17 June 2009
Swapping wireless war stories revealing, rewarding
“We use our wireless, our mobile PKS systems so that operators can get out in the field. We use wireless for levels three and above categories (ISA100 Usage Classes/Levels). We monitor pipelines and corrosion wirelessly. We use wireless on our tank farms too,” said one user at the wireless innovations and solutions roundtable Wednesday in Phoenix at the Honeywell Users Group.
HUG participants, users and Honeywell experts, gathered to probe each other’s experiences as to wireless usage. Here are some exchanges that took place.
User: We use wireless to monitor and control pumps in our control room. During a hurricane when we’re in the bunker, we can turn those pumps on if water becomes a problem.
User: We’re working with Honeywell to get an OneWireless solution to confined space entry applications. We see it as a way to cut down on the number of crew to tackle the problem, and more importantly, is safer in that wireless video is more attentive than the human element.
Confined space entry means the action by which a person passes through an opening into a permit-required confined space. Entry includes ensuing work activities in that space, and it occurs as soon as any part of the entrant’s body breaks the plane of an opening into the space, which may be a process vessel, a tank, a reactor, or similar place.
User: We’re using wireless to monitor the lights on our gates and the gates themselves. It is a help to plant security.
User: We use wireless to monitor our safety showers.
User: We have aviation markers (lights) on the roof of our plant that the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) require us to maintain. It’s a no-questions-asked fine of $8,000 if one of them burns out, and we used to have a man go up there to check them every day. We use wireless to monitor that now.
User: We use wireless for non-critical tank level control. We’re using it also for the blowers that are part of our dust collection applications. We turn the blowers on and off wirelessly. Presently, our wireless systems don’t actually touch any points on our DCS.
User: What’s stopping us is the liability issue of using wireless. We’re afraid some lawyer will nab us in a situation where he can say, “Why didn’t you use a wired connection for that application?” How can I handle that?
Response to User: Base your usage on failure rates of the product. Sure, it’s wireless and new, but we’ve built up and have a pretty good idea of failure histories. We see our failure rates as holding up to Process Safety Management requirements. Also, the guarantee of ISA100 is that it’s better than hardwired, more reliable than hardwired, and with a failure rate that is superior to hardwired.
User: We apply wireless at levels 3-5 (ISA100 Usage Classes run from 0-5). We will never use wireless at level 0.