1 August 2006
Open—you hear that word all over the automation industry referring to systems. But when it comes to forums, it doesn’t get any more open than ISA EXPO 2006. In fact, ISA is the only independent open forum in North America. “We have no dog in the race,” said ISA’s manager of convention services, Tracey Berrett-Noble, “so we can offer a broad, open platform for all vendors and protocols about technology, challenges, and successes.”
Refinery Learns Lessons in Hurricane Preparedness
Before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit last year, the U.S. refinery operable capacity was 17,124,870 million barrels per calendar day (bcd), said a Louisiana Department of Natural Resources report on crude oil refineries. Idle capacity was at 118,580 bcd.
Refineries in the paths of these two hurricanes had a total capacity of nearly 6.5 million barrels per day, or 38% of the total U.S. refining capacity. In preparing for Katrina, 28 August 2005, nearly 2.1 million bcd went offline. On 24 September, some refineries were still down when Rita blew through, reducing refinery capacity by another 4 million bcd.
In the wake of mother nature’s wrath, four refineries in the region paid a dear price: Chevron in Pascagoula, Miss., ConocoPhillips in Belle Chasse, La., ExxonMobile in Chalmette, La., and Murphy Oil in Meraux, Louisiana.
What does it take to recover from such loss? On 17 October, at 8:30 a.m., keynoter Peter Batey, ConocoPhillips refinery manager, will discuss “unbelievable” challenges and lessons learned during the 235-day recovery process to put operations at Belle Chasse back on its feet.
Standards Advancing Automation in Manufacturing, sponsored by the Automation Federation, will feature exhibit-floor briefings of key industry standards on security, wireless, human machine interface, hazardous locations, safety integrated systems, enterprise integration, and more. Attendees will gain insights on the status of works in development and on best practices for implementation with updates on activities underway within ISA, WBF, and OMAC working groups.
“Things you take for granted, like communications, transportation, and accommodations, became huge stumbling blocks in our recovery efforts,” Batey said. “There’s no training for the combination of challenges we faced.” Recovery workers contended with 5- to 8-foot floodwaters and extensive wind damage. Employees and contractors logged more than 2.5 million safe work hours to get the 247,000 barrel-a-day refinery in working condition.
When Bad Things Happen to Smart People
The 1974 explosion in Flixborough, U.K., killed 28 people because of a failure of a temporary pipe. The designers didn’t look to experts; there was no other professional mechanical engineer on site. But there were many chemical engineers. If any of them suspected the temporary pipe might be unsafe, they never said so. If they had, they might have prevented the accident.
On 18 October, at 9:00 a.m., Trevor Kletz, Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University, U.K., and Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Centre, Texas A&M University, will cover half a century of accident investigations during the 2006 Rimbach Lecture.
Even though the process industries have been developing formal programs and keeping records on safety, lost time accidents, explosions, and fires, engineers are sometimes surprised to find equipment doesn’t live up to their expectations. Often, it’s because the designer isn’t aware of some feature of the plant or process.
There is no simple way of preventing these errors, Kletz said. “Hazard and operability studies will help, but only if the teams have a good understanding of what is scientifically possible and of the sort of errors that have occurred in the past.”
“People must have noticed poor or impracticable designs,” he said. “Perhaps some of those who saw them thought they looked odd but assumed the designers knew what they were doing and might resent any questioning of their work. If we suspect a design is unsafe or ineffective, we should say so.”
is a new venue for attendees to get savvy about future innovations arising from bright minds of emerging technologists, along with commercial innovations of today’s automation hardware, software, and service suppliers presented in traditional exhibits.
Birds of a Feather
New to EXPO this year, this special forum represents what ISA is all about. “We don’t have a scripted story, but we want to offer a forum for real users to talk to other real users about real issues,” said Berrett-Noble. On 17 October, at 11:45 a.m., industry experts will flock together in a roundtable setting to talk about their experiences in the industry, good and bad.
Safe and Secure with Wireless
“Perhaps you can feel it in the air; a convergence of ideas is coming from the IT, wireless, and process arenas, all focusing on security of wireless systems for Industrial Settings,” said Peter Fuhr, chief technology at Apprion, Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif. On Tuesday, 17 October, at 11:45 am, Fuhr will moderate a panel of world-renown experts who promise to offer insights into current and future practices in the realm of safety and security of all things wireless. Panelists include: Jose Gutierrez, Emerson Electric; Hesh Kagan, Invensys; Sicco Dwars and Berry Mulder, Shell Global Solutions; David Lafferty, British Petroleum; Nacer Hedroug, Eli Lilly; and Greg LaFramboise, Chevron.
Stimulate, Educate, Debate
Check out the Automation Federation booth (Booth 2600) to hear authors and industry associations offer insights on automation issues. ISA book authors will talk on automation technologies and applications covered in their books. You’ll also hear leaders of automation societies discuss their organizations’ missions and activities.
Industry legend Dick Morley returns to ISA EXPO 2006 on 19 October at 11:45 a.m. with Dick’s Last Retort to lead an irreverent panel discussion on technology innovation.
“In 1900, engineers were paid twice as much as doctors and lawyers,” Morley said. “But something’s happened. We’re standing on a melting iceberg and merely moving the deck chairs up.”
The goal is to stimulate, educate, and argue, Morley said.
Potential subjects include, government restraints, social impact, future technology, China and jobs, and your personal career. Questions up for debate could include: Are standards a good thing? Is ISA a good organization? Why are you in the box?
ISA EXPO 2006 goes wireless
Free wireless Internet access throughout the Reliant Center.
Embracing the Youth
If you’re a recent graduate, a professional under 30, or even a college student, you’ll get a chance to mingle with other young professionals in the automation industry at the first YAP Fest for young automation professionals on 19 October. ISA designed this event to give students and young professionals their own venue to network with peers and veterans, learning what worked for them in the automation field and valuable insights they learned in school and as members of societies like ISA. Attendees will also have chances to win a free Alienware PC and Video iPod. Lunch and snacks are free all day, as is music from a local band. The event also allows free admission to the ISA EXPO 2006 exhibition and Wednesday’s technical conference program as well as 80% off the ISA book of your choice.
The Student Games return this year with student teams from around the world solving real-life problems. This year, the action happens on the exhibition floor.
Twelve teams will compete this year from Canada, Mexico, Russia, Italy, and the U.S. The Awards Program in the exhibit floor auditorium will present Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals to the winners. Automation & Control Solutions. A division of Honeywell International, and Emerson Process Management will pose questions and provide equipment for the event. ISA sponsors include the ISA Power Industry Division, Analysis Division, and the Life Members Committee. Other sponsorships are available. Contact Laura Crumpler at 919-990-0232 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.