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Cybersecurity depends on cooperation, best practices and constant vigilance



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December 2016 • Volume XXIX • Number 12

COVER STORY 26 / United front

Cybersecurity depends on cooperation, best practices and constant vigilance. by Jim Montague



33 / Wireless hits the open road

37 / How to reduce alarm chatter

As it gains mainstream acceptance and better tools, users are expanding wireless networks to exchange data with more remote applications. by Jim Montague

If it can’t be eliminated at the source, here’s how to use features such as filtering, deadband and time delays without compromising operation or control. by Kevin Brown

CONTROL (ISSN 1049-5541) is published monthly by PUTMAN Media COMPANY (also publishers of CONTROL DESIGN, CHEMICAL PROCESSING, FOOD PROCESSING, THE JOURNAL, PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING, PLANT SERVICES and SMART INDUSTRY), 1501 E. Woodfield Rd., Ste. 400N, Schaumburg, IL 60173. (Phone 630/467-1300; Fax 630/467-1124.) Address all correspondence to Editorial and Executive Offices, same address. Periodicals Postage Paid at Schaumburg, IL, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the United States. © Putman Media 2016. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or part without consent of the copyright owner. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CONTROL, P.O. Box 3428, Northbrook, IL 60065-3428. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Qualified-reader subscriptions are accepted from Operating Management in the control industry at no charge. To apply for qualified-reader subscription, fill in subscription form. To non-qualified subscribers in the Unites States and its possessions, subscriptions are $96.00 per year. Single copies are $15. International subscriptions are accepted at $200 (Airmail only.) CONTROL assumes no responsibility for validity of claims in items reported. Canada Post International Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40028661. Canadian Mail Distributor Information: Frontier/BWI,PO Box 1051,Fort Erie,Ontario, Canada, L2A 5N8.

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December 2016 • Volume XXIX • Number 12

DEPARTMENTS 11 / Editor’s page

25 / Resources

Remain calm and carry on Process automation professionals make a good crowd to be with at trying times.

Whipping up a batch The best materials in a handy guide

12 / Control online Our most recent, valuable and popular offerings at

15 / Feedback

41 / Ask the experts Oil slick sensors for drones? Sensor technologies show promise for low-cost, unmanned aerial monitoring.

43 / Roundup

Controlling the smart cars; Why didn’t the SIS stop Stuxnet?

16 / Other voices Big data analytics help manage assets Prioritize criticality, then use analytics to decide when and how to intervene.

Forced heat Temperature and pressure tools gain new capabilities, form factors and protections.

45 / Products

18 / On the bus

The latest and greatest selections from our editors’ inboxes

Edge computing helps old controllers Offloading even small and simple tasks can open up controller free time.

47 / Control talk

19 / Without wires The final control element frontier Wireless sensor networks offer opportunities to monitor discrete devices.

Chemistry: The unknown can hurt you Recognize aggressive media and know how to specify materials of construction.

49 / Classified/Ad index Find your favorite advertisers listed neatly in alphabetical order.

20 / In process Automation Fair fuels Connected Enterprise, Schneider Electric awards APM users, ISA presents standards and pracrtices awards, Joe Vorih takes over at Omega

50 / Control report Inertia, ignorance and initiative Why I always eventually put down the pizza and write.

CIRCULATION AUDITED JUNE 2016 Food & Kindred Products Chemicals & Allied Products Systems Integrators & Engineering Design Firms Miscellaneous Manufacturers Primary Metal Industries Pharmaceuticals Petroleum Refining & Related Industries

10,221 9,443 9,352 5,993 4,365 4,213 3,999

Electric, Gas & Sanitary Services Rubber & Miscellaneous Plastic Products Paper & Allied Products Stone, Clay, Glass & Concrete Products Textile Mill Products Tobacco Products Total Circulation

3,684 3,349 2,932 1,475 868 126 60,020

D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6


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Remain calm and carry on


eing part of the process control community has given me the privilege of being among automation professionals for days at a time at conferences, expositions and user group meetings. It’s great to be absorbing presentations, looking at products and software on the show floor, and rubbing elbows at social and networking events with our technology-obsessed, somewhat skeptical, polo shirt- and khaki/denim-wearing brothers and sisters of the closed loop. Some of those occasions have coincided with historic and in some cases, traumatic events. Sharing those experiences with a large number of people, live and in real time in a public, yet cloistered community, has given me some of my most powerful memories. The first was at an ISA conference in New Orleans in 1995, for the verdict of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. I was on the show floor as the time approached when the networks were expected to make the announcement. Quite a few exhibitors were using television sets in their booths for monitors and to present videos, and many had rigged makeshift antennas so they could pull in broadcast TV. As the moment approached, each of these TVs gathered a crowd of people. The reception was bad and the speakers were small, so as the verdict was about to be announced, the whole show floor fell silent. When the announcers proclaimed “not guilty,” the crowds of attendees reacted with cheers…or not. In that place at that time, there weren’t a lot of cheers. The most traumatic was the Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 (9/11) attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which took place during that year’s ISA conference in Houston. ISA at first announced that the show would go on, but as people became more concerned about the safety of their homes and families, organizers shut it down early at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Before the show ended, thousands of automation professionals continued to attend sessions, visit exhibits and make the best of the situation.


On Wednesday, ISA cooperated with the City of Houston to hold a blood drive at the conference center, with participation by many conference attendees and exhibitors. Air traffic was shut down, then snarled for about a week, leaving many people extending their stays for days before flights resumed and they could get home. Others shared rides, rented cars and boarded chartered buses to cities all over the country. Part of our team returned on a chartered bus, while I joined three other editors in a rented car back to Chicago. Experiencing 9/11 at ISA with like-minded, calm and especially sane engineering and technical people means I wasn’t there in person to support my wife and family, but it also spared us the opportunity to endure the endless, repetitious, speculative and fear-mongering coverage and conversations that I have since suspected may have subjected many Americans outside of New York to second-hand post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in poor judgment about the degree of risk posed by terrorism in the United States. Think about it. The most recent such event was at Automation Fair on Election Day and especially, the day after. Many of the people on the show floor seemed to have a little extra spring in their step, and there was some gnashing of teeth and genuine tears in the press room, but overall, as in times past, the automation community carried on, apparently more focused on the great technology, know-how and use cases than the turmoil in the outside world. As we put 2016 behind us and prepare to navigate our way through 2017, I hope like me you are able to enjoy being part of the process automation community, and to draw on the strength of its calm and especially sane engineering and technical people to help you make a better world. Happy New Year!


