Jan 19

Hyperion Systems and RSI Join Forces to Create HyperionRSI Simulation

It’s always interesting to see some activity in the world of independent software and solution providers.  The market for operator training simulation (OTS) software is dominated by the big automation suppliers, so it was god to see this press release from Hyperion Systems announcing a new joint company formed with RSI called Hyperion RSI Simulation that will serve markets in Russian Federation and CIS, the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), India, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.  ARC sees increased investment in more sophisticated forms of operator training simulation as the process industries continue to lose their pool of highly qualified and trained workers.

From the press release:

The new company combines the experienced simulation specialists from Hyperion Systems Engineering Ltd with the proven capability of the IndissPlus dynamic simulation technology increasing the market coverage and capabilities of the RSI Group to create the world’s largest control system-independent supplier of simulation solutions.

Dr Symeon Kassianides, CEO Hyperion Systems Engineering said: “We are very pleased to have created this new company with RSI that has significant regional synergy with RSI’s historic business activities. Many of the Hyperion simulation specialists that have transferred to the new company, have experience of working with IndissPlus on projects that we have been assisting RSI with for the last two years.”

Mr Philippe Vacher CEO RSI said: “The creation of the jointly owned company will enable our clients to benefit from the closer proximity offered by having HyperionRSI Simulation within the RSI Group and provide greater geographic coverage for IndissPlus customers worldwide. The resulting increase in the total team also enhances the RSI Group’s overall delivery and support capacity as we will be able to leverage the experienced resources from HyperionRSI Simulation wherever appropriate.”

You can read the entire press release here.  


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Jan 13

ABB in Canada receives TÜV certification for safety system design, engineering and delivery

ABB recently announced that its operations in Canada have been certified by TÜV SÜD as having in place and applying a Functional Safety Management System (FSMS) for the design and engineering of safety instrumented system (SIS) projects in accordance with industry good practice safety standards. These standards include IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 for the integration and implementation of safety instrumented systems.

TÜV SÜD is one of the world’s leading accredited specialists in the assessment and certification of organizations and products to international safety standards, with the mission to protect people, the environment and property against technology-related risks.  You can read the entire press release here.

ABB in Canada receives TÜV certification for safety system design, engineering and delivery

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Jan 13

Yokogawa Wins Control System Order for new Refinery in China

Yokogawa China has received an order from PetroChina Yunnan Petrochemical Co., Ltd. to deliver control systems for an oil refinery that is being built in China’s Yunnan Province. With an annual output of 10 million tons, this will be one of the largest refineries in southwestern China.  You can read the press release here.

From the news release:

As most of China’s oil refineries are located along the country’s east coast, the high cost of transporting oil products to inland regions is a concern. As a national priority measure, a pipeline is being constructed that will transport 23 million tons of crude oil annually from Myanmar to China. To receive and process the oil from this pipeline, multiple oil refineries (total annual capacity: 20 million tons) and an ethylene plant (annual capacity: 1 million tons) will be built in Yunnan Province, with work on these facilities to be completed by 2020. The refined oil products and ethylene from these plants will be sent on to other plants in Yunnan Province and other inland regions, significantly reducing transportation costs.

In the first stage of this project, PetroChina Yunnan Petrochemical is constructing an oil refinery (annual capacity: 10 million tons) in the Anning Industrial Park, 40 kilometers from Kunming City. This will be one of the largest refineries in southwestern China, and it will start operation in 2015.

Yokogawa Wins Control System Order for Large Oil Refinery in Southwestern China

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Jan 06

Emerson Acquires Cascade Technologies, LTD.

Emerson recently announced it had acquired Scotland-based analyzer supplier Cascade Technologies Ltd.  The company uses a unique technology called Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) in its devices that allows for simultaneous measurement of multiple gases.  ARC has been saying for some time that we expect Emerson to increase its presence in the world of sensors and measuring devices, which is concurrent with its strategy of “pervasive sensing”.  However, these are not the simple and cheap sensors that so many are espousing are the wave of the future — these are highly specialized devices.  You can view Cascade’s web site here.  

