18 June 2008

Wireless working in a refinery

Wireless is the rage in the industry these days, there is no doubt about it. But when Alan Autenrieth, team leader at ConocoPhillips asked how many people in the audience of well over 200 at the Honeywell Users Group Americas Symposium 2008 in Phoenix, Ariz., were using wireless, only about 20 stood up.

When he asked a few more questions only one or two were left standing. Does that mean there is slow adoption or a great sales opportunity? Only time will tell.

"Wireless is a new tool in our toolbox," Autenrieth said.

Autenrieth talked about his company's wireless solution installed at its Sweeny Refinery.

Some of the main questions he said a user should ask is about security, how you can make the system fault tolerant, bandwidth, a portfolio of sensing devices, and are you able to share data across multiple platforms.

"You don't want to be limited in bandwidth," Autenrieth said. "Bandwidth flexibility is very important."

Another key element to look at is being able to reuse a solution over again. "One area to avoid is re engineering the same wireless solution every time," he said. After discussing tips on what to look for in a wireless solution, he went into the economics behind wireless and the disparity between wiring a solution and using wireless. Autenrieth said the wireless deployment at the Sweeny Refinery was a success, but at the end of the day he just said the solution "needs to be secure and reliable."

posted by ISA at 2:43 PM