low-cost nations.”

Pump suppliers should augment their market penetration in the regional markets with strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Additionally, suppliers should focus on expanding their product and service offerings to cater as a one-stop shop to their customers.

“Intelligent pumps and services offer long-term potential,” concludes Ravi. “Greater awareness results in enhanced adoption among end-users.”

Strategic Analysis of the European Positive Displacement Pumps Market is part of the Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Strategic Analysis of Pumps Market in European Oil and Gas Industry, European Metering Pumps Market, North American Metering Pumps Market, and Strategic Analysis of World Centrifugal Pumps. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.


WFD dictates need for holistic monitoring strategy

17/08/2010

The European Water Framework Directive and recent technological developments are radically changing the ways in which water resources are monitored. Robin Guy, OTT Hydrometry’s Senior Technical Engineer explains.

Background
The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to promote sustainable water use and to protect water resources. This relates to surface and ground water quantity, quality and ecological status and takes into consideration the likely impacts of climate change.

As a result, a holistic approach to the protection of water resources has developed – Integrated Catchment Management (ICM). This aims to protect water resources at source by avoiding diffuse and point source pollution, by minimising incidents of unconstrained flooding and drought, and by enhancing biodiversity.

A catchment is defined as the land area from which all water drains to a single watercourse. Consequently, the management of catchments necessitates a clear understanding of the complex relationships between land, air and water.

New approach to monitoring
In order to be able to meet the objectives of the WFD it has become necessary to adopt a different approach. The complete hydrological cycle for a catchment must be monitored, which means that it is now necessary to monitor precipitation, surface water, groundwater, soil moisture, vegetation levels and other factors such as land use. A need has also arisen to move away from spot measurements to continuous or semi-continuous monitoring.

Robin Guy

OTT Monitoring System

In-situ monitoring
In the past, remote locations have been problematic because of a lack of power and the time and cost associated with site visits. However, technological advances in recent years have resulted in a far greater proportion of monitoring data being collected automatically in the field and transferred remotely; this has coincided with a greater requirement for field data as a result of the WFD.

Low power stand alone dataloggers are able to store many thousands of records without the need for mains power – and where a continuous power supply is required this can often be provided by a solar or wind powered charger.

Communication technology has advanced beyond all recognition in recent years. As a result, a choice of highly effective and reliable wireless communications options exist, most of which are relatively low in cost and power requirement. These include GPRS, SMS, radio and satellite.

Sensor technology has also advanced to support the move to remote monitoring. Sensors are now more accurate, more reliable, less prone to drift and consequently require less frequent service and/or calibration. For example, in 1662 Sir Christopher Wren invented the first tipping bucket raingauge and this technology became the standard methodology throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries – an astonishing achievement! However, in the early part of the 21st century a new technology emerged to replace Sir Christopher’s which was able to remain accurate during intense rainfall, to require less maintenance and to provide precise data on rainfall intensity. The new device, known as ‘OTT Pluvio’ employs a weighing measuring principle and is able to operate unattended in remote locations for long periods of time.

Many national rainfall monitoring authorities around the world are moving over to the newer technology. However, it is interesting to note that tipping bucket raingauges remain popular in many countries because of a requirement for direct comparability with historical data. Inevitably, under-reading of rainfall during high intensity precipitation will continue where this is the case.

Field water quality
Historically water quality measurements in remote locations have been undertaken with spot measurements using portable instruments and kits or by taking samples to a laboratory for in-depth analysis. However, here too, sensor technology has advanced considerably and it is now possible for multiparameter water quality monitors to log an array of water quality parameters almost continuously for several weeks without any requirement for maintenance or recalibration. Automatic water samplers have also enhanced monitoring capability, by taking water samples at pre-set intervals and storing them for subsequent analysis. The latest samplers can be activated by changes in local preset parameters, for example breeches of flow or level thresholds signifying a major event, thereby enhancing our understanding of water quality changes with variable flow regimes.

Continuous live data
The ability to monitor a catchment continuously means that the pollution prevention and hydrological objectives of the WFD are more easily met. Continuous monitoring enables the rapid detection of point source pollution and provides an opportunity to take remedial action before serious damage occurs. Similarly, if water level or flow data reaches pre-set low or high alarms, it becomes possible to minimise the effects of flooding and drought. The provision of real time data also assists resource management ensuring that underperforming or faulty sites can be targeted and rectified immediately, not only improving data quality but also helping in the continuous drive for efficiencies.

One of the key advantages of continuous monitoring over spot data, is that it records peaks and troughs, providing much greater insight into the cause and effects of changes in a catchment. Continuous long-term data also enables more accurate identification of diffuse pollution.