You can read the description of Quantum Cascade Laser technology here.  It’s a relatively new technology and commercial products based on QCL were recently made available in in the early to mid-2000s.  Cascade’s web site has a nice description of the technology:

The Company’s technology is based on a principle called Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS), which measures the concentration of species in gaseous mixtures using tunable diode lasers and laser absorption spectrometry. Compared to other measurement techniques, such as paramagnetic detectors (“PMD”) and Chemi-luminescence, TDLAS offers multi-element detection capabilities, high accuracy with a wide dynamic range, low maintenance requirements, and a long life cycle. The use of lasers as spectroscopic light sources allows for high resolution spectroscopy (HRS), with QCLs offering access to the valuable mid infrared (MIR) part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Press Release: Emerson Acquires Cascade Technologies Ltd.

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Jan 05

New Artificial Lift Optimization Study from ARC

ARC Senior Analyst Tim Shea has completed our new Artificial Lift Optimization study, which is now available for purchase.

Tim Shea

ARC Senior Analyst Tim Shea


For decades, upstream operating companies have been employing some sort of artificial lift technology to increase production of mature wells, both onshore and offshore. The technology is also being widely employed in newer, unconventional wells to help offset the steeper decline rates and maximize the production over the life of an individual well.

Now, as owner-operators, independent E&P companies, and other industry stakeholders try to squeeze out more profits per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) produced in the face of today’s declining prices, we’re seeing increasing demand for sophisticated software and service-based solutions designed to optimize the typically hardware-based artificial lift systems. ARC Advisory Group recently published research on this exciting and dynamic market. This ARC Insight report will highlight some of the findings.

It well known that the era of “easy oil” has past, with “unconventionals” such as shale oil and gas, ultra-deep water and subsea energy sources rapidly becoming the new normal. In this environment, owner-operators and independent E&P companies realize the value of investing in automation and other technology solutions to enhance production, optimize recovery, and help ensure more efficient operations with fewer experienced personnel.

ARC Advisory Group clients can view the complete report at this Link.

If you would like to buy this report or obtain information about how to become a client, please Request ARC Info

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Dec 16

Emerson Electric Sells Its Power Transmission Business for $1.4 Billion

Emerson Electric Announced on Monday its intent to sell its Power Transmission business to Regal Beloit Corporation for $1.4 billion in cash.

According to the Emerson web site, the Power Transmission business “Power Transmission Solutions is an industry leading producer of mechanical power transmission drives, components and bearings. Our products serve a wide range of industries and applications, including aggregate, forestry and wood products, grain and biofuels, power generation, food and beverage and HVACR.  Product offered include bearings, couplers, drive components, fearing and conveying components.  Brands include Browning, Jaure, Kop-Flex, McGill, Morse, and others.

According to the NYT article referenced below, the company will use the proceeds to buy back shares next year

New York Times Dealbook: Emerson Electric Sells Power Business to Regal Beloit

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Dec 16

Honeywell Outlook Presentation Reveals Impact of Falling Oil Prices

Everyone at ARC is asking us what we think of the rapid decline in oil prices over the past couple of months. Obviously the drop in prices is having an impact on projects that are happening right now and in the shorter term, but will this price decline be ongoing along with a decline in all the growth we have been experiencing in the industry?  It’s too early to tell, but the long term history of oil prices tells us that prices will increase again and the hunt for increasingly hard to find new sources of petroleum will continue.  The drop in oil prices has not halted all activity in the industry and is actually a benefit for some industries downstream.  Not many supplier companies have issued new guidance on how they believe plunging oil prices may affect their business performance, so naturally we were intrigued when Honeywell announced their revised guidance in their most recent 2015 outlook presentation.  The summary: Minimal impact to 2015, with some industries actually benefitting.  Slide 12 explains it all.