When the announcers proclaimed “not guilty,” the crowds of attendees reacted with cheers...or not.

D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6




ising global demand, climate change concerns and the drive to U.S. energy independence have created a strong environment for innovation in the process control industry. From detecting water in oil and measuring flows of sandy condensate to collecting wellsite data and connecting to the enterprise, Control’s latest State of Technology Report explores key automation issues in the oil and gas industry, and offers best practices for improving operations through technology. state-of-technology-oil-and-gas_pi

Improve business results at the operator interface SPECIAL REPORT

State of Technology:

Oil & Gas

From detecting water in oil and measuring flows of sandy condensate to collecting well site data and connecting the enterprise, this collection of the past year’s coverage of automation issues in the oil and gas industry will show process control professionals at least one way they can improve operations through technology. For more, access our previous report at

In this report, process control expert Béla Lipták provides a deep understanding of the causes of the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, along with the reactor facility design, control and interlock configurations related to each one. Lipták then draws upon his considerable experience to detail strategies by which process control can protect nuclear plants both from common accidents and cyber-attacks. bela-liptak-safet y-cyber-security-nuclear-power

Exelon taps GE Predix SPECIAL REPORT

Béla Lipták on safety:

Cyber security and nuclear power “The weapons of wars of terror will not be limited to biological weapons and dirty nuclear bombs, but will also include software viruses and worms that will wage cyber warfare in attacking our infrastructure and industry, including our nuclear power plants,” says Béla Lipták, process control guru and author of the “Instrument and Automation Engineers’ Handbook,” in the 2009 introduction to this anthology. “My goal with this series of articles is not to spread fear, but to describe the power of process control to protect us.” Along with providing a deep understanding of the causes of accidents, including Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, this anthology describes reactor facility design, control and interlock configurations. Lipták then draws upon his considerable experience to detail strategies by which process control can protect nuclear plants both from common accidents and cyber attacks.

Securing the OT environment

12 D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6

PID options and solutions–parts 2 and 3 Greg McMillan concludes his discussion on getting the most out of your PID. He explores the contribution of each mode and how to estimate performance metrics from tuning settings, among other topics.

ControlGlobal E-News SPECIAL REPORT


Multimedia Alerts


White Paper Alerts

he Industrial Internet promises great opportunity, but to fully realize its potential, the Industrial Internet must be secure. Strategies such as air gapping are ineffective at best, and can provide a false sense of security at worst. The threats to industrial environments are real and growing, including small-time thrill seeking thugs, nation-state hackers and internal staff or contractors. Research and real-world examples are showing a dramatic rise in attacks. In fact, Security magazine reported in 2014 that nearly 70 percent of critical infrastructure companies have suffered a security breach. Securing an operational technology (OT) environment

is significantly different than securing a traditional information technology (IT) environment. What you’re securing is different, and how you secure it is different. IT focuses on digital information protection. OT focuses on people and physical asset protection. To deliver security solutions specific for OT requires an industrial mindset, purpose-built technology and specific OT security expertise. This Special Report presents the best OT security articles, tips and resources from the pages of Control and Control Design. We hope you will find it useful in your journey to success and security. – The Editors


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Cybersecurity is historically the realm of IT, but securing an operations technology (OT) environment is significantly different. Get up to speed on OT security with this collection of articles, including “Where to start with OT cybersecurity,” “Process instrumentation (Level 1) cybersecurity issues,” “New standards for cybersecurity of critical infrastructure,” and an interview with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security cybersecurity director Marty Edwards on avoiding security vulnerabilities when connecting to the IIoT. http://info.

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Béla Lipták on cybersecurity and nuclear power

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editorial team Editor in Chief: PAUL STUDEBAKER Executive Editor: JIM MONTAGUE Digital Managing Editor: KYLE SHAMORIAN Contributing Editor: JOHN REZABEK


design & production team VP, Creative & Production: STEVE HERNER Art Director: JENNIFER DAKAS Art Director: CHRIS YU Senior Production Manager: ANETTA GAUTHIER

publishing team VP, Content and Group Publisher: KEITH LARSON VP, Sales & Publishing Director: TONY D’AVINO 630/467-1300 x 408, Midwest/Southeast Regional Sales Manager: GREG ZAMIN, 630/551-2500, Fax: 630/551-2600 Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Sales Manager: DAVE FISHER 508/543-5172, Fax 508/543-3061 Classifieds Manager: LORI GOLDBERG Subscriptions/Circulation: JERRY CLARK, JACK JONES 888/64 4-1803

executive team President & CEO: JOHN M. CAPPELLETTI VP, Circulation: JERRY CLARK VP, CFO: RICK KASPER

foster reprints Corporate Account Executive: RHONDA BROWN 219-878-6094,


Controlling the smart cars I read parts 1 and 2 of the series, “Controlling the smart cars” (Control, Sept. ’16, p. 52; Nov. ’16, p. 12, www.controlglobal. com/articles/2016/controlling-smart-carspart-2), and have a few thoughts. Regarding the Phase 1, 2, 3 categorization, I think you left some things out when mapping the automobile capabilities. The main omission is the evolution of cruise control. Early systems were mechanical, then electronic, and now adaptive cruise control uses more sensors to do a better job. These systems all fall into the autopilot category, and they all have the feature that the driver can override them at any time. I understand your suggestion that testing should be government-controlled and standardized, but I’m uneasy with this because I’m not sure the government is competent to design tests, and, at least in the short term, could add a lot of cost, delay time to market, and possibly be less rigorous than the testing done by the carmakers. Last, in the future, autonomous or autopilot systems will use continuous machine learning to constantly improve performance. That does have clear analogs in the process control industries. Also in the future, I expect that ongoing learning will be shared across vehicles—once some cars learn to distinguish a police officer from a hitchhiker, many others would gain that same knowledge. Does such shared learning exist in the process control arena? BLAINE BATEMAN, PRESIDENT, EAF LLC