New communications technologies combined with continuous monitoring also offer important advantages for stakeholders because it is now possible to display ‘live’ data on a website for the benefit of land owners, regulators, planners, developers, local residents etc. This approach was recently adopted at a major housing development in Waterlooville, Hampshire (GB).

The proposed housing scheme included the building of 2550 homes, which would have a large potential effect on local drainage and flooding. However, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) have been established to try and mitigate against any potential for flooding by creating a network of ponds and swales.  OTT Hydrometry has installed a number of water level, flow and rainfall monitors at the site to provide continuous performance data for all stakeholders. The main objective is to ensure that the development at Waterlooville will not increase the risk of flooding, affect the water quality or harm the ecology of the receiving watercourses. The data is then posted to a live website to achieve community engagement through transparent and open data collection. The developers are endeavouring to show that through the measures they have put in place localised flooding will not only be mitigated but also reduced, where possible.

Studying the effects of land management practices
The new holistic approach to monitoring has been adopted within a British Dept of  Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) funded project on the outskirts of Exmoor National Park, near Bristol, in South West England. The project has been designed to study the effects of different land management practices particularly with respect to flooding and water quality. It is anticipated that the results of this trial will inform future land management and help to develop flood risk models for the area. In addition, the monitoring regime will demonstrate best practice for compliance with the requirements of the WFD.

Penny Anderson Associates (PAA) are managing the project which has established a catchment-wide monitoring network consisting of the latest OTT instruments such as water level monitors, doppler water velocity meters and automatic raingauges. PAA are conducting flow gaugings at selected locations in order to develop site specific ratings, thereby allowing the generation of continuous flow data through the conversion of measured level data. In addition, Exeter University (GB) has installed water samplers that are activated by level sensors and will operate automatically at pre-defined river levels.

The project will showcase different communication methods including GSM and radio. However, satellite communication may be installed at one site for which radio and GSM are not applicable.

Peter Worrall, Technical Director at PAA says, “The establishment of the OTT monitoring network will enable us to establish accurate baseline data so that we can study the effects of agricultural practices such as stocking density and buffer strips.”

Looking forward
The Waterlooville and Exmoor projects are good examples of the new WFD prompted approach to monitoring. However, the new catchment monitoring requirements, coupled with recent technological advances, will result in the generation of much greater volumes of data. It is important to note, therefore, that data will only contribute to the catchment management plan if it is representative and interpreted correctly, so a level of expertise is often necessary when establishing and managing a monitoring network.

See also Regulations drive automation in W&W in Europe published May 2010


European wireless standard approved

24/07/2010

The HART® Communication Foundation has announced that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has approved the WirelessHART® specification as a European National Standard (EN 62591). CEN released the standard to CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, whose members are the national electrotechnical committees of 31 European countries. CENELEC approved the WirelessHART European Standard on 01 June 2010.

European Committee for Standardization“In March, the WirelessHART specification was approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission as a full international standard (IEC 62591Ed. 1.0),” – see our story “First international standard for wireless” – says Ron Helson, Executive Director of the HART Communication Foundation. “Approval as a European National Standard further confirms acceptance of the technology by users and suppliers as a technically sound, reliable and secure solution for wireless communication in process automation.”

The IEC Standard was approved by CENELEC as a European Standard without any modification. According to the announcement of approval issued by CENELEC, “members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this European Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration”.

A growing number of WirelessHART compatible products are available today from major global suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Nivis, Phoenix Contact, Pepperl+Fuchs, Siemens and others.

Released in September 2007, WirelessHART is an open and interoperable wireless communication standard designed to address the critical needs of industry for reliable, robust and secure wireless communication in real-time industrial process measurement and control applications.

WirelessHART is a backward compatible, evolutionary enhancement to the HART Communication Protocol, the leading communication technology for intelligent process measurement and control field devices and systems with more than 30 million devices installed and operating in process plant applications around the globe.

The CEN was founded in 1961. Its 30 national members work together to develop European Standards (ENs) in various sectors to build a European internal market for goods and services and to position Europe in the global economy. CENELEC is a non-profit technical organization set up under Belgian law. CENELEC members have been working together in the interests of European harmonization since the 1950s, creating both standards requested by the market and harmonized standards in support of European legislation.


