Industry Perspectives from Honeywell User Group Americas 2010

Industry Perspectives from Honeywell User Group Americas 2010

 
By Bill Lydon - Editor
 
Dynamic Solutions. Endless Possibilities.
June 13 to 17, 2010 - JW Marriott-Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ.
 
Harsh Chitale, Vice President/General Manager of Americas, informed attendees at the opening of the event that attendance was 30% more than last year.  Chitale discussed the major issues based on input from users.
 
He reaffirmed Honeywell’s commitment to extend the life of it legacy products until the user is ready to migrate. This includes maintaining knowledgeable staff, providing training, and re-engineering of obsolete components. He also cited Honeywell’s new contract with Microsoft that extends the life and support of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 until 2016. (On the Microsoft website, end of life dates are listed as 2014 and 2015.)   Chitale cited an example of a long supported system by giving a Systems Longevity Award to Eastman Chemical Company for their TDC2000 system, in service since 1983.
 
Chitale discussed new remote training from Honeywell’s Automation College that offers four different types of e-Learning.  Each of these alternatives reduce travel expense, minimize time away from home and scheduled work, offer more flexibility in completing course work, and help users complete training “just-in-time.”  
 
Honeywell introduced the Experion Service Program that captures best practices to help customers support Experion with a variety of service and support options including application support, preventive and predictive maintenance, change management, 24/7 support , parts holding, process optimization and system migrations. 
 
Chitale recognized Atlanta Gas Light with the Experion Ingenuity Award for implementing an Experion system as a single control system spanning 13 plants scattered from New Jersey to Georgia. Any of the plants can be controlled from any of the control systems.
 
Chitale closed by introducing Honeywell’s new Customer Advocate, Irina Radomy, who will serve as an internal customer champion and director of customer advocacy and quality.  Chitale explained that this position gives users an internal champion and ensures more user feedback is captured and user’s needs are understood.
 
Industry Perspectives
Norm Gilsdorf, President of Honeywell Process Solutions, provided his perspectives on the industry noting, “We continue to go through the worst recession in 80 years.” “There are now signs that we have recovery on the way – its taking root.” Gilsdorf described Honeywell activities including the introduction of 600 new products last year, expanded global footprint, continued new product development, and expanded manufacturing and service capability to be closer to the customer. Today, Honeywell has 19,000 scientists around the world working on new technology for the future. “ACS [which we are in] introduced 400 of the 600 new products,” said Gilsdorf. “We hired 100 engineers who graduated from school last year, from around the world. We continue to build the base of future experts to grow throughout the future.” Gilsdorf emphasized their innovation commitment by saying, “We stayed on our roadmap to introduce 84 new technology and solutions this year.”
 
Gilsdorf shared his impressions from recent travels around the world which he termed, “megatrends.” “Clearly the world is changing at a much faster rate than before the crisis,” said Gilsdorf. “The crisis jolted everything a bit and we are in a new environment and we’ve all got to learn to adjust and adapt. The world is more interconnected.” 
 
The first megatrend is the uncertain economic environment. The Asian countries need to add 100 power plants over the next two years – that’s a new power plant every few weeks. In contrast, petroleum refining is experiencing swings in demand and margins are weaker than a few years ago. “I think we have to live with economic uncertainty going forward,” said Gilsdorf.
 
The second megatrend is resource constraints starting with scientists and engineers needed to solve problems. “Unfortunately the situation is not getting better with experts retiring and new graduates not joining quick enough,” said Gilsdorf.  
 
The third area is capital spending where 20% of the world’s capital being spent has shifted from the United States and Europe to Asia. 
 
The fourth megatrend is the energy supply. The world is going green and must shift demand while balancing environmental objectives. Gilsdorf said, “The developing world today faces huge environmental challenges, for example Northern China within a few years will run out of water, based on the depletion of the water table.” Gilsdorf quoted a statement in a new book from Thomas Friedman that in the next 12 years a billion people will be added to the world population and if each person turned on one light bulb for a day that is equal to 60,000 megawatts or 30-40 power plants. “The imperative is for us to collectivity develop technology to satisfy these requirements,” said Gilsdorf. 
 
The last trend is increasing concern for safety and security. “The recent issues in the Golf highlight the delicate balance between energy demand, environment, safety, and security,” said Gilsdorf.  Unfortunately, last year as in previous years, over $20 billion was lost do to safety incidents or accidents.” He noted there were early warning signs and symptoms in most of these situations before they happened. Gilsdorf posed the question, “How can we better manage this for better people, better training, and better systems?”
 
Gilsdorf challenged the audience, “We are going to have to work together as partners to develop solutions to help us be successful.”
 
Considering these trends, Gilsdorf discussed how Honeywell can help customers’ drive value by increasing standardization, providing technology, making it easier to do business, providing services, and improving end to end quality. In addition, the ability to integrate offerings from across the Honeywell corporate family increases value for customers. A good example of this is offering physical security products including access controls, video surveillance, fire alarm and other products from various Honeywell divisions.
 
Gilsdorf closed by stating Honeywell’s goal, “…to be the most valued partner to our customers, improving their safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability”.
 
Wireless
The Honeywell OneWireless product line is the flagship wireless product offering with the commitment that customers purchasing products are guaranteed field firmware upgrades to be ISA100 compliant.
 