Twelve years ago I had the opportunity to red team agent-based systems. We wrote it up in an IEEE paper, “Attacking agentbased systems” ( org/document/1368415). Attacking agentbased systems is just like attacking a human—a human with limited senses, no way to verify the sensing results, and very little experience. Limited or fully autonomous vehicles are agent-based systems. Some sort of artificial intelligence is receiving sensor input, applying its AI capability, and requesting actions. These are just as easily fooled (accidentally or deliberately)

as the systems I red teamed—these driving AIs are implemented in software, and there will be implementation errors such as those we exploited during our red teaming. RAYMOND PARKS

Where was the SIS? Regarding Joe Weiss’ blog, “Process safety and cybersecurity—they are not the same” ( process-safety-and-cyber-security-they-arenot-the-same), where was SIS bypassed in Stuxnet? To my knowledge, the speed control had no separate safety system guarding it. More practical, and unfortunately frequently occurring, examples are asset management systems on control and safety instruments. Attacks can influence the safety trip point by modifying field transmitter settings. This is commonly seen during security assessments where older logic solvers are used that don’t support HART pull-through and interface directly with the I/O multiplexer. Logic solvers supporting HART pull-through enforce a maintenance mode for transmitter changes, so they offer protection against this type of attack. These scenarios are important during security assessments, which unfortunately are often carried out by companies and consultants not having the necessary mix of cybersecurity and process control skills. SINCLAIR KOELEMIJ

D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6



Big data analytics to manage asset performance DON ROZE T TE


One thing many organizations are not doing today is proactively analyzing historical data to help avoid past failures. 16


aintaining the physical health of your assets can be a challenge, and it becomes even more challenging when your organization is in a “cost cutting mode” while still attempting to optimize performance and maintain safety. Failures such as mechanical failure, operator error or lack of oversight can cause unplanned downtime and significant costs to the organization. For instrumentation and process control professionals, it’s often unclear how their day-to-day actions impact the bottom line. To support larger business goals, process control professionals can adopt an asset performance management (APM) strategy that helps capture and analyze machine data to transform information into strategic actions from the facility floor to the corporate office. Today, most organizations and their maintenance divisions are siloed. As a result, process control professionals may not be aware of maintenance efforts or issues being managed by other reliability engineers in the organization. If maintenance reports and best practices aren’t being shared openly, failures and fixes are repeated. APM initiatives allow institutions to break down organizational silos, enabling all teams to set up realistic operating targets, streamline maintenance and reliability efforts, and strengthen overall asset reliability. A thorough APM program begins with collecting data. The challenge comes in understanding how to organize and prioritize that data. Every facility, plant, unit or organization has hundreds of thousands of instruments generating megabytes of data every minute. Therefore, process historians are more important than ever, and required to store massive amounts of information. Trying to perform advanced analytics on all of this data is nearly impossible and, more importantly, is not an efficient use of resources. The majority of data being collected has little value. and only serves to communicate status information that doesn’t negatively impact the capabilities of the instrumentation. Therefore, process engineers D e c e m b er / 2 0 1 6

should consider which assets—equipment and machines in the plant—to prioritize, so they can apply the appropriate level of data analytics and monitoring to each. For engineers who manage tens to hundreds of thousands of instruments on a variety of control platforms, the first step is identifying the criticality of the instruments and associated assets, meaning the risks and associated costs of a particular asset or equipment failure and how that compares to the other assets. It’s common to manage 75% of instruments with a “run to fail” strategy, but it’s the 25% that qualify as being part of an APM initiative that need to be watched and analyzed more closely. Criticality can be measured on a smaller or larger scale depending on the size and complexity of the organization. For this example, assume there are three levels of criticality: low, medium and high. To help define and explain instrument criticality, consider Figure 1, which shows an “onion layer” example of a given process and the controls around that process. A low-criticality instrument could be described as providing information only (no control or decision-making) and isn’t tied to the layers in the onion (e.g. no safety impact). For example, a low-criticality instrument could be a status indication of whether a pump was on or off, or whether a valve was open or closed. As noted above, these assets would be part of the 75% majority that operate on a “run to fail” strategy and don’t need to be monitored closely as part of an APM initiative. A medium-criticality instrument could be described as part of a control or decision-making group of instruments. For example, take a vessel that should be operated at 250 psig with control that ensures this having three parts: a pressure sensor, a control algorithm and a control element such as a valve. Each of the three elements in this control loop could classify as medium-criticality. In Figure 1, a medium-criticality instrument would be a basic control process or an alarms/operator intervention.

Other Voices

Community emergency response Plant emergency response Physical protection (dikes) Physical protection (relief devices) Safety instrumented system Alarms, operator intervention Basic process control Process

UNDERSTAND THE ONION Every asset has a level of criticality corresponding to its role in safe, effective and efficient operation of the facility.

Finally, a high-criticality instrument could be described as something whose failure to function would either cause a hazardous condition or whose failure to function would not prevent a hazardous condition. In Figure 1, a high-criticality instrument would be part of a safety instrumented system (SIS) or a physical relief. Once an organization has appropriately classified its assets and prioritized its data, the question remains: what comes next? One thing many organizations are not doing today is proactively analyzing historical data to help avoid past failures. Collecting and monitoring data in the short term allows process engineers to identify failures when they occur, but does not help predict or prevent repeat failures. APM allows users to model the critical elements of the process and the interactions between variables and risks or previous failures that are missed in the typical communication network approach used to convey health in the process control system. APM is key in breaking down organizational silos by simply and accurately depicting the health of the assets being managed. From a control system perspective, the process control professional can measure things like number of alarms, alarm rates, number or percentage of controls in

“normal” mode, etc. What the control system can’t easily do is translate these measurements into actionable information. For example, if five alarms currently exist and 9% of the controls aren’t operating in their normal modes, what should be worked on first? APM makes this type of decision easier because it allows the user to see the information from the perspective of the risks it’s mitigating and the assets being protected. Also, the asset health view will contain a more comprehensive or holistic view of the asset as compared to the control system. Breaking down the silos can be done at the intersection of the asset, the strategy used to manage the asset, and the data related to how the asset is being operated today, as well as in the past. Ultimately, companies that standardize processes and proactively leverage historical data will be able to more accurately predict asset failure, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to accelerate and emerging technologies become more readily available, asset-intensive organizations need to disrupt the status quo to transform both the operations as well as the culture around data analytics and reliability. D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6