Plant maintenance and safety

20/07/2010

Worker health and safety threatened by plant maintenance failures
Europe-wide safe maintenance campaign officially launched

Dr Jukka Takala

Launching the Campaign at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, Dr Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA, alongside the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Mr László Andor, outlined the campaign’s objectives and the basic rules for safe maintenance as a key contribution to healthy workplaces.
Mr Andor giving his backing to the Campaign, said: “Maintenance is a daily part of every workplace and sector. The 20% of accidents currently linked to maintenance is too high and shows it’s an area where we have to raise awareness and step up our efforts”. He added: “Our overall strategy is to cut work-related accidents in the EU by 25% over the coming years. This campaign will help to raise awareness about maintenance-related risks, saving lives across Europe and bringing us closer to our overall goal for safer and healthier workplaces”.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its new Healthy Workplaces Campaign for 2010/11, promoting safe maintenance across Europe. In some European countries as much as 20% of all workplace accidents are connected with maintenance and in a number of sectors over half of all accidents are maintenance-related.

A Challenge to  industry – do you know whether your maintenance is being carried out properly?
Good plant maintenance is essential to prevent workplace risks, but can be itself a high risk activity for the workers that carry it out.

It is estimated that in Europe 10-15% of fatal accidents at work can be attributed to poorly executed maintenance operations. It is vital therefore, that maintenance is carried out properly, taking into consideration workers’ safety and health. To do this, companies need to understand and measure their Maintenance and Asset Management Performance.

MCP’s AMIS auditing and benchmarking service has been used by over 4000 sites worldwide to measure maintenance performance, taking into account areas such as:

>      Equipment Condition

>      Workload Planning and Control

>      Productivity and Maintenance Effectiveness

>      Training and Safety

>      Motivation, Culture and People Management.

The AMIS programme assesses your systems and procedures, in particularly your Health, Safety and Environment process to ensure Best Practice in Health and Safety.

At a company level, the Board of Directors is required to demonstrate their responsibility for the assets and ensure a safe working environment, commensurate with generating the required return on investment.  The AMIS best practice programme helps companies meet these requirements by:

>      Defining consistent ways of working

>      Ensuring a process for effective management providing the basis for driving increased return on investment

>      Providing a link and support framework for effective Lean Manufacturing application.

Do you know whether your workforce is competent and sufficiently trained to maintain and operate your equipment?
Achieving the highest standard in equipment maintenance is all well and good, but even well maintained machines can still be hazardous to a badly trained operator and it goes without saying that competent technicians and operators are a prerequisite for good business.

Competence is linked to safety and plant efficiency.  Section 2 of the British Health and Safety at Work Act requires all employers `to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all his/her employees’.  Section 3 extends this to non employees. (See British Health and Safety Executive site.)

In order to do this, an employer must understand the legal duties facing him/her, and keep up to date with any changes.  Section 2 also requires employers `to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable the H & S at work of all employees.’

The IMechE published an article in April 09 on the need for managers to protect themselves with respect to corporate manslaughter, with more cases now being brought against individuals.  If there is not enough evidence for a corporate manslaughter charge, the HSE focuses on getting a conviction under section 37 of HSW Act which applies to individuals.

MCP has researched over 350 companies to understand their approach to maintenance related training, and their findings show that many organisations still have some way to go to improve performance in the provision of effective training.

To ensure safe and productive operation of equipment requires operators to be fully competent in the operation of the equipment.  All too often training is based on the ‘watch Nelly approach’ or initial training is not followed up with checks to ensure the standard operating procedures are being adhered. It is also a common practice to transfer operators to equipment on which they have not being trained when staff shortages occur.

MCP’s Research highlights include:

>      Only 16% of companies have provided their staff with formal training in maintenance management techniques.

>      Only 18% of companies reported that all their plant operators were fully trained and competent to operate the production equipment.

Adopting a structured approach to training that provides the right training at the right time can not only prevent safety risks, it can also improve equipment performance and plant efficiency.

Poorly managed maintenance activities and procedures raise the risks of workplace accidents, including fatal accidents, involving workers at all levels across a wide range of industries. In one of the worst incidents of its kind in Europe, the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988 saw the North Sea oil and gas platform turned into a blazing inferno within seconds, killing 167 workers – a tragic example of the potential consequences of inadequate maintenance procedures.


Regulations drive automation in W&W in Europe

20/05/2010

The European water and wastewater (W&WW) sector has been offering sustainable opportunities for the automation and control solutions (ACS) market mainly due to supportive legislation. Stringent regulations and intervention from private participants have paved the way for prospective growth opportunities for ACS in the European W&WW sector. Additionally, investments from the developing economies of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) regions contribute to building more automated plants in Europe.

