01 June 2004
Protect, connect, control
Security, networking, asset management fill show slots in Houston.
By Ellen Fussell
Fingerprint identification, facial recognition, speaker verification, iris scanning, and hand geometry aren't just images from a James Bond movie anymore. Security analysts now believe biometric technology will be a vital component of any corporate security initiative because of the significant return on investment, improved user convenience, and integration into existing security initiatives based on radio frequency identification, proximity badges, tokens, and smart cards.
As one of the ISA EXPO 2004 keynote speakers, Greg Jensen, chief technology officer at Saflink Corp. in Bellevue, Wash., will take show goers on a journey through the world of biometric technologies. Saflink offers software that protects intellectual property, secures information assets, and eliminates passwords. The company's software allows administrators to verify the identity of users and control their access to computer networks, physical facilities, applications, event tracking systems, and time and attendance systems.
What can Americans do to maintain leadership in a new competitive manufacturing age? Action Instru-ments founder Jim Pinto will discuss how third-world countries are demonstrating ultracompetitive manufacturing, plus world-class engineering skills and innovation in his keynote presentation, "Automation Unplugged – Global Shifts in a New Age." "This poses new and serious challenges to presumed American leadership in the old economy," he said. "Productivity is now a global race between regions and nations. Those who can make things cheaper, faster, better—win."
Emerging Technologies Conference
The Emerging Technologies Conference (ETCON) will focus on applied and basic research from laboratories and development centers around the world. ETCON will showcase original technical papers and innovative ideas in emerging technologies that users can implement in today's manufacturing environment.
The show will feature 25 education and training programs, special forums, and daily keynote addresses.
Industrial network & systems security
What are the common security issues? How can we map out common ground between information technology (IT) and control system security, review the latest security and safety technologies, and incorporate the latest technology to set up a cyberdefense network plan? Fabio Terezinho of Indusoft in Austin, Texas, plans to help attendees discover if their plants are vulnerable to a cyber-attack. "With the growing demand of interconnection between the plant and corporate networks, cybersecurity is becoming a major problem on the plant floor," he said. Terezinho refers to the Slammer worm infiltrating an Ohio nuclear power plant, an angry employee using the Ethernet to change passwords of programmable logic controllers in another department, and former contractors using wireless links to hack through a supervisory control and data acquisition system. In his paper, Terezinho explains how corporate networks can coexist safely in the same network—if you take the right precautions.
Other aspects of this symposium will focus on securing industrial networks against cyberattacks, protecting systems from hackers, discerning differences between an industrial environment and an office system, securing protocols with open-source technologies, and protecting industrial networks with network segmentation.
Industrial networking and communications
Kevin Zamzow, director of sales and marketing at Locus Inc. in Madison, Wis., has submitted his view on the key challenges to wireless communication in industrial automation environments. One is to conquer the requirements of industrial protocols and automation applications. "While it's important to recognize that some wireless technologies are better suited than others to handle electromagnetic interference and multipath challenges, it's the specific communications protocol, control platform, automation system, and security requirements that will ultimately determine the performance of the wireless network," he said.
This symposia will address Ethernet and TCP/IP issues from the industrial perspective, detailing technical challenges and solutions, updates on Foundation fieldbus and Profibus, and useful technologies applicable to all fieldbuses. In addition this symposium delves into alternative equipment technologies, interface issues, and wireless communications technologies for various industrial applications.
Productivity and asset management
This symposium will concentrate on making better use of plant capital assets and boosting productivity. The automation hierarchy—from maintenance and factory floor operations to corporate officers—makes up the asset management equation.
Tanmoy Basu, a senior product manager at Siemens Energy & Automation in Spring House, Penn., will propose a metric for measuring the performance of physical asset management (PAM). It has a range of disciplines and processes that offer a scope much wider than the traditional maintenance function. "Conven-tional measures of performance for physical asset management tend to focus on narrow, cost-based indicators for maintenance instead of the wider value-based metrics," he said. "PAM is about creating value—it includes the life-cycle processes of creating, establishing, exploiting [maintaining and operating], and divesting a physical asset in a manner that satisfies the constraints imposed by economy, ergonomics, technical integrity, and business performance." The proposed metric is the economic value of physical asset management and applies to equipment, plant, infrastructure, or any physical asset that qualifies as an economic entity.
The technical conference sessions include original technical presentations, paper and panel discussions, and tutorials based on applications and techniques from today's manufacturing processes. Industrial network and systems security, productivity and asset management, industrial communications, and networking are just some of the topics speakers will cover this year.
Stein Haugstad, sales manager at ClampOn AS, in Laksevaag Hordaland, Norway, will discuss the challenges in the oil and gas industry regarding leak identification, quantification, and monitoring of critical areas such as valves, flanges, bends, or joints. In the oil and gas industry today, with all the refineries, process plants, and production facilities, you need to take action against unwanted leaks and environmental complications. In some countries, the oil and gas companies face strict regulations from their governments. The governmental regulations not only require the oil and gas companies to report the specific leaks, but also to report quantities of the leak. But the rules are not fully enforced. By using ultrasonic systems, the operators can not only comply with governmental regulations, but also keep the level of security at the highest level. Haugstad will show the possibilities with ultrasonic systems for sub-sea monitoring of leaks. Part of the presentation will demonstrate how operators using ultrasonic leak monitors save money and monitor their leaking valves.
Tod Canty, president of J.M. Canty, Inc. in Lockport, N.Y., will discuss newly developed technology that expands the range of image-based particle analysis systems by integrating an optical zoom lens with digital Ethernet control. He'll enlighten show goers on imaging-based particle-size analysis of liquids and solids—and explain how they provide significant advantages over other methods, because they provide two-dimensional size, shape, and color information. Up until now, every time you changed an image system size range, you needed to manually adjust the lens system. Then you had to recalibrate the entire system, limiting the usefulness for lab and online applications for image-based particle-size analysis. The optical zoom lens overcomes this limitation and provides for particle ranges in the order of 1–7000 microns out of a single system.
Thomas Kinney of Expertune, Inc. in Hubertus, Wis., will discuss performance monitoring and how it can produce easily identifiable and useable results; it must provide a comparison of loop health from loop to loop. This enables the promise of powerful analysis available through performance monitoring for each of the following areas: control loop, unit operations, the plant, the entire site, or the entire corporation.
Mark Anderson, senior engineer at Logical Systems in Memphis, Tenn., will discuss a local facility—in production since 1991—that was controlled by a legacy distributed control system (DCS) inherited from a different plant. Much has changed in the process control industry since then. "The current system in use at the plant is now obsolete," Anderson said. "But they upgraded the control system with a new DCS." Anderson will provide an overview of the "technical aspects behind the project and how we dealt with equipment modules and interfaced that to the S88 model," he said.
Other show highlights
ISA expects more than 500 exhibitors to showcase their technologies and trends in today's automation and control market. The Automation IT Pavilion will feature automation hardware, software, and services aimed at connecting manufacturing data to enhance product life cycles, optimize assets, and increase in-plant equipment use. The Industrial Communication Pavilion will highlight data communications technologies from wireless data links to fiber-optic Ethernet switches, and connectivity between device and process control and management systems. The Sensors Pavilion will showcase the latest sensor software, hardware, and peripherals.
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