Edge computing helps old controllers JOHN REZ ABEK


This is no email and Excel box where an occasional or daily lockup or reboot is taken in stride. 18


ne day, the site’s dual-redundant controllers had enough. One of numerous pairs of controllers had been experiencing ever-decreasing “free time,” with creeping loop additions and the burden of a few iterations of manufacturer “point” upgrades. So the processor free time grew perilously low, until one day they stopped. Operators were staring at “@@@@” where measurements used to be, and no one was sure about the condition of millions of dollars of catalyst in a potentially exothermic, runaway reaction. This was a circumstance where their normally staid controls specialist uttered expletives that would have to be deleted. The concept of solving control in smart field devices dates back to a day—circa 20 years ago—when built-for-purpose controllers were expensive. Control systems engineers stressed about scaling their design, so the process’s proportion of fast and slow loops could be solved in the fewest number of controllers. Smart devices capable of edge control afforded the idea that when you bought a transmitter and a control valve for a new loop, you were also buying the computing power and capability to solve that loop. It was scalability that happened without changing controller cards to increase processor speed and memory, and often without even adding another I/O card. Controllers have a lot of other duties besides control. They’re populating the operator’s graphics with the latest measurement updates, passing values to historians and trend packages, and processing operator requests for mode changes and setpoint changes, along with the annunciating, acknowledging, shelving and other functions associated with alarms. Controllers also have duties keeping current with variables passed from other controllers, and from remote I/O, wireless I/O and serial data coming in via Modbus, Profibus, DeviceNet or other serial protocols. And there’s a time slice associated with self-diagnosis and maintaining the readiness of its redundant D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

companion: somehow it has to solve whether it’s time to tag out and hand over its duties to the standby redundant controller. This churn goes on 24/7 and possibly for months or years between shutdowns. Oh yeah, we also expect the controller to process online changes and additions to the control scheme without disrupting the process or causing a bump. This is no email and Excel box where an occasional or daily lockup or reboot is taken in stride. Prior to the spring of 2016, our site had one controller that had been completely devoted to processing serial Modbus I/O. A portion of this I/O was for indicate-only RTD and thermocouple measurements that were wired to a field network of multiplexer or “Mux” boxes. When the Mux vendor announced the platform we had employed for 16 years was in “sunset” status, we replaced 80% of the field network with Rosemount 848T multipoint fieldbus transmitters. All the DCS had to do was scale the Modbus register integer to a temperature. It was uncomplicated, but it had to be done hundreds of times. With the replacement/upgrade of the Mux, all the analog inputs were relegated to the 848T multipoint temperature transmitter. We weren’t sure if we’d see any impact on controller loading. The controller still had to pass a value for operator graphics, faceplates, alarming and historization, but no longer needed to do any scaling. Surprisingly, just offloading this simple task to devices and shifting communications from RS-485 Modbus to fieldbus increased that controller’s free time by 20%. Aging, overloaded controllers, like the pair that froze up a dozen years ago, might get new life from edge control-capable fieldbus devices. Even redeploying simple function blocks has an observable impact, and the effect of solving increasingly complex function blocks like pressure and temperature compensation, signal selectors, averaging, and PID should be proportionately greater.


The final control element frontier


ireless final control elements, which by their nature require some form of power to actuate, may not be considered a natural fit for wireless communications. However, just as wireless adoption is growing, so too are options to incorporate end actuation devices into the control mix. As discussed in last month’s column (“Refining determinism,” Control, Nov. ‘16, p. 22,, wireless sensor networks (WSN) can be used for closed-loop control with appropriate compensation in the control algorithms to compensate for the inherent lag times associated with signal collection (AI), output publication (AO) and the inherent response time characteristics of the field devices themselves. A less arduous application for WSN and final control element is for on/off valves where a discrete (digital) output (DO) opens or closes the valve. WSNs have the advantage over plain old relay outputs of being intelligent, so they can report back if the device actually opened or closed without additional hardware such as limit switches, cables and discrete input (DI) interfaces. They accomplish this with only tag assignment and some configuration of the wireless actuator and host system. Though they use their own proprietary networks, some manufacturers have been selling similar systems since at least 2009 and continue to offer them for niche applications. However, if you already have an installed WSN such as WirelessHART or ISA100.12a, the infrastructure is in place to connect your devices to an access point able to confirm the status of on/off valves that are only controlled by local switches. Installing an actuator indicator with WSN support on the valve provides local indication of open or closed, and can also connect to the abovementioned infrastructure to convey status. An alternative, if necessary to confirm the physical position, would be to link a Wire-


lessHART or ISA100.12a field adapter with one or two limit switches and associated contact(s) to provide positive identification of the actual valve stem position. Being able to confirm status of isolation valves would be beneficial to verify procedures during normal operations and plant outages, especially for those valves that should always be open or closed, then change during the shutdown or startup. Of course, these valves normally have locks to confirm their status, but this could be a backup system for relatively low cost. This can be done using the WSN access point as an open-protocol-based signal multiplexer. The same concept can and has been used to combine signals from isolated pieces of equipment, then transmit them farther than the conventional mesh network distance to additional repeater points. For example, collected signals can go from barges in tailings ponds or settling basins to the nearest onshore pump station connected to the control system as either a remote node or extension of the network via conventional means such as copper or fiber. Building systems such as this requires using design tools to confirm the network will be able to effectively update the number of signals at the required rate and, equally important, that the signal will be strong enough to be transmitted between the points. The necessary inputs to the program for signal calculations are obviously the distance between each point as well as the terrain, as at typical power levels, WSN remains a line-of-sight application. Program outputs will include the number and location of the repeater points as well as information on antenna requirements to increase signal gain. Wireless sensor networks are approaching the final frontier with more applications pushing the envelope beyond being used as a replacement for wires. Though not yet the “killer app,” they’re enabling unique applications that can’t be done with conventional systems at close to the same cost/benefit ratio.


If you already have a wireless sensor network, the infrastructure is in place to confirm the status of on/off valves that are only controlled by local switches.