Gloine uisce

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of Automation and Control Solutions in European Water and Wastewater Sector, finds that the market earned revenues of $623.3 (€500+)  million in 2009, and estimates this to reach $825.5 (€670+) million in 2016. The markets covered in this research service by product type are programmable logic controller (PLC), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), disturbed control system (DCS), human machine interface (HMI), manufacturing execution systems (MES) and industrial asset management (IAM).

The majority of Europe has poor networking with regard to water distribution and wastewater treatment. EU directives such as the Water Frame Work Directive, Drinking Water Directive and Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive are the main political drivers that have catalysed strong opportunities for treatment techniques such as membrane bio-reactor (MBR), ozone and ultraviolet (UV).

“European Union’s directives are the major driver for the growth of automation and control systems across the water and wastewater sector, mandating the European countries to comply,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk. “The primary focus of the regulations is to enhance the water and the wastewater infrastructure in order to concentrate on incorporating the ACS system to completely automate the plant, help in continually tracking several production processes, and also effectively control and maintain various plant operations.”

The accession countries face the impact of EU regulations the most due to the timeframe within which they have to transpose the directives into actions. Regions such as Eastern Europe, but also others like Iberia, parts of Italy, and Benelux are undertaking large-scale implementation of water treatment plants. Significantly, European Union is funding the new member states from the CEE region to improve their W&WW infrastructure through the cohesion fund mechanism, leading to a plethora of design, build and operate (DBO) opportunities. All these initiatives are likely to spur growth of the European ACS market for the W&WW industry.

However, a key challenge faced by ACS manufacturers is the need to provide systems that seamlessly integrate with the existing plant infrastructure.

“The end users are conservative when it comes to revamping the existing systems in order to incorporate latest automation and control solutions,” explains Owczarczyk. “Integration issues along with the cost involved in revamping make the end users reluctant, and consequently either prohibiting or delaying the implementation of newer automation and control solutions.”

“Manufacturers should reassure customers about their products’ compatibility and urge them to adapt to the new systems,” he concludes. “Besides providing automation systems that are compatible with the existing plant set-up, suppliers can also retain the cost and engineering inputs from the earlier set-up.”


“New government bodes well for British!”

18/05/2010

David Frigsted on CNBC

“The change in the UK government looks very good for the UK economy. Getting spending under control is a fundamental requirement for a healthy business economy. At the same time, the support for innovation and entrepreneurship is very important to take advantage of the next economic boom which will be centred on innovation and smart technologies”. David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan, was on CNBC Monday morning at 11.45 am.

Mr Frigstad appeared on CNBC’s business news programme “Strictly Money” where he highlighted a strategic point of view for industries and sectors to grow in light of today’s economic climate.

His current visit to Britain is for Frost & Sullivan’s 2010 Global Growth, Innovation and Leadership Congress – ‘GIL 2010: Europe’ starting on the evening of Monday 17 May 2010, at the Emirates Stadium in London and will continue through Wednesday. On Tuesday his keynote speech will focus on Developing a Visionary Perspective on Growth. Complimenting Frigstad’s outlook on the economy will be Holger Schmieding, Chief Economist – Europe with Bank of America / Merrill Lynch whose keynote presentation – Eye on the Economy: Can the upswing get stronger? - will also be delivered to GIL 2010 participants on Tuesday.

“Historically the UK economy has always been driven by innovation,” explains Mr Frigstad. “There is an unprecedented opportunity for the UK to develop centres of excellence for smart technologies such as electric vehicles, renewable energy battery technologies, green chemicals and innovation in Healthcare. What we find particularly exciting about the next era of innovation is that it is totally focused on planet health. We must realise that leveraging innovation as a resource is the best way to address global challenge”.

The focus of this year’s event in London is on leveraging innovation as a resource to help shape a better future for our companies and our careers. For three days London will become the hub for CEOs, their teams and industry luminaries of a global community that explores tools and strategies to build a solid growth process. Frost & Sullivan, along with GIL members and a comprehensive alliance of visionaries, innovators and leaders, is and will be engaged in sharing, inspiring and creating a continuous flow of new ideas and fresh perspectives which leverage innovation as a resource to help shape a better future for the growth of our companies and our careers.

“At this week’s event we will be holding industry visionary think tanks which will focus on creating future scenarios for 2020”, concludes Mr Frigstad. “These scenarios will reveal powerful opportunities and unmet needs which can be addressed with innovation. We will be hosting visionaries, innovators and leaders from throughout Europe who will work together to collaboratively develop a new visionary perspective and best practice benchmarks which can be used to drive growth and stimulate the economy”.


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