Honeywell 2015 Outlook (PDF)

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Dec 10

Yokogawa Ends the Year with a Bang: New CENTUM Release with Network-IO

The next generation of flexible, configurable I/O for process automation systems seems to be the hottest topic of discussion in the DCS world and several suppliers have released their version of DCS I/O solutions that can overcome the issues associated with late project changes and the need for greater flexibility and configurability.   Yokogawa is the latest major automation supplier to release their version of configurable I/O in the latest release of the CENTUM process automation system, which was officially unveiled at a press conference at Yokogawa Corporation of America in Houston.

Network-IO Combines Hardware Flexibility with Software Configurability

The new I/O offering is called Network-IO (N-IO), and it’s a major part of the new CENTUM system release, along with the new FieldMate Validator tool and Automation Design Suite (AD).  Let’s look first at Network-IO and how it’s different from some of the other offerings in the marketplace today. If you look at the current set of configurable I/O offerings today they tend to focus on one of two approaches — hardware based flexibility or software-based configurability.  Hardware-based flexibility involves some kind of plug in module that goes into a rack that characterizes the type of signal (AI, AO, DI, DO, etc.).  You can plug the module into any slot in the chassis so there are no limitations in terms of adding I/O points at late stages in the project and you are not bound by the limitations of hardware.  The other approach is to have software based configurability for different I/O points in the module, which provides similar benefits. Instead of plugging in a characterization module you configure the point depending on what kind of input or output you have.

The Yokogawa approach to Network-IO combines elements of both hardware-based flexibility and software configurability.  N-IO features an I/O module that can handle up to 16 I/O points and is software configurable so the end user can choose AI, AO, DI, or DO for each point.  Special hardware-based adapters can be used for pulse and relay I/O.  The new I/O module results in a 40 percent reduction compared to the current footprint of existing conventional I/O.

Intrinsic safety is another area that will be addressed by N-IO.  Yokogawa has a large installed base in EMEA, Japan, and Asia, where IS approaches are widely used.  As part of the release, Yokogawa also announced that it has signed OEM agreements with Pepperl+Fuchs and MTL, under which Yokogawa will private label base plates from both suppliers in combination with N-IO modules and the intrinsic safety barrier products from both companies.

Yokogawa Network-IO

Yokogawa Network-IO


FieldMate Validator will Reduce Installation Costs, Time to Startup

Network-IO allows for project cost reductions by decreasing the amount of time needed to implement the physical part of the process control system.  A system with configurable I/O allows “late binding”, where the software configuration of the system can be loaded into the physical system itself at a late stage in the project.  Another key area of cost reduction for process automation systems is field device installation, commissioning, and checkout.  Yokogawa’s new FieldMate Validator tool addresses this issue by interfacing with field devices connected to Network-IO to check the integrity of the field wiring and verify correct device operation.  Conventional methods for field device and wiring and checkout can be time consuming.  In a conventional system, wiring and instrument checkout had to be done upon complete system, wiring, and device installation.  Then it requires people in the control room on the DCS workstation and field technicians to check out the wiring simultaneously from both sides.

FieldMate Validator, which is part of the FieldMate field device management software suite from Yokogawa, establishes a connection with the N-IO module and can check the status of the wiring in real time for all instruments connected to the module without requiring the full installation of the DCS.  The ability to checkout wiring and field devices prior to full system installation can reduce project time to completion significantly because all these functions can be performed prior to system startup and it can be done with fewer personnel.

Automation Design Suite Provides new Perspective on System Engineering

The third major aspect of the CENTUM V6.01 release is the Automation Design Suite (AD Suite). The system engineering process is another area where users are looking to reduce time to completion, overall cost, and to enable new engineering approaches such as concurrent engineering where multiple engineers around the world can all work on the same project.  AD Suite is a fully integrated engineering platform that includes industry templates for engineering things like heat exchangers and other types of process equipment.  AD suite can manage functional design documents along with control program master data from the CENTUM database. This simplifies history management when programs are modified and makes certain that the latest design information is available when system expansion, modification, or maintenance is performed.  Yokogawa also offers a Global Application Repository that can be used to support projects so users can truly engineer from anywhere at any time.