Honeywell continues to add products to the OneWireless line including more instrumentation, wired HART gateway, and universal I/O module. Also introduced was a clever non-invasive wireless gauge reader - a private label product that simply snaps on the front of an existing gauge from Cypress Envirosystems.
 
The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) had a presence at the conference and announced the availability of its ISA100.11a Stack Conformance and Device Interoperability Test Kits designed to verify conformance to the ISA100.11a standard. Both kits verify the correct communication behavior of a wireless device as defined in the ISA100.11a standard and provide comprehensive packages and tools for troubleshooting, debugging, and regression testing of ISA100.11a products.
 
Interesting Products
 
RC500 RTU
The new RC500 RTU is based on a Sixnet product and Honeywell has done a good job of creating a seamless software interface to their systems. The RTU features low power (150 mA @ 24 VDC, typical), -40 to +70DegC temperature rating, Modbus/DNP3 protocols, Ethernet, On-board data logging, on-board I/O, and performs AGA calculations (3, 5, 8, 9 and 11).
 
Safety Manger Remote I/O
The new universal remote input/output (I/O) module for the Safety Manager platform provides 32 I/O channels and redundancy for analog in/out and digital in/out. The module communicates directly to Honeywell’s Safety Manger over Ethernet up to 10km, eliminating marshalling cabinet requirements. The Safety Manager Remote I/O module is designed for harsh environments and is SIL-3 certified. Each channel can individually be configured to a different I/O type.
 
Turbo Machine Controller
Honeywell partnered with the Wood group to create a turbine control that runs in the C300 fast response controller, featuring 20 ms response time and two new I/O modules (speed protection and servo valve positioner).
 
C300 Custom Function Block
Users can create new function blocks in VB.NET with a defined set of libraries that are compiled to code for native execution in the C300.
 
Profibus DP Gateway
The Experion PKS R400 provides a new Profibus Gateway with 2 Profibus DP links per module. There is an option for redundant modules.
 
C200E Supports Batch
The C200E processor has expanded user memory and the same form factor as a C200 processor making for a powerful upgrade.  In addition to all C200 functions, it supports Experion Batch Manager and Power Function Blocks. All other components are compatible with C200E.
 
Control System Virtualization
John McIlwain, Principal Engineer at Honeywell Specialty Materials in Baton Rouge, LA, discussed his experience using virtualization on their control systems. Virtualization is running multiple operating systems on a single large computer and has become popular with high-performance, low-cost hardware and economical virtualization software. Virtualization essentially enables the consolidation of applications running on multiple computers to all run on a single hardware platform.   McIlwain discussed how the advantages of virtualization far outweigh any disadvantages.
  • Advantages
    • Lower Cost - Fewer Servers, Better CPU Utilization
    • Increased Flexibility - Add, Remove, Change Virtual Machines
    • Ease of Upgrading Hardware
    • Redundancy Options - Zero Downtime/High Availability
    • Ease of Upgrading Software
    • Ease/Speed of Taking System Snapshots for Roll Back/Forward
    • Ease of Disaster Recovery
  •  Disadvantages
    • Increased Susceptibility to Physical Failures (only true for single server environments)
    • New Technology / New Skills
    • Increased System Management Complexity
McIlwain described his approach of starting small and progressing with three main stages of system evolution. Stage one was application virtualization of test and development computers on a Windows XP desktop computer. The second stage was application virtualization on a 32- bit Win 2003 Server. The third stage was virtualization of the production environment running on a 64-bit server running VMWare ESXi. Virtualization was very successful and provided a stable system that is easier to maintain. His next step is to run APC applications in this environment. Based on his experience, he recommended a virtual firewall appliance from www.vyatta.com that is free.
 
Thoughts & Comments
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has made nine acquisitions in the last 4-5 years and Norm Gilsdorf commented, “We believe by bringing these great technologies into Honeywell we can integrate them with our control systems, we can develop them further and bring them to our customers.” They have been doing a good job of integrating acquisitions into the company which is not an easy task. At the J.P. Morgan Diversified Industrials Conference on June 8, 2010, Dave Anderson, Honeywell’s Senior Vice President and CFO noted their merger and acquisition performance “outstrips valuation models.” It would not surprise me to see more acquisitions.
 
Are there some new partnerships in the wind? Everyone talks about the convergence of the enterprise and automation systems and it is happening with various interfaces. IBM did a session at HUG describing their Smarter Planet concept based on three principals.
  • Instrumented - Measure, sense and see the exact condition of practically everything.
  • Interconnected - People, systems and objects can communicate and interact with each other in entirely new ways. 
  • Intelligent - Respond to changes quickly and accurately, and get better results by predicting and optimizing for future events.
 
IBM is promoting their WebSphere framework that looks like it could be the basis for the high level real-time process control system. As business systems are becoming real-time transaction oriented, the line between the DCS and enterprise computing is blurring. I will be investigating this more for future articles.
 
Honeywell is a strong services oriented supplier and this continues to grow. At the Honeywell Process Solutions Investors Day on June 16, 2010, Norm Gilsdorf noted HPS has a significant installed base ($17B) with 7% growth in support contract base through the recession.
 
Honeywell Process Solutions is leveraging products from other Honeywell divisions to broaden offerings to customers. The range of physical security products and services from other divisions is a prime example.
 
The new system integrator program, along with Experion LS, HS, HC900, and Master Logic products, is designed to reach smaller applications and adjacent markets including fine chemicals, food, packaged goods, and waste water.
 
At HUG 2010 there was a new positive energy.