D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6


In Process

Automation Fair fuels Connected Enterprise Thousands of visitors took in 110 conference sessions and 150 exhibits at the 25th annual Rockwell Automation Fair on Nov. 9-10 in Atlanta.


he latest innovations get all the spotlight, but it’s consistent implementation and thorough support that keeps them center stage. This is the balanced philosophy carried out by Rockwell Automation’s ( The Connected Enterprise as its seeks the simplest, most effective paths for taking data from plant devices and bringing it up through controls into information systems to help users make better decisions. Not surprisingly, this was also the theme of new president and CEO Blake Moret’s keynote address at the Automation Perspectives press event on Nov. 8 before the fair opened. He described the growing role of communications in improving return on investment for industrial facilities, and how The Connected Enterprise delivers it. “Our 25th anniversary Automation Fair brings us back to Atlanta,” says Moret. “Our second Automation Fair was also in Atlanta. At the time, I was a young sales engineer in our Atlanta office. Among the clients I called on were Coca-Cola and Southwire, and I’m happy to say they’re still good customers. Rockwell Automation has a rock-solid legacy, and we’re taking it forward.”

Links help worldwide Moret identified three major trends driving today’s competitive industrial environment. “First, the rise of the middle class in emerging economies means we must compete in their markets and with them for our business,” he explains. “Second, is the need for more people who can deal with technology—the skills gap. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs going unfilled for lack of people with the right skills and talent for today’s environ20 D ece m b e r / 2 0 1 6

this in service-level agreements where our value-add is expertise in the applications,” explains Moret. “IT provides the know-how to sift data, and we know where to look. And, we can do this on one network. We apply these concepts in our own facilities. They’re not as automation-intensive as many of our customers’ sites—we have lots of manual operations—but the benefits have been amazing and they come from the basics.”

Process Solutions User Group

New CEO on the clock “We need to understand customers’ applications to help define their best opportunities to increase productivity,” says Blake Moret, new president and CEO of Rockwell Automation about its ability to deliver value to its industrial clients.

ment, and this is true worldwide. Automation people are retiring, and struggling to replace themselves. Finally, of course, is globalization itself. We all compete against the very best in the world, all the time.” On the positive side, the decreasing cost of connectivity and components is driving productivity. “And the multiple networks we’ve been using for the field, control and the enterprise are collapsing and converging on Ethernet as the cost of a point falls,” says Moret, who adds that Rockwell Automation has a strategy to implement the needed links. “We call it The Connected Enterprise. You can use it to get to market faster, lower total cost of ownership, reduce unplanned downtime, and manage enterprise risk and compliance.” An important enabler is the convergence of IT and operations technology (OT), taking the best from commercial technology and practices. “We offer

For example, during its own “global process transformation” built on the roll-out of Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk ProductionCentre MES solution across 20 manufacturing facilities, it rationalized business processes and booked enviable improvements in plant performance, supply chain efficiency and customer service. Inventory dropped from 120 days to 82; on-time delivery improved from about 85% to 96%; and quality, as measured by defect rates, improved by 50%. These results were also reported by John Genovesi, vice president and general manager of Rockwell Automation’s Information Solutions and Process business, during his opening address at the annual Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting on Nov. 7. “We’re now in Phase 2,” says Genovesi. Not satisfied with the dramatic yet incremental, the company has started seeking discoveries that spring from analyzing combinations of production data and enterprise data. “Suddenly we can get after warranty problems and relate them back to manufacturing issues,” Genovesi noted. The company also has begun to relate field failure patterns to production variables, and discover new correlations through Pareto analysis. “Much

In Process

It’s estimated that this catch saved approximately $17.5 million in cost avoidance. • New York Dept. of Environmental Protection (www. was a co-recipient of the “Avantis Excellence Award” for continuous improvement in optimizing best practices and work order processing to ensure its treatment plants run safely and efficiently. • R ayonier Advanced Materials ( received the “Milestone Award for 25 Years of Avantis Partnership.” It reported that it first deployed Avantis in 1991, and that its Avantis Asset Management solutions have evolved in alignment with Rayonier’s needs. Their long-term working relationship continues with its use of Avantis.PRO today. • Tennessee Valley Authority ( received the “Avantis PRiSM Nuclear Catch of the Year Award” for early warning to detect a failing condensate booster pump, which saved an estimated $1 million in cost avoidance • Western Refining ( was a co-recipient of the “Avantis Excellence Award” for implementing several innovations that streamlined processes and operations across refining and pipeline operations. • Wipro Ltd. ( received the “eDNA Innovation Award” for developing several advanced applications for National Grid’s gas transmission system in the U.K. “Every day, our customers amaze us with their innovative applications of our Enterprise APM solutions,” says Rob McGreevy, vice president of information, operations and asset management at Schneider Electric. “Our customers are leveraging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications to drive greater return on assets and deliver significant results to their businesses and their customers.”

ISA presents standards and practices awards The International Society of Automation ( Standards & Practices (S&P) department publishes 15-20 new or revised standards and technical reports annually that improve safety, cybersecurity and efficiency in industrial processes. Each year, its governing ISA S&P Board presents department-level awards in recognition of outstanding efforts that resulted in ISA standards or technical reports, or significant outcomes for an ISA standards committee. This year, five individuals won awards at the recent ISA leaders meeting. They were presented by Nicholas Sands of DuPont, who is also vice president for 2015-16 of ISA’s S&P department. The winners are: • Darwin Logerot, ProSys Inc., and David Strobhar, Bev22 D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

ille Engineering, for their leadership and technical contributions as co-working group chairs in their development of the ISA-TR18.2.2-2016, “Alarm identification and rationalization.” • Johan Nye, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, and Kevin Staggs, Honeywell Connected Systems Technology Center, for their leadership, technical contributions and efforts to promote the advancement and adoption of the ISA/IEC 62443 security standards. • Michael Medoff, exida, for his leadership and technical expertise as chairman of ISA99 Working Group 4, Task Group 6 in developing ISA-62443-4-1, “Security for industrial automation and control systems—secure product development lifecycle requirements.”

Vorih hired as new Omega president Omega Engineering ( reported Nov. 9 that it’s appointed Joe Vorih as president of the longtime designer, manufacturer and distributor of process measurement and control products. Vorih’s priority will be to transform Omega from a process sensors supplier into a webbased global partner for complete process measurement and control solutions, including innovative wireless and IIoTready offerings. “Industrial customers today have access to an exponentially-increasing range of new sensing and control technologies,” says Vorih. “With wireless sensing and cloud-based solutions, what wasn’t possible to measure in the past is quickly becoming attractive. With our broad offering of sensing and control products, global technical support and focus on bringing them directly to customers online, Omega is uniquely positioned to be the preferred solutions partner in this exciting market.” Vorih most recently served as president of Clarcor Engine Mobile Solutions (, which he helped transform to better serve OEMs, and establish sales and manufacturing in India. Previously, Vorih served as senior vice president and chief commercial officer at Stanadyne ( where he oversaw its shift from an equipment supplier to a technology solutions partner. He started his career with Danaher Corp. and served in leadership roles in Danaher Motion. Vorih holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “For more than 50 years, Omega has been a brand recognized for quality, customer service and technical support,” adds Vorih. “I’m excited about the possibilities in our future. and honored to have the opportunity to lead a company with Omega’s reputation into another chapter of its growth.”


