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The dangers of eliminating the Chemical Safety Board

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:14:00 -0400

The United States Chemical Safety Board is a federal watchdog with more bark than bite. It has five board members, a tiny staff of less than 50 and a budget of some $11 million a year. Its mission is to investigate fires and explosions in oil refineries and chemical plants.

Cassandra coefficient and ICS cyber – is this why the system is broken

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:06:00 -0400

Chapter 9 of Richard Clarke and R.P. Eddy’s book, Warning – Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes, is defining the “Casandra Coefficient”. In reading the chapter, many of the issues that have prevented industry from adequately addressing ICS cyber security becomes evident.

Maple Systems cMT Smart HMI series

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:56:37 -0400

Enables control and monitoring of the HMI from Windows PCs, and Apple/Android smart phones and tablets.

A selection guide to video walls

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:42:00 -0400

Selecting the right video wall technology for your unique priorities can be challenging. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what constitutes a video wall, some of the technology behind video walls and five types of video walls used for different applications – from basic to complex.

Insecure process sensors can create safety, security, and resilience vulnerabilities

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:33:00 -0400

There are various threat scenarios which confront our entire national critical infrastructures that involve insecure process sensors. These scenarios can lead to loss of safety and resilience and to be addressed.

Secure your IIoT infrastructure

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:24:00 -0400

Methods and technologies IIoT managers can use to improve network cybersecurity

The latest expansions and contractions - August 2017

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:14:00 -0400

Honeywell completes Nextnine acquisition; GE Digital unveils new service model industrial software solutions; Waterfall Security Solutions announced partnership with FireEye Inc.

Uniform interfaces unify biotech operations

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:27:00 -0400

While working to consolidate and automate its manufacturing processes for raw-material antigens, Grifols Diagnostic Solutions in Emeryville, Calif., recently implemented a process that allowed staff to view data from process operations side-by-side.

How to Motivate Management and Millennials (M&Ms)

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 19:00:00 -0400

The key to a much brighter future of our profession depends upon management providing the funding and support and millennials seeking to improve process performance by the use of the best automation and process control. There are some common approaches to these seemingly very different groups.

Management is focused on the bottom line that may be as short term as quarterly results. If management has only business degrees, this may be the primary and perhaps the only motivation. If management also has a technical degree, there can be an additional motivation to advance the knowledge and technology used to make processes safer and more productive. Technical people are intrigued and attracted to new more powerful developments in technology.  An upcoming Control Talk column with Walt Boyes will give considerable insight into how management thinks.    

Millennials choose engineering as a major because they were interested in technology and having a positive impact on people and systems by using and advancing the latest technologies. Unfortunately, students have a negative image that industry is seemingly low tech, routine, and “down and dirty”. Peter Martin aptly discussed the negative view by engineering graduates of working in industry and the missing understanding of opportunities that meet their altruistic motivation in his July 2017 ISA Interchange post “The Challenges of Attracting Millennial to Industrial Careers”. Another goal of engineers may be to make money and seem important by moving on and becoming a manager.   

The use of the best and highest tech hardware and software in automation and process control can yield impressive improvements in process safety and performance that are much faster and less expensive than changing process equipment. Unfortunately, management is often not aware of this as discussed in the May 2017 Control Talk column “The Invisibility of process control”.

What can possibly work to impress both management and millennials are demos that show the benefits and use of new technologies. The “before” and “after” cases should show benefits of increases in process performance in terms of dollars with a running quarterly total moving forward showing continuous improvement from knowledge gained.  Since time is precious and concentration spans are short, the summary of dynamic runs can be presented in terms of trend charts of benefits for changes in demand and supplier feeds. “Seeing is believing.” The reality of being able to adjust to a dynamic world is inspiring. For engineers, a chance to see live demos may increase interest because of the dynamics. The emphasis should be on how fast and beneficial are the results from using the best technology. See the August feature article “Virtual Plant Virtuosity” for how to develop high tech solutions that impress the M&Ms satisfying altruistic and monetary motivations.

I love M&Ms and there are so many flavors now. See if you can enjoy the M&Ms that determine our profession as much as the M&Ms that satisfy your cravings. Maybe M&Ms can be a totally sweet deal.

MCAA: Instrument/automation market to reach $14 billion by 2021

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:17:00 -0400

Report says growth will be concentrated in five industries: chemicals, electric utilities, oil refining, food and beverage (F&B), and pharmaceuticals, with cumulative market gain hitting $2.28 billion over the forecast period.

Process, power and plant controls join forces to achieve performance gains

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:38:00 -0400

These three control types have evolved to use more software and digital components, removing many of the functional obstacles between them and allowing them to communicate more freely.

Process sensors have no security yet are effectively being ignored by the security community

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 19:15:00 -0400

Dale Peterson had a twitter poll on asking what people think about the availability of security in sensors, actuators, instruments (Purdue Model Level 0 devices). The response was that most people agreed there was no security. So why isn’t there more of a drive to address this deficiency? 

Abbott Nutrition deploys advanced technologies for improved manufacturing

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:57:00 -0400

ARC spoke with James Li, an engineering manager in the Abbott Nutrition division, about how the company uses big data and analytics to improve manufacturing productivity.

Schneider Electric to acquire ASCO Power Technologies

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:21:00 -0400

Buying the automatic transfer switch (ATS) manufacturer is expected to enhance Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Power Platform in key markets and segments.

Innovation is easy after the difficult job of giving up hardened preconceptions

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:08:00 -0400

'Perhaps inevitably, we've relied on so many technical innovations for so long that they've become invisible. We forget that every tool we pick up is accompanied by its inventor's spirit at our elbow,' says Jim Montague.

Yokogawa buys chemical injection firm TechInvent2 AS

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 15:22:00 -0400

TechInvent2 AS holds the rights to FluidCom, a chemical injection metering valve which prevents blockages and corrosion in oil wells, pipelines, and other facilities.

Why SOCs are not comprehensive enough for ICS cyber security

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:02:00 -0400

For ICS cyber security, Operations, cyber security, physical security, and risk management organizations need to coordinate and training is required for Operations to know when to work with IT Security following upset conditions.

ISA salutes 2017 fellows, excellence award winners

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 14:49:00 -0400

Presentations will be made at the 55th Annual ISA Honors and Awards Gala on Oct. 29 in Tampa Bay, Florida

Protect your pump and keep it longer

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:22:00 -0400

Nothing damages a pump faster than the build-up of heat from dry running conditions. When there’s no liquid to provide cooling, heat destroys a pump’s bearings.

Rotary encoders: selecting the right sensors for your application

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:14:00 -0400

Choosing an encoder that is exactly matched to the requirements of a job can save time and money by eliminating the need for design compromises and work-arounds. This white paper from Fraba outlines many of the options available and describes how these satisfy the design and operational requirements of motion control systems.