Improving Project Efficiency with LEAP

  • July 07, 2014
  • Honeywell Process Solutions
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Honeywell Process Solutions recently introduced a new program called LEAP, which stands for Lean Execution of Automation Projects. Honeywell’s Brendan Sheehan, Senior Marketing Manager, framed the offering as a way to solve project inefficiencies using proven technologies. LEAP changes the way projects are executed and leverages a number of Honeywell hardware and software developments to improve the efficiency of project execution, including virtualization, Experion Universal Process I/O, and cloud engineering.

Cost Overruns

While describing the need for LEAP, Sheehan cited data from the International Journal of Project management. He said, "Seventy percent of projects experience significant overruns of between 10-20%...” Sheehan described how instrumentation and control are not fully finalized until late in project schedules. The startup date is usually fixed. Instrumentation and control details get deferred to the job site, which increases costs, makes testing more difficult, and creates expensive rework.

LEAP Defined

Historically, projects have been sequential - each step starts after the previous step completes. The goal of LEAP is to decouple project elements, enabling project steps to be accomplished in parallel. Core elements of the LEAP program are virtual engineering in the cloud, virtualizing of complete systems, and universal I/O.

By virtualizing systems in the cloud, companies enable global engineering collaboration. Virtualization eliminates the need to purchase duplicate computer and controller hardware at the various geographical engineering locations. Applications are designed and configured (including verification of logic, algorithms, and proper I/O configuration) in a virtual environment without having field hardware. This process removes the dependency between the functional and physical design. Engineering in a secure cloud environment allows experts across the globe to configure and debug logic and algorithms early in the project timeline and lowers travel expenses.

Universal I/O modules feature 32 universal channels per module.  Each channel can be individually configured by software for analog in, analog out, digital input, or digital output. The analog points support the HART 7 protocol. Because Experion Universal Process I/O is software programmable, they can be shipped to the project site and configured onsite. Universal points may justify the decrease of the number of installed spare points per panel, which is a typical requirement in many project specifications. Customers who fully embrace the Universal I/O concept can gain large benefits by eliminating marshaling cabinets.

The LEAP approach allows for late changes with software configuration, particularly with Universal I/O.  Because of this, Sheean indicated that the DOC4000 software, developed by partner PAS, becomes more important to keep track and maintain accurate “as-built” documentation.

LEAP is currently used on large end-user customer projects where Honeywell is the automation contractor or the Main Automation Contractor (MAC). Honeywell may make this available to EPCs that are working on projects for which Honeywell is the MAC. Sheehan noted that the LEAP program eliminates many change orders in projects that are typically a cost risk for customers. At this time, LEAP is not available to Honeywell authorized system integrators. However, Sheehan said, “It is something we are considering.”

When developing applications using the virtualized cloud LEAP approach, the protection of customer intellectual properties may be a concern. Sheehan explained that users will require access authorization. Authentication protocols are used to make sure that all of the project files are located in a proprietary area and no unauthorized personnel can gain access.

Sheehan explained that LEAP is a new concept for executing projects that will require a workflow adjustment for users. However, this approach has great benefits. Honeywell expects that LEAP will likely result in 30% capital savings on the total installed automation costs of a project, 80% reduction of rework costs, and up to 90% reduction in schedule delays.

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