01 August 2004
Automation comes together
EXPO 2004 experts help manufacturers secure, strategize, stay in touch
By Ellen Fussell
Staying secure, productive, competitive, and connected are the key paths users are forging through today's industrial forest. And at this year's ISA 2004 EXPO on 5–7 October in Houston, three symposia embrace the challenges manufacturers face today. The Industrial Network & Systems Security symposium will explore threats to manufacturing and control systems. The Industrial Networking & Communications symposium will address Ethernet and TCP/IP issues from the industrial perspective. And the Productivity & Asset Management symposium will concentrate on the business side of it all—enhancing the use of plant capital assets.
Attendees will be hit with a barrage of security topics—cyber and physical security at the control system level, at the gate, in the plant, and in cyberspace. Topics will run the gamut "depending on your knowledge level," said security consultant Bob Webb of Woodside, Calif. There'll be topics for the "choir who already believe," he said. They will learn about the changing nature of the threat. Eric Byres will present new information on how the risk is changing. "And that will lead people to change the priorities by which they deal with things," Webb said.
Eric Cozman from DuPont will address where to go for guidance in responding to electronic security in the plant. Tom Good, also of DuPont, will present a risk analysis that helps manufacturers prioritize control system security. Dave Teumim of Teumim Technical, LLC, will bring in the transportation control system security and how it relates to automation security—mostly regarding train and rail systems. "There will also be a lot of information about standards and where they're going, and the government in terms of what the Department of Homeland Security is beginning to do," Webb said. "People have wondered for a long time what they're doing. They've earmarked millions of dollars for control system security. And they'll now start spending that. They'll be speaking on what programs they're initiating and where that funding will be going."
These sessions are not just about standards, Webb said. "They're about the major issues that every person who plugs in a phone or a network connection on any part of their control system needs to be worried about," he said. "And they need to be intelligent enough to know when to unplug or how to protect it, because otherwise they'll eventually be victims."
A major thrust of Wednesday's programs is to hear from users about what they need from vendors, Webb said. But here's something new. This year, "we're incorporating into this the relationship between control systems and automation security and physical security. The theory is there's synergy between automation security and physical security that can make it more cost-effective for everyone," he said. "I say theory because it's not proven that's true. But the fundamental idea is, besides entry points, you have to provide physical security, and there are overlaps where each of those requirements can help to facilitate the other."
Physical security in the plant
Integrating physical security into the control system will be the focus of a presentation from keynoter Chuck Landis, a security consultant for Landis & Assoc. in Round Rock, Texas. "The main issue is we're not getting much activity out of industrial plants. We don't see them doing much in the way of improving security," Landis said. The biggest change in the past, he said, was that plants might get a new guard firm to guard front gates or check backgrounds of workers before hiring them. "So now the heads of security for these plants have gone into training to learn how to improve the security and procedures at the plants," he said. "But what we haven't seen is a lot of physical security changes like increased cameras, barriers, access control systems—like with ID badges. Plants have improved procedures but not done much in implementing physical security."
Landis said one of the reasons not much is happening is because of the perception that adding video cameras throughout the plant will be pure cost—"overhead the corporation has to absorb at a time when they have to be competitive," he said. "But at several plants we're beginning to integrate the control systems and the security systems together. The reason is, if businesses see cameras as something they have to buy and get no return on investment, they won't want to spend that money. But in fact, the systems can be linked to the process control system and improve plant security and safety."
The physical security breaches at this time are limited to people who stray into areas they aren't certified to be in. But the opportunity for people to go into areas where they can do severe damage is present at almost all plants, he said. "A lot of times, you'll find one refinery next to a highway. And the only thing separating the highway from the refinery is a chain-linked fence." This is different from securing against cyberbreaches, because "people who've hacked into control systems are looking to prove how bright they are. They want to show the rest of the world they're smarter than everyone," he said. "The people Homeland Security is concerned about are those with explosive backpacks on—who want to release chemicals into the atmosphere that can kill people and cause great financial harm."
Yet cameras can be used for more than just detecting people walking around the plant, Landis said. "If somebody is casing the place or walking around the fence or looking for a way in, you'd detect them before they penetrated the facility," he said. We did a demo at the Corpus Christi plant—tying the control system to the camera system. Normally, when they received a tank overflow alarm, all they would have in front of them would be a computer screen showing them alarms. The next step is they would radio somebody in the plant to go see if the tank is actually overflowing. So they would be sending a person into harm's way," he said. "Now, if the camera system is tied to the DCS [distributed control system] and they get an overflow alarm, the control system can automatically train the camera on the tank the alarm is coming from. So the operator doesn't have to send someone into harm's way to verify the tank is overflowing or the pipe ruptured. And his response time to getting that information is maybe five minutes faster, because he doesn't have to wait until somebody physically gets over there."