EXPANSIONS AND CONTRACTIONS • Emerson Automation Solutions reported Dec. 1 that it’s upgrading its Guardian Support program ( guardiansupport) with updated dashboards and faster access to support and education, so users can monitor security and health risks associated with control and software systems, and overcome the increasing complexity of managing multiple automation systems across large enterprises. • Opto 22 ( has joined Dell’s ( IoT Solutions Partner Program and its product and solution ecosystem for connecting real-world signals and industrial devices to the digital world of IT, mobile and cloud computing. The aim of adding Opto 22 to Dell’s IoT Solution Partner Program is to create a rugged hardware platform, data visualization for mobile and web clients, robust industrial automation protocol support including Modbus/TCP and OPC UA, and advanced data flow processing with software development environments. • Siemens ( plans to make its open IoT ecosystem MindSphere and affiliated apps avail-

able on Microsoft’s ( Azure cloud platform during 2017. • The Weidmuller Group ( reports it bought Bosch Rexroth Monitoring Systems GmbH in Dresden, Germany, from Bosch Rexroth AG (www.boschrexroth. com) on Nov. 1 after securing regulatory approval. The acquisition is expected to strengthen Weidmuller’s presence in the wind power industry and expand its solution portfolio for condition-monitoring technologies. The new subsidiary will be renamed Weidmuller Monitoring Systems. • Wood Group ( reported Nov. 16 that it’s secured a $40-million contract by ExxonMobil Chemical ( to provide main automation contractor (MAC) services, including detailed design and site construction of the process control, for a greenfield polyethylene plant to be built in Beaumont, Texas. Wood Group completed the front-end engineering design for the process control systems in 2015.

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Stay ahead of the technology that matters most to your business

STATE OF TECHNOLOGY Get individual reports at:


Whipping up a batch Control’s Monthly Resource Guide ISA BATCH STANDARD SITE



The International Society of Automation (ISA) website has many details about the standard and the activities of its ISA88 committee, including contact information for many of its leaders and members. Articles and resources are also available, and the standards themselves are even available for purchase. The main site is at https://www.

OSIsoft has produced a short video, “ISA S88.01 Standard, V2.0,” as part of its Virtual Learning Lab Environment series of about 30 total videos on how its PI software is used in batch and other applications. It’s located at www.

Following a recent development project at a bottling plant, Design Group, a division of Barry-Wehmiller, produced a 25-minute webinar and video, “Rapid implementation of beverage plant, S88 batch process.” The company added some equipment control modules to the PlantPAx control system at the plant. It’s at com/watch?v=lHngO1NJDOc.



CONTROL’S BATCH GUIDE Control magazine has covered batch for quite awhile, and its archive of batch articles, whitepapers, podcasts, educational resources and other materials is pretty extensive. It’s located at www. CONTROL

McMILLAN ON BATCH In one of the best batch videos ever, Control columnist Greg McMillan delivers a one-hour presentation, “Batch process control—unique challenges and opportunities,” under the auspices of the ISA. It includes thorough examinations of how manufacturers are using modern process controls to maintain quality from one batch to another. McMillan discusses analyzing batch data, elevating the role of the operator, tuning key control loops, and setting up simple control strategies to optimize batch operations. There’s also an extensive list of best practices. It’s at com/watch?v=4k0ne6kF7Kk ISA

OSIsof t www.osisof

Many process engineers and other technical professionals get pretty inspired when they realize that the principles of the ANSI/ISA-88 (S88) standard can be applied way beyond batch control, and none more so than Larry and Jim, the two organizers of Their instructive and humorous website includes numerous resources on the S88 and S95 standards and many other aspects of applying “robust batch design and control.” It includes “an S88.01 tutorial, introduction to S95, ideas on how to sell S88 batch control to management or customers, and links to articles and other sites with batch control themes to aid in your learning and development.” x.shtml

DESign Group

HOW TO PICK A BATCH CONTROLLER This online article, “Considerations for Selecting a Controller- or Server-Based Batch Sequencer,” by John Parraga of Rockwell Automation, show how to identify the right solution by considering the three types of batch and sequencing solutions, which include hard-coded, controller-based and server-based. It’s at www. CONTROL


As part of its multi-video tutorial on its Simatic Batch solution, Siemens presents several subsections on many of the most important terms and concepts, as well as a description of the process model according to ISA88 using the analogy of a kitchen. They’re all located at

This feature article, “Next Steps: From Batch to Procedure-Controlled Automation,” by former Control editor Walt Boyes, show how the principles of batch automation are being used in continuous processes to improve process safety and quality, as well as compensate for losing older, highly experienced operators. It’s located at www.controlglobal. com/articles/2012/boyes-batch-procedure-controlled-automation.




If you know of any tools and resources we didn’t include, send them to with “Resource” in the subject line, and we’ll add them to the website. D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6



UNITED FRONT Cybersecurity demands constant vigilance, but it also requires all parties to look out for each other and share best practices for effective protection.


ou can’t stay awake forever. So even though effective cybersecurity demands ceaseless awareness, monitoring and mitigation, you can’t go it alone. From the overlapping shields of the ancient Greeks to the shift changes and teamwork needed in today’s process industries, we need others we can rely on to spell us and help us succeed. By now, the basics of cybersecurity should be well known by almost everyone: • Turn on passwords and antivirus software; • Separate device and production networks from enterprise/business networks and the Internet with managed Ethernet switches used as firewalls; • Segment operations into functional sub-networks with more firewalls; • Enable read-only functions that allow operations to send out data, but prohibit any incoming instructions or commands; • Adopt and follow appropriate software patching policies; • Train and retrain staff to follow agreed-upon security procedures; • Establish regularly scheduled network traffic evaluation using IT-based software tools that can identify, disallow and purge unauthorized probes and intrusions. However, because dealing with cybersecurity threats and attacks is a constantly evolving

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chore, it doesn’t have an endpoint or final barrier to hide behind and relax. This also means the steps above are just the beginning of what’s needed for effective security. Because time and labor are limited, what’s really required for continuous cybersecurity is better and simpler tools, and cooperation among all of a process organization’s members, integrators, contractors, suppliers and end users. Heck, the bad guys work in teams and share malware tools worldwide, so why shouldn’t the goods guy cooperate to beat them?

