Emerson Exchange 2010 - Conquering Complexity

Emerson Exchange 2010 - Conquering Complexity

September 27 - October 1, 2010
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas
 
By Bill Lydon - Editor, November 2010
 
The 2010 Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio, Texas was a successful event, hosting more than 2300 attendees, representing 47 different countries. There were many opportunities for learning and networking with 318 short courses and workshops, 7 Industry forums, 4 technology forums, 10 Emerson Educational Services courses, 11 Emerson Product Roadmap sessions, and meet the experts sessions.
 
Build on Your Knowledge to Succeed
Aaron Wood, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Emerson User Exchange, kicked off the user conference emphasizing the theme, “Build on your knowledge to succeed, whether you are a manager, engineer, technician….”  Wood suggested attendees actively seek opportunities for improvement through knowledge by learning, listening, and networking with key knowledge holders at the event.
 
UDEP (User Driven Enhance Program)
Tracy Waller, Chairman of UDEP (User Driven Enhance Program), reviewed the UDEP program which was introduced last year with the intention to provide direct user input into the Emerson design group.    Users are able to submit ideas through the UDEP website.  The UDEP committee, made up of users, selects the best ideas and creates development definitions to advocate the addition of these ideas to Emerson Products. Emerson allocates a development budget and resources specifically for UDEP considerations. All UDEP members are users like Tracy Waller, who is Manager of the Tritium Projects and New Missions group at the Savannah River Site's Tritium Facilities in Aiken, SC.
 
Emerson Business Update
Steve Sonnenberg, Executive Vice President of Emerson Process Management, addressed the group by first commenting on the economy, “I know it has been a tough two to three years for everyone, it has been tough for Emerson as well and I feel your pain.” “I will say I believe the worst of it is over; in fact I am quite optimistic about the future.”   Sonnenberg suggested that attendees be bold during the week, ask questions, and take tons of notes to build on their knowledge to improve operations. Sonnenberg noted that in tough times we take stock of what is important and focus to achieve goals. “My first point is focus delivers results,” said Sonnenberg. He went on to report on Emerson’s business performance, “The news is good and I remain optimistic about the coming year.” “Our business focus is on building a financially strong company.” Regarding the last 12-18 months he noted, “We had to make some tough decisions to keep the business stable and prepare for the recovery.” Sonnenberg reported that business is coming back and heading towards 2008 growth rates by late 2010 or early 2011. 
 
Sonnenberg pointed out that, ‘collaboration creates purpose’ and Emerson’s industry centers provide services and support with deep knowledge to become extensions of customer staffs. He noted, “As construction has heated up and engineering departments have dwindled, customers and contractors have to rely on us to be their strategic supplier.” Sonnenberg advocated that users bring Emerson into early project planning, to determine their automation strategies.  
 
Sonnenberg closed with this thought - “Our focus is on innovation, but innovation with a purpose….making solutions which are meaningful to you...”
 
More insights can be found in an interview with Steve Sonnenberg and Peter Zornio about a number of topics including business challenges, what their customers should be planning for, wireless, cloud computing, and what technologies will have the greatest impact on automation.   
 
Human Centered Design
Last year, Emerson announced their Human Centered Design (HCD) Institute. At this year’s Exchange, the Usability Experience area on the Emerson Exchange Technology Exhibit floor provided attendees information about how the Hunan Centered Design process works. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to provide input as a customer and a user of Emerson products.   Duane Toavs, Director of Emerson’s Human Centered Design Institute, defines Human Centered Design as, “An approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics and usability knowledge and techniques.”   Human Centered Design got its start at Emerson about five or six years ago, when surveys showed that despite many useful features being built into Emerson products, they weren’t being used as frequently as expected. With process control systems becoming increasingly complex, and a looming shortage of experienced operators, the company determined that ease of use was a major design consideration. This led to collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, a world leader in the HCD discipline, and the formation of the Emerson Human Centered Design Institute.  Emerson’s HCD Institute focuses on reducing complexity in the company’s product offerings.  
 
A good definition of the HCD process is as follows:
  • Research – Understand your Users
  • Design – Create Solutions
  • Evaluate – Test Designs
  • Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!!!
The first big innovation from the HCD work is the company’s Electronic Marshalling concept based on CHARM modules. For more information, read Electronic Marshalling Concept Attacks Installed Costs
 
Asset Management
Asset management continues to grow in importance and Emerson continues to improve the AMS Suite with the Wireless SNAP-ON application and Meridium partnership.
 
I was impressed with how Emerson has integrated wireless planning and configuration with the AMS Wireless SNAP-ON Application. Plant images can be imported into the AMS Wireless SNAP-ON application and then users can drag and drop devices to plot a network. The AMS Wireless SNAP-ON application checks the plan against Emerson factory-recommended best practices or against custom parameters defined by users. 
 
 
AMS Wireless SNAP-ON application displays aide in planning and validating wireless network device communications.
 
 
Graphical network communication display used to identify potential trouble spots.
 
The AMS Suite has been enhanced with Meridium’s asset performance management capabilities to provide advanced metrics and scorecards, management of data collected using handheld devices, and integration with computerized maintenance management systems such as SAP PM and IBM MAXIMO.   This extension to AMS Suite easily accesses the predictive information customers are utilizing today and combines this with CMMS/ERP data to deliver an integrated view. The result is that the islands of asset information from across the plant or the enterprise are integrated in a proven solution that helps users make the best decisions for improved asset performance and plant reliability.
 