So, by improving the response time and understanding what the problem is, the operator can cut down dramatically on the event. He or she can respond and perform appropriate measures more quickly, so fewer chemicals spill and the company loses less inventory.
Pinto's presentation covers some industry trends he hopes will shed light on these issues:
Productivity is now a global race between regions and nations, said industry author and Wednesday's keynote speaker, Jim Pinto. He'll discuss how third-world countries are demonstrating ultracompetitive manufacturing plus world-class engineering skills and innovation. "This poses new and serious challenges to presumed American leadership in the old economy," he said. Pinto will outline what the U.S. must do to maintain leadership in the new age.
"Major benefits of automation are reduced manpower, faster throughputs, improved quality, and reduced skill levels," he said. "Up into the 1990s, few industrial gurus and fewer political leaders perceived how this would couple with globalization and free trade trends to cause massive disruptions as to where and how the world's goods are produced.
"Along with ultracompetitive manufacturing capabilities, third-world countries are demonstrating engineering and R&D capabilities. These, coupled with global energy, environmental concerns, and reappearing humanitarian dilemmas, pose new and serious challenges to the well-being of the American economy."
Pinto said engineers must define the problem before they can solve it. And he doesn't believe most professionals really understand the recent loss of jobs and economical downturn.
John Sieg, managing director of corporate operations at DuPont and Tuesday's keynote speaker, will share DuPont's road map, which puts the focus of manufacturing on performance. To improve performance, you must first define and measure it, he said. His presentation will stress that automation and controls are essential for operational excellence in manufacturing, and organizations need leadership to drive improved performance. Sieg will talk about how automation professionals must continue to develop skills to optimize the return on technology investments.
Gregory C. Jenson, chief technology officer for SAFLINK Corporation in Bellevue Wash., is a biometric technology authority. Jensen said the main idea he wants people to come away with is "biometric technology provides a totally unique combination of better security and more convenience in a single technology." Jensen will talk about fingerprint recognition, iris recognition, speaker verification, facial recognition, and hand geometry.
The technology sees use now in government, financial services, health care, manufacturing automation, pharmaceuticals, and in automotive applications for automobile ignition. "With this technology, if you lose your car keys [with remote control], someone can't just find your car in the parking lot and drive off," he said. "But that's more futuristic. Systems in use today are point of sale systems, access control systems [for accessing ramps at airports or at restricted areas—perhaps a clean room at a manufacturing facility]," he said. And, of course, the technology covers access to computers and information systems, information on configuring policies, or settings for manufacturing equipment.
"On the convenience side with biometrics, we like to say you can't leave home without it," Jensen said. "On the security side, it's been made pretty prevalent in people's minds that doing something like fingerprint and iris scanning is a real secure technology, but it's not James Bond anymore; it's in use by people worldwide everyday."
Why? It can speed up user authentication. "As you move to online processing systems, keeping track of audit trails—people have traded in initialing a clipboard for an automated system to provide an audit trail," he said. "For some people, that requires them to type in a pin number or access code hundreds of times per shift. This task would be much faster and more reliable with biometric technology. I like to think of it as a secure and auditable button. If you walk up to a panel and inspect a system and your job is to say it passed your inspection, you can literally press your thumb on a green button that says 'pass,' and you know it was your approval, and you can move on just that quickly. It's a great time-saver and improvement to process efficiency. And at the same time, almost for free you get a guaranteed audit trail."
Stay in touch
Ethernet, Foundation fieldbus, and Profibus are on the agenda for sessions surrounding automation's connectivity equation. This symposium will delve into alternative equipment technologies, interface issues, and wireless communications technologies for various industrial applications.
"Wireless networking for sensor arrays and condition-based monitoring is expanding rapidly in the industrial space," said Marty Gilroy, director of marketing at 3e Technologies International (a wireless infrastructure and application company) in Rockville, Md., and a member of the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance, a co-sponsor of the Industrial Networking & Communications Symposium.
"Hackers can crack anything today—and a sensor network open as prey can wreak havoc on a manufacturing company," he said. Gilroy's speech will focus on industrial applications, how to implement a secure wireless network, and what the derived benefits would be.
Attendees of this symposium will get an overview of current and future wireless system technologies for their applicability in the industrial environment. Integrating traditional wire-based and wireless systems and networking strategies are key topics. If you share data between control systems, you'll probably need a lot of hardware, software, and configuration tools. The OPC session will give you a heads up on the benefits and drawbacks of using OPC, how to link diverse equipment into effective networks, and how to justify the move to OPC. Sessions will also cover distributed processor systems and case studies in water treatment, as well as data transmission and quality.
Pinto will give his version of assessments and projections for American industry and jobs in the next decade.
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