Our journey to Berlin was somewhat disrupted by the vicissitudes of the Irish weather.
Coming out in obvious sympathy to the woes of what will hopefully bring an end to Ireland’s banking debacle, the weather decided to inflict the coldest cold spell for November on record with the resultant delays in flights.
But enough of our travel travails!
Why were we going to Berlin? And what happened when we eventually arrived?
Emerson Process Management organise a press event most years to discuss with members of the Europen press from the steppes of Russia to the rocky west coast of Ireland and the deep fjords of Norway to the level plains of Spain. Last year from the Netherlands we were introduced to their concept and activities under the heading Conquering Complexity. This time with the German capital Berlin as venue, this theme was utilised again, Conquering Complexity 2010. In effect what it presented was an insight into the way Emerson Process Management is engaging this complexity challenge and how the conquest is progressing.
Welcome and Introduction
Update Emerson Europe
The Complexity Challenge
We were welcomed by Bob Sharp, last year’s “new boy” as Emerson’s President in Europe and now well into position. He presented us with a run down of the company and how it is endevouring to be local while harnessing the benefits of global experience. The Emerson presence in Europe was emphasised and indeed was further strengthened by the international character of the presenters and presentations.
He discussed the problems confronting industry the imminent retirement of those with much process experience and the growth in complexity of systems being managed by less experienced and indeed fewer operatives. Last year we saw some of the products being developed with a more human face. The philosophy could be stated:“To drive a car you don’t necessarily need to know what goes on under the bonnet!” Having pioneered the concept in automation they have been investing in this philosophical approach over the last six or seven years and today “human centred design is embedded in our culture.”
One point he emphasised (or maybe we thought he emphasised it!) was that there is only one international industrial wireless standard – the IEC standard which is WirelessHART. We were to hear it again!
#EMReu Background Conquering Complexity 2010
The Project Challenge 1
Proving the economics
First presentations examined the project challenge with practical examples proving the economics and technology of using their Delta V I/O on demand. Here Vince Grindley, of Fluor Supply Chain Solutions, who made a study of the impact of electronic marshalling on the project execution process. The point was that “like the golf swing, projects are all about complexity.” Indeed one could say that complexity as a subject was invented for projects! This particular evaluation was undertaken to capture documentation and present the benefits offered by Delta V electronic marshalling and the impact on the project execution by comparison with a traditional DeltaV v10 engineering approach.
#EMReu Background Projects Part 1 Fluor
The Project Challange 2
Proving the Technology
Frank Jouault is manager of the System Department at the Tavaux (F) plant of Solvay. His presentation was in French, with Emerson’s Wireless Sales Director, Ann Robin, as an able translator who refreshingly knew about the subject and so gave an intelligent and meaningful transmission to the presentation for those whose French was not up to standard. He talked about the company’s experience with CHARMS (CHARacterization ModuleS). His conclusions: They confirmed that the CHARMS to be compatible with all the field devices typically used by Solvay in Tavaux which included many devices from non-Emerson suppliers. He reckoned the “should make some profits” and more convincingly he anticipates they will use CHARM I/O on future projects, And, more tantalisingly maybe use wireless and CHARM I/O in the junction box in the field.
#EMReu Backgrounder Projects Part 2 Solvay
The Operations Challenge
Taking control with wireless
The operations and maintenance side of a plant was the next area under scrutiny. Bob Karischnia, VP of Wireless at Rosemount, discussed the introduction of smart wireless for control applications. We have been familiar with the use of wireless for gathering information but control examples had been somewhat lacking. Wireless has now become the mainstream for monitoring applications in a plethora of installations. Here again the point was emphasised that there is only one internationally recognised standard and that is IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) . They believe that the progression in wireless control will broadly follow the same growth curve as its use in the gathering information. These applications started with the more difficult such as rotating applications and remote sites before advancing into more conventional applications where wireless replaces wired systems. We were told that there were over 1400 sites using this standard technology to gain new insights into processes and assets, with over 200 million hours of operation. He cited the North Star BlueScope Steel as a control application and there are others coming on-line. Emerson offers 14 Smart Wireless products today, with seven more available in 2011
#EMReu Backgrounder Operations & Maintenance
During the coffee break there was the opportunity to see the advances being made in the business of human centred design, especially in the area of plant management ably presented by David Holmes (@texasdave if you use twitter) and Kim Polk (Marketing Comms Manager) both from the great US State of Texas. Through this we were able to assess just how far they have embedded this in the Emerson culture. “We work to understand our customers jobs and their interactions with others in the facility!”
The Plant Management Challenge
Introducing AMS Suite Asset Performance Management
The next session consolidated this with a presentation from Stuart Harris, Emerson’s Vice President and General Manager Asset Optimisation. He was ably abetted by the irrepressible Travis Hesketh, VP Wireless & PlantWeb Europe, who started the session as a plant operative and finished as plant manager, possibly one of the fastest promotions in automation history.
This included a video presentation where a manager and his team have a morning meeting, looking at the plant but unable to really assess things as a co-ordinated whole. This presentation was to expose the conventional reactive decision making process (they called it Darkness)and how that is transformed using their AMS suite to what the call the Predictive which replaces Darkness with Insight. Then, with the help of their partnership with Meridium, on to the Proactive (Clarity Focus).Meridium on to the Proactive (Clarity Focus). Thus from the virtual unknowingness of the “Darkness” the process plant now manager gains first insight which increases reliability and allows the building of a maintenance programme and then through to the proactive which enable sensible and realistic business strategies to be developed. This new enhancement, which they call Asset Performance Management, thus enables management to integrate predictive intelligence with asset reliability information; view real-time analyses and reports of asset health and availability; and create management strategies for reaching new levels of performance.
#EMReu backgrounder Plant Management
Finally there was a question and answer session where the assembled journalists were able to put questions to the speakers and receive answers.
All in all it was a useful meeting and showed the importance of companies not only in explaining what they are doing, their plans for the future but also in showing their philosophy in deciding these plans and concrete examples of where this philosopht or approach is helping the end user.
The event ended with the various press people dispersing to their various home bases with decidedly mixed success depending on the effect of the unusual weather especially in the western islands of Britain and Ireland. Some even had the pleasure of extra overnight stays at the expense of the air line because of airport closures.