DeltaV Product Roadmap
David Dietz, Director of PSS Product Marketing at Emerson Process Management, presented the latest DeltaV product roadmap. Dietz started by noting, “A lot of what we did in version 11 was driven by Human Centered Design efforts focused on understanding who the users of our system are, what their jobs entail, and what they do on a day to day basis.” “We got a lot of this information from going out into the field…” These are highlight from Dietz’s presentation:
 
DeltaV Version 11
New features include utilizing Windows 7 and Server 2008, alarm management incorporates ISA 18.2 features, AMS Device Manager for any DeltaV, and Enhanced Smart Ethernet Switches.
 
OPC .NET 3.0 Interface
This version incorporates the OPC .NET 3.0 (formally known as Xi Express Interface) that allows products based on OPC Classic to leverage the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) technology to transfer of data securely through firewalls until products can be developed with native OPC UA software. The tradeoffs between the 3 OPC connectivity options (OPC Classic, OPC .NET 3.0 and UA) were described in the conference session. OPC .NET 3.0 solves problems associated with COM/DCOM, is firewall friendly, and based on Microsoft’s latest .NET technology. The solution is limited to Microsoft Windows operating system. Systems that deploy OPC UA are cross platform and based on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). On balance, this limitation should not be an issue for the majority of DeltaV users.
 
New Charms in Pipeline
More CHARM blocks will be added for Electronic Marshalling:
  • 24 VDC Non-incentive
  • 120 and 230 VAC Digital Input
  • 20-250 VAC Digital Output
  • 24 VDC Insolated Output
  • 0-10 Volt Isolated Analog Input
  • Relay – 6 amp up to 250 VAC
  • Intrinsically Safe CHARMS ( Analog In, Analog Out, Digital Input, Digital Output, RTD; Thermocouple)
  • Fused Terminal Block
  • Relay Terminal Block
  •  Interface CHARMS – HART Analog In, HART Analog Out
MaxDiff Study
Dietz shared results of a MaxDiff (Maximum Difference Scaling) study Emerson did to better understand users’ needs.
 
The top scores:
  • 10.42 - Integration with All Plant Subsystems
  • 10.08 - Set-up and Configuration
  • 9.61 - Abnormal Situation Prevention
  • 9.32 - Flexible Control – I/O Architecture
  • 8.53 - Total Lifecycle Cost
  • 8.19 - User Efficiency
  • 7.60 - System Security
  • 7.59 - Maintenance and Operations Tools
  • 7.31 - Advanced Process Control
Network Interface
There is a network interface box under development that will connect to the DeltaV network and initially have interfaces to Modbus TCP and Ethernet/IP. Follow-on interfaces will be IEC 61850 and PROFINET.  
 
Wireless Control
Nicholas Meyer and Tracy Niebeling of Rosemount and Kurtis Jensen of Fisher Rosemount gave an interesting presentation titled, “Control Freaks: Wireless Control for Tomorrow.” They noted that people are using wireless for selected control problems today citing numerous examples. Nine major oil companies use wireless control for 2300+Wells and another application is with arc furnace temperature control.
 
Emerson has developed the DeltaV v11 PIDPLUS PID control function for wireless control. I asked about the impacts of accuracy and stability of the wireless PIDPLUS function, but no factual information was provided. The diagram in the presentation illustrated a filter that is a function of elapsed time to account for the non-deterministic nature of wireless. This could get tricky with some applications that experience rapid changes in process variables at times. The number of node hops between sensor(s) and control elements could also have an effect on control applications. The presenters believe that wireless control is happening now. New innovations will allow for more applications.
 
WirelessHART Cyber Security
Marty Edwards, Department of Homeland Security - Control Systems Security Program (DHS-CSSP), reported on their testing of Emerson’s Smart Wireless systems. He summed up their finding as, "Overall, the CSSP assessment team found the Emerson Smart Wireless system to be well thought out with numerous security features implemented to mitigate common and known problems with cyber security.” “The wireless communication components as implemented for this assessment provide a protected method to deploy wireless field sensors. The Emerson Smart Wireless system and the support provided during this assessment displays Emerson Process Management commitment to security.”
There are many resources available at: www.us-cert.gov/control_systems
 
Thoughts & Observations
Emerson’s focus on Human Centered Design is right on target for an engineering driven organization. This focus is being seen in new products and I am confident is having an effect on many designs in the pipeline. As a previous design engineer, I know how easily the ‘beauty’ of the technology can take over and user-friendliness sometimes takes a back seat to technology. How many years has it been and we still have cryptic TV remote and microwave oven controls? Investing in something like HCD takes mature management that understands the value of long term investments.
 
Emerson along with other automation vendors are providing more services to customers, as Sonnenberg noted his opening remarks.  Outsourcing can be appealing, but I wonder if companies are thinking about keeping the right number of engineering, technicians, and maintenance personnel to be competitive in their business.
 
Control over wireless is starting to happen and the technology will be refined as time goes on. It will find the appropriate applications. It took some time to do closed loop control and interlocks over sensor networks and wireless will go through the same evolution.