This latest release of CENTUM can be viewed both as a series of new product offerings and as a suite of project optimization tools that are designed to address many of the key requirements of end users today – reducing overall project costs, shrinking time to project completion, and allowing for a collaborative environment in which users can best deploy their global resources. To do all these things requires a complete rethinking of traditional and conventional automation solutions, and this latest release marks a major step forward in these goals.

Link to Press Release: Yokogawa Releases CENTUM VP V6.01 Integrated Production Control System: Agile and Intelligent System Configuration and Engineering


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Dec 01

New Process Industry Wireless Survey by ARC Advisory Group

ARC Advisory Group is conducting a survey to evaluate process industry end-user experiences with wireless field devices (transmitters, valves, adapters, etc.) and with wireless for field mobility. In addition, ARC wants to understand end-user practices and plans for their future plant wireless deployments.

Who should take this survey?

End users in the process industries (oil, gas, petrochemical, chemical, etc.) such as plant managers, process engineers, project engineers, instrument engineers/technicians, operations personnel, or others in process manufacturing companies that use or plan to use wireless technology in their plants.

Others with wireless experience such as engineers and managers at EPC firms, consultants, system integrators, and wireless equipment suppliers are also welcome to respond.

Why should you take this survey?

ARC appreciates your participation in this survey as it will contribute to a valuable analysis of the industrial wireless market. In appreciation, ARC will send all valid respondents a complimentary copy of the aggregate survey results which will help you better understand where wireless technology is being used to obtain business value. ARC asks for your business email address for this purpose. This information will be kept confidential and only aggregate survey information will be reported by ARC.

Take the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ARCProcessWireless2014

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Nov 25

Enterprising Manufacturers Connect at Rockwell Automation’s 23rd Annual Automation Fair Event

Report from ARC automation expert Craig Resnick on the recent Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group meeting and Automation Fair last week in Anaheim:

Craig Resnick

Rockwell Automation’s 23rd annual 2014 Automation Fair event in Anaheim, California was held with an event-wide focus on The Connected Enterprise.  The Automation Fair event was held Nov. 20 and 21.  This year’s exhibits showcase advanced power, control and information solutions that secure shared information with suppliers and consumers across processes and facilities.  Attendance was about 10,000, with about 4,850 customers from around the globe, with over 144 exhibitors from members of its Partner Network program, which includes encompass partners, solution partners, OEM partners, alliance partners, universities, publications, and standards organizations.  9 industry forums were also held for OEM, Food & Beverage, Mining, Safety OEM, Connected Enterprise, Oil & Gas, Power & Energy, Safety, and Water & Wastewater.  At the event, attendees have free access to 99 technical education sessions, 18 hands-on labs, and 17 workshops to receive professional development credits.  This is often the driving force that helps Rockwell Automation’s customers justify event attendance.

Before Automation Fair, the annual Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting was held on Nov. 17 and 18.  Attendance was over 900, from 30 countries and 22 industries, with 20 educational sessions being offered to attendees.  On Tuesday, Nov. 18, global media and industry analysts attended the half-day media forum, Automation Perspectives, to hear how manufacturers and producers are operationalizing The Connected Enterprise, discussing the benefits, such as improved flexibility and agility in meeting demand, and its challenges, including increased security risks. Speakers addressed the role of information-enabled machines at the site-level, best practices for employee training and utilization, and ways to manage uptime in facilities.  They also discussed the role of remote asset management, business growth with their customers, and how MES brings it all together.

There were a number of announcements made throughout the week:

Rockwell Automation and AT&T to Work Together to Make Smarter Machines

Rockwell Automation and AT&T are collaborating to improve remote asset utilization and connected machine management. The companies plan to deliver cellular solutions that help enable Rockwell Automation customers to more securely collect, manage and take action on data from industrial equipment located in plants and remote sites around the globe.