Get on the same page “When we talk about security risks, it’s not a matter of when, but rather how one contains and limits the impact of a cybersecurity risk to industrial manufacturing,” says Jim Labonty, director of global automation at Pfizer Global Engineering ( “Every challenge to devices, applications, computers, networks and physical facilities is serious, and needs to be considered when protecting plants and manufacturing sites. The key takeaway is


that no single product, methodology or technology can secure today’s manufacturing control system applications, so we need to collectively work together on all aspects, such as patching software and running antivirus programs, to make sure we’ve established integrated layers of defense.”

Labonty reported that a war on automation infrastructures is underway, and that external intrusions and attacks have been ramping up for the past 10 years. However, he added that control systems can no longer rely on their historically physical isolation because so many now have links

Internet External DMZ/ firewall

Enteprise zone Levels 4 and 5 • WAN and Internet network • Data centers • Enterprise security and network management • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications

Enterprise WAN

Enterprise WAN routers

Demilitarized zone (DMZ)

Patch management Terminal services Application mirror Anti-virus server Access switch

Link for failover detection

Firewall (active)

Firewall (standby)

Stacked Layer 3 access/ distribution switch

Manufacturing zone Level 3

Core switches

FactoryTalk application servers

• Firewalls for segmentation • Unified threat management (UTM) • Authentication and authorization • Application and data sharing via replication or terminal services

Layers 2 and 3—access, distribution and core network infrastructure • Site operations and control • Multi-service network • Routing • Security and network management applications

Network services Remote access server

Stacked Layer 3 distribution switch

Cell/area zone Levels 0-2 Layer 2, industrial Ethernet access switches


VFD Controller

Layer 2—access network infrastructure • EtherNet/IP traffic • Real-time control • Traffic segmentation, prioritization and management • Resilience with fast network convergence

Cell/area (ring topology)

VIRTUAL AND SECURE DATA VIEWS Figure 1: Sugar Creek’s two-year-old meat processing plant in Indiana uses Cisco’s Converged Plantwide Ethernet architecture, which employs virtual desktop interfaces (VDI) with VMware software and servers. The VDIs sit in the network DMZ that’s configured for its suppliers to access their machines. They allow remote logins at the VPN, but make users go to the VDI to see machines and applications. Source: Cisco D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6



ing Pfizer’s—is now in the millions per day, so we’ve got to get cybersecurity infrastructures in place from our global networks down to the plant floor. Our initial cybersecurity designs were usually two network interface cards (NIC), Ethernet and servers, but we’ve been updating them to better designs.” And, as if existing security situations weren’t dire enough, Labonty reports traditional hackers are increasingly joined by nation-states bankrolling teams of attackers breaking into corporate networks down to their lowest levels, mostly to discredit and disrupt their brands.

to higher-level enterprise systems and the Internet to get useful data out. Unfortunately, this creates security vulnerabilities that must be managed. “Pfizer isn’t perfect when it comes to cybersecurity, but we’re working with our plant sites to establish these secure layers,” explains Labonty. “We’re finding that they have different levels of security capabilities, but we also know this is a continuous process for everyone. This is because intrusions and cyber-attacks are growing increasingly sophisticated. In fact, the number of attempted cyber-attacks on most manufacturing sites—includ-

Network ops center CLW private fiber

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Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) controller 16_DO

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WATER SERVICE AND SUBSTATION SECURITY Figure 2: Clarksville Light & Water in Arkansas recently built a 16.7-mile fiber-optic network to help manage its electric, water and wastewater utilities, and implemented Ignition SCADA software and five Bedrock Automation controllers for cybersecure SCADA RTU monitoring and control at each of its substations. This design allows the controllers to connect directly to the fiber-optic cable without added copper connectors, and directs and protects data transfers along CLW’s citywide fiber ring and at the substations. This new network is expected to save CLW up to $2 million over the next five years. Source: Clarksville Light & Water

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“Control systems must establish defense in depth, but they can also look at sending network logs and data back up to users for inspection,” adds Labonty. “This can be very helpful because it lets users see if anything has changed or gone wrong at the control level, which is a huge advantage. Defense in depth strategies can also define authorized traffic, so at Pfizer, we use a series of firewalls as our network goes down to the controls level, where there are more secure zones. Firewalls aren’t too costly, and they can pay back quickly, and report their logs back, too. We’re also using Splunk [] software to analyze network traffic patterns, which gives good indications when something is trying to transgress and a proactive indicator of what to investigate.”

Security joins control, operations Beyond gathering and coordinating available security tools and related players, some users emphasize making cybersecurity part of their regular data acquisition, quality tracking, process safety and other efforts. Dan Stauft, corporate engineer at Sugar Creek (, reports it’s celebrating its 30th year of manufacturing mostly private-label bacon and other food products at its 420,000-square-foot facility and at six other plants it’s integrating. “Previously, we only did data collection for our machines, so we started exploring Inductive Automation’s [] Ignition SCADA software for use with our water treatment and refrigeration, and we’re seeking to link them with our MES system,” says Stauft. “We also do manual quality assurance logs to prevent recalls, so we’re also putting in place better temperature monitoring of our refrigerators and freezers. This includes adding alarms and reporting, so we can identify approaching temperature thresholds before there’s a problem and we risk spoiling 20,000 pounds of pork; respond proactively instead of reactively; and make it easy for users to extract data without needing a master’s degree in SQL programming.” Stauft adds that Sugar Creek also does product tracking and tracing, and that it’s trying to plug Ignition software into this ap-

