Let’s get technical
Fresh perspectives, expert advice, multiple venues dot the landscape of ISA EXPO 2007
By Ellen Fussell Policastro
There is a mountain of technology out there, and ISA is digging deep into the technical aspect of automation and control at the ISA EXPO 2007 in Houston in October. In fact, six technology exchanges will offer more than just tree-top analysis. Security, Safety, Wireless & Networking, Enterprise Integration, Process Automation, and Environmental & Quality control are the six exchanges.
Attendees can take advantage of content specific to each technology, including technical sessions and open events such as briefings on essential standards, topical forums, and standards development meetings.
Also new on the docket this year are evening exhibition hours and networking receptions on Tuesday, so attendees can spend more time learning about the latest technologies and meeting more people in the industry.
X-Pods will be central gathering places to support each technology exchange on the exhibit floor. Users with similar agendas can share information and attend educational briefings from industry experts.
The Bus Station specialty pavilion is the first collaborative endeavor designed to offer the latest information on industrial bus and field communications. Attendees can get technical education and product information at the station. The collocation of technologies and education presentations will allow users to find the most appropriate answers to their communication-related questions.
Also new is a Software Solutions Pavilion, a focal point for those looking for software products to help their operations run with security, reliability, and efficiency. Technologies included are software solutions for interoperability, shop-floor data collection, automation, process control, process improvement, and data acquisition.
An Industrial Communications Pavilion will feature data communications technologies from wireless data links to fiber-optic Ethernet switches, automation interface products, integration of information within the enterprise, and connectivity between device, process control, and management systems. The Environmental Pavilion offers products to help companies comply with regulations and become better equipped to meet factory guidelines.
The Sensors Fair will showcase sensors, transducers, detectors, and related technologies for process and discrete industrial automation applications.
Open operations and maintenance demo
Owners and operators are struggling to manage more complex systems in their plants, fleets, and facilities. So to remain competitive, they need to manage their systems as productively as possible. Yet large scale systems integrations projects spanning all key functional domains of major enterprises are costly to implement and sustain. Plus they often have a high-risk of failure.
The OpenO&M Initiative is a collaborative effort that includes multiple open standards organizations and helps them achieve interoperability between key operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions components in manufacturing, fleet, and capital facility environments. The demo leverages key open standards to help support critical industry-defined use cases with sensor-to-enterprise interoperable solutions that key industry vendors provide.
Wireless update: Inside ISA100
Attendees can meet and gather valuable information from committee members at this special center on the exhibit floor. Wireless experts from around the world will discuss their task of developing a standard for the process and manufacturing industries to deploy a single wireless infrastructure, able to transport information from multiple field bus protocols.
Control System User Forum
Known last year as Birds of a Feather, this year’s event, back by popular demand, might be under a different name, but it still offers the same uncensored, unscripted opportunities to hob-knob with other users of industrial automation solutions, learn lessons, and gain insights from their experiences.
YAPFEST will again give young automation professionals a chance to network with seasoned professionals and peers to find out more about what it takes to make it in the world of automation and control.
Keynoters this year represent safety strategies, innovative technologies, and space exploration. Take a peak inside to find out more about the opportunities in store this year.
Traditional safety, security risk
Over the years, the process industries have evolved several strategic approaches for chemical accident, loss prevention, and security. At any given time, companies will not find themselves at the same point along this spectrum. In fact, different departments within a facility, different functions within a department, or the same departmental function at different times may choose to implement multiple strategies at the same time,” said Steve Arendt, vice president of organization performance assurance at ABS Consulting, and keynoter on Tuesday, 2 October at ISA EXPO 2007.
Nonetheless, accidents and incidents still occur, and industry is seeking ways to take safety and security to the next level. Arendt will speak on just some of the ways to do this and offer insights into his own experience.
Two performance-based accident prevention programs are OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119) and the EPA risk management program (RMP) rule. Yet organizations are still challenged by inadequate management system performance, resource pressures, and stagnant process safety results.
To get to the next level in process, safety and security will require a more effective risk-based approach. “All hazards and risks are not equal; consequently, we should focus our resources on more significant hazards and higher risks,” Arendt said. To promote PSM excellence and continuous improvement throughout the process industries, the Center for Chemical Process Safety created risk-based process safety as the framework for the next generation of process safety management.
“Layered, effective management system control functions using metrics, management review, and audits will be used to wring value out of every unit of resource invested in process safety management,” he said. “Metrics, management review, and audits will become the tools for driving and measuring change, rather than for pinpointing errors and shortcomings.”
Repair educational system, innovate industry
Business conditions today require companies to streamline research and development (R&D) teams and rapidly iterate on new design ideas to quickly produce innovation. This is the theme for ISA EXPO 2007 Rimbach lecturer, James Truchard, president and chief executive of National Instruments, on Wednesday, 3 October.
“Thriving companies are producing real innovation with staffs of engineering teams that blend traditional disciplines of electrical, mechanical, chemical, and software design,” Truchard said. Such innovation helps to rapidly “create prototypes, test, iterate on designs, and move smoothly to deployment and tackle business issues, including a less experienced and smaller workforce, and green concerns such as power consumption and looming carbon caps.”
Truchard will share his views on how industry trends in multidiscipline design and advanced software tools are speeding innovation. He will elaborate on the essential steps to overhaul engineering education, and highlight ongoing successes in revamping education.