By bringing together the AT&T Global SIM and M2X Data Service platform with Rockwell Automation cloud-enabled service offerings, customers can connect automation assets and industrial machinery to remote experts. This allows for more timely and proactive preventive maintenance and operational improvement practices throughout the life of these assets.

The companies are also working to develop reference architecture and validated designs for cellular IoT deployments within industrial sites. These tools will help guide customers in the design and use of cellular connected assets in ways that can complement the existing in-plant network infrastructure. This will help plant owners to leverage connected machine management services offered by multiple equipment suppliers without overburdening their in-plant network infrastructure or violating enterprise security standards.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Develop Design and Implementation Guide for Deploying Wireless Equipment in The Connected Enterprise

Rockwell Automation and Cisco announced the release of a white paper and design and implementation guide titled, “Deploying 802.11 Wireless LAN Technology within a Converged Plantwide Ethernet Architecture.” The detailed design guidance will help control system engineers, IT network engineers, and system integrators implement IP-based wireless networks.

The guide provides information on 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions within a Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture, including design considerations for fixed position, nomadic and mobile equipment use cases. It also includes explanations for how to configure, maintain and troubleshoot WLAN for each use case, and detailed documentation on how the architectures were tested and validated by Cisco and Rockwell Automation. With this new resource, network designers can create a small network within a plant using a single autonomous access point, and scale up to create a larger, unified WLAN architecture.

The recommendations provided in these documents were demonstrated in the Industrial IP Advantage booth at this year’s Automation Fair event in Anaheim, California. The entire booth, a small-scale representation of the CPwE architecture, featured a plant operations control room equipped with a WLAN controller and Cisco Lightweight Access Point. The network extends to process and packaging areas in the booth via the Allen Bradley Stratix 5100 wireless access point/work group bridge, which was jointly developed by Rockwell Automation and Cisco.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco position its partnership as a resource in industry for helping manufacturers to improve business performance by bridging the technical and cultural gaps between plant-floor automation and higher-level information systems. Through collaboration on products, services, validated architectures and educational resources, the two companies seek to help manufacturers converge their network infrastructure, and bring together IT and operations using an IP-based network to help to achieve the connected enterprise.

Rockwell Automation Extends Modern DCS Capabilities with PlantPAx System Update

Rockwell Automation has added new virtualization, batch management and integrated motor control capabilities to its PlantPAx process automation system. With the latest system release, Rockwell Automation extends the capabilities of its modern distributed control system (DCS) platform to help simplify the system’s design, deployment, operation and maintenance.

Integrated Virtualization: Virtualization has become the rule more than the exception in global process facilities. It helps speed system integration time, lower hardware costs and burdens, and extend the lifecycle of plant equipment. The PlantPAx platform now makes it easier for users to implement virtualization. Built into the core documentation of the system is a selection guide that provides guidance and best practices for adopting a virtualized automation system.

Batch Recipe Management: Upgraded batch software more tightly integrates with the PlantPAx system for a range of applications, from small, basic sequencing to large, complex batch and sequencing. With new version-control capabilities, the software automatically tracks recipe changes and genealogy, and provides approval traceability in order to more easily manage recipes. This helps to simplify the management of recipes throughout their life cycle.

Rockwell Automation has also updated the batch and sequence manager in its modern DCS platform. This helps reduce engineering time for process machine builders and system integrators by allowing users to configure sequences directly in the controller. Incorporating batch management and optimizing continuous sequencing, the batch and sequence manager is suited for both skid control and stand-alone process units, such as mixers, blenders and reactors.

Intelligent Motor Control: Through integration with motor control devices – such as the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 520-Series of AC drives, and Allen-Bradley motor starters and electronic overload relays – the PlantPAx system helps ease motor control configuration and delivers diagnostic information directly to the operator at the HMI level. This helps ease maintenance activities and helps allow operators to diagnose issues before they occur. System users can monitor key process conditions leveraging the EtherNet/IP network. Tying intelligent motor devices into the plantwide control architecture helps make an immediate, measurable impact on asset availability, operational efficiency and energy management.

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