On Thursday, 4 October, keynoter Donald Monell, a constellation program manager at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will share his knowledge of NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration (2004) defined by President George W. Bush and authorized by Congress. The Vision directs NASA to complete its International Space Station, a joint project of six space agencies, including the NASA, Russian Federal Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira), and the European Space Agency.
Other directions are to safely fly the Space Shuttle until 2010, develop and fly the Crew Exploration Vehicle (Orion) no later than 2014, return to the Moon no later than 2020, extend human presence across the solar system and beyond, implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program, develop supporting innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures, and promote international and commercial participation in exploration.
Talking techies: Technology exchanges
This year EXPO attendees will be well fed with technical sessions, or key exchanges, where they not only can listen and learn, but participate in exchanges on the technical topics of their choice—Security, Wireless & Networking, Process Automation, Safety, Environmental & Quality Control, and Enterprise Integration.
Experts in critical infrastructures, cyber security, government regulations, standards, and interoperability will be on hand Tuesday, 2 October, to answer questions and offer insight about cyber security and manufacturers’ responsibilities. While security practices are voluntary in some industries, the electric power industry, for instance, has cyber security of its critical infrastructure regulated. A panel of industry moguls will offer their insights on how the U.S. Federal Electric Regulatory Commission mandates the compliance of the electric power industry with a set of critical infrastructure protection standards. Other topics will include the future of cyber security standards, benefits and drawbacks of current efforts from ISA, NIST, NERC, and IEC, progress on ISA-99 Part 4, and overall convergence and harmonization of industrial control systems security requirements efforts. Interoperability and legacy issues are also on the agenda.
Keith Stouffer, a mechanical engineer with NIST in Gaithersburg, Md., will talk about the federal control system security standards and how NIST has tailored the existing IT security standards to industrial control systems. “We’ll bring up how the federal government is collaborating with the private sector and its standards development organizations, such as ISA, to harmonize the security standards developed for control systems,” Stouffer said.
The IT security standard of the federal government, Special Publication 853, includes all the security requirements of any federal organization that non-national security must meet. NIST has developed a large risk-management framework for federal IT network computers. “The main thing we’ve been doing is determining how we take those existing security standards and guidelines and apply those to the industrial control system environment,” he said. “So we started with taking the IT security standard Special Publication 853 and developing tailoring guidance on how to apply that standard to industrial control systems.”
Wireless & Networking
One of the critical wireless efforts underway is ISA’s project to develop an American National Standard for industrial wireless data communications. The ISA100 committee is working on ISA100.11a, which is targeted to wireless communications for process control and focuses on non-critical applications in data acquisition and feedback control. Standards writers expect the document to be completed by mid-2008. Pat Kenney of Kenny Consulting will be on hand to answer questions and offer insight into details of the standards efforts surrounding wireless data communications.
Ed Ladd from HART Communication Found-ation will review scenarios whereby users can extend their existing devices’ capabilities or automate manual measurements and offer insight into the WirelessHART standard.
Modern control systems, device management software, and field communicators use electronic device descriptions, or EDD, to define the human interface and supported interactions with field devices for configuration, diagnostics, and calibration. Terry Blevins and Jonas Berge of Emerson Process Management are among a group of experts who will discuss the ISA-104 electronic device description language, or EDDL, standard, which should help manufacturers update their device descriptions.
Model predictive control (MPC) is an established control methodology in many manufacturing industries. It is heavily used in the oil and gas processing industries to gain benefits from constraint riding control and local cost optimization.
“These are typically larger applications that are expensive to install and maintain but have commemorated returns,” said Dave Schnelle of DuPont. Commercial MPC offerings have developed technical advances, new delivery platforms, and changes in marketing philosophy that are targeted at a new class of control problem. These are smaller, higher bandwidth problems aimed at improving variability of systems with difficult dynamics and noisy measurements in a more flexible manufacturing environment. Pushing constraints and local optimization are still the goal, but lower cost tools for smaller, difficult problems and better engineering development and maintenance tools are also important.
End-users are rapidly implementing ISA-84.01-2004 for new safety instrumented systems (SIS) and evaluating existing SIS against its requirements. “The SP84 committee is collecting end-user feedback for input into the maintenance of the standard,” said Angela Summers, president of SIS-TECH Solutions in Houston. “This panel will address the current status of the standard implementation in the process industry and significant issues to be addressed during maintenance.”
Environmental & Quality Control
Alex Habib, PE, of Maverick Technologies, will discuss the FDA way concerning process analytical technology, or PAT, to give insight to automation and control engineers and managers, production managers, process engineers, quality control professionals, R&D scientists and lab managers, hardware and software vendors, and analyzer vendors.
“It happens every day; key resources leave a company to chase a better opportunity elsewhere. Perhaps it is for better pay, but more often than not, it is lack of recognition, excessive drain on family time, or unchallenging work that causes a company’s best talent to flee,” said Scott Sommer of Jacobs Engineering Group. During the Project Management Techniques forum, automation and systems integration managers and executives will learn the 10 keys to successfully staffing and maintaining their organizations.
ISA’s most popular courses will converge in one location again this year. Vendor-neutral training will focus on practical, real-world application of technology. You will be able to implement your knowledge when you return to work, or we will refund your money.
Courses include wireless and networking exchanges, process automation, safety, enterprise integration, certification review, and management.