plication, but do it securely. As a result, it employs Cisco’s Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE, architecture and topology (Figure 1). “Our two-year-old plant in Indiana is a Cisco show plant for security,” says Stauft. “The applications and equipment are airgapped, and no one is allowed in through the VPN to the manufacturing zone. Instead, we run virtual desktop interfaces (VDI) with VMware ( software and servers. They sit in the network demilitarized zone (DMZ) that’s configured for our suppliers to access their machines. They allow remote logins at the VPN, but make users go to the VDI to see machines and applications. It’s like logging on through a remote desktop, but only VDI can talk to the machines. Even the vendor doesn’t have direct access here, and can’t push or pull files because they’re all located at the DMZ on the devices. Each vendor and machine gets its own subnet, and the Ignition server is the only one that can access all of them. To access a PLC, for example, the vendor uses VPN to open a remote desktop session on a VDI. Each VDI has whatever software the vendor needs loaded, and only has access to the VLANs assigned to the vendors devices.” Sven Schrecker, chief architect of IoT Security Solutions at Intel ( and co-chair of the Security Working Group at the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC,, adds that, “Security is one of five characteristics that support Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Trustworthiness. The others are safety, privacy, resilience and reliability. We need a new, comprehensive adoption model for trustworthiness as the basis for industrial adoption of IIoT. Then we need to look at all environments from a security perspective, and leverage trustworthiness to manage risk and increase the likelihood of correct business decisions. Security can’t be something we do just to do it or for compliance.” To aid these efforts, IIC published a 173page guide, “Industrial Internet of Things Volume G4: Security Framework” ( PB-3.pdf). The Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF) offers a security model

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and policy built in conjunction with the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA). IISF has a data protection layer with security building blocks and techniques for IIoT, including security configuration and management, security monitoring and analysis, communications and connectivity protection, and plant protection that includes edge devices and the cloud. “We need chips, boards and software with security built in from the beginning, and we need them attested to the right level of security from the top down,” said Schrecker. “Owner/ operators also need to demand better security and tell system builders and component builders to assert trust in their systems. End users can also assess security levels. Performing all these tasks is the only way to get consistent security into the IIoT. Also, we can’t just be secure at the edge, and think we’re secure overall. We need end-to-end security based on comprehensive models and policies. Each part of an application needs to protect itself, whether it’s at the edge, on the network, or in the cloud.”

Utility, community network secured Naturally, greater cybersecurity is needed as more process applications form links with business-level networks, external data sources like the Internet, and more widely distributed re-

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mote service providers and communities. One of the latter is Clarksville Light & Water (CLW, www. in Arkansas, which is a 103-year-old, municipally owned utility that provides electricity, water and wastewater services at not-for-profit rates to 4,500 retail customers and just under 10,000 residents, as well as wholesale water to eight nearby towns and local water districts with about 18,000 more customers. The utility spent much of 2015-16 enhancing its municipal infrastructure with 16.7 miles of 288-strand fiber optic cable installed in redundant loops throughout the city to avoid single points of failure. This project included implementing Ignition SCADA software and Bedrock Automation’s ( control system for cyber-secure SCADA RTU monitoring and control of CLW’s electric, water and wastewater facilities (Figure 2). This new, secure network is expected to potentially save CLW up to $2 million over the next five years by improving control, monitoring and security of the city’s electric grid and water treatment facilities. Besides reducing purchased power losses, the fiber-optic network is expected to allow CLW to provide broadband Internet to residents, and keep another $810,000 per year in the community. “Besides dealing with legacy applications, controls and networks, there’s also a lot of bureaucracy to deal with in municipalities and corporations when you’re trying to implement cybersecurity,” says John Lester, CLW general manager. “You have to explain how to do it to supervisors and managers, and convince them of the need for it. There are many political and social obstacles, so you also need to communicate with everyone upfront, and let them know what’s coming. “The fiber optic network gave us a way to tap new functions for our remote operations. And, when we learned that choosing Bedrock as our RTU system would mean cybersecurity was already built in, we saw it as a cost-effective way to reduce our security risk while also addressing looming North American Electric Reliability Corp. Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC-CIP, compliance requirements.” Dee Brown, PE, principal at Brown Engineers LLC (www. in Little Rock, Ark., which provided electrical, mechanical and system engineering for CLW’s project, adds, “The operators know about firewalls and the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (https:// But if there’s a phishing attack and something gets in, how do you protect against it, and how can you do it with a limited time and budget? Now we have solutions. “We wanted each substation RTU to have enough horsepower to aggregate all power meter data and protective relay data for sequence of event recording. We also considered future development needs for power management techniques that support demand management and load-shedding controls. Bedrock controllers provide those features in an integrated development environment (IDE) that uses IEC 61131-3 programming and has cybersecurity embedded at the hardware level.

These days, cyber-attacks are not if, but when. However, if we can do cybersecurity like this with Bedrock controllers, then we think everyone can and should be doing it. For us, we’re working in the same PLCtype environment as always, but now we have to do better than protecting devices in bubbles at the edge of the network. The elegance of Bedrock’s system is that the supply chain manufacturing process embeds the security keys to ensure the highest levels of hardware and software authentication.” For instance, extending the new controller/SCADA deployment to the grid offered a simple, effective way to add secure control and monitoring of remote assets. At each of CLW’s substations, a Bedrock controller directs and protects data transfers along the new citywide fiber ring. This design allows all five Bedrock controllers to connect directly to the fiber-optic cable without added copper connectors. Brown reports they’ve been up and running since June 9 with no problems. With this infrastructure established, CLW plans to use automated circuit switching, as well as monitoring and load balancing on the local grid, which will let it realize demand-side management for the electric utility. CLW expects to improve overall reliability, shorten response times, and reduce power supply costs. In addition, Brown Engineers developed an application that extended the communication libraries provided by the Bedrock IDE to allow communication with the existing protective relays. “Common design elements allowed us to connect to legacy protective relays and power meters,” adds Brown. “We can now see daily weather and temperatures, and show how they’re affecting the electric utility’s load. We’d never had this onscreen before. We also have screen maps and operating screens for each of the four substations.”

Hardware aids software Ironically, while many cybersecurity solutions are deployed in flexible software, they’re also using hardware for added protection against intrusions and attacks. “Users can harden devices and implement edge security control by taking software from those devices, virtualizing it,

and putting it on their gateways or servers,” explains Intel’s Schrecker. “This puts the soul of a device like a PLC in its gateway, so users can get data from virtual sensors. The traditional way of protecting end devices is putting a software agent in operating systems, but we say it’s better to put a compressor chip in the end device, so you can have operations on one chip and security on another chip.” A security chip can monitor and manage all security tasks, enforce firewall functions, store identity information, mutually authenticate devices and users, and authorize network traffic. A security chip can also be defined as the only device that’s allowed to talk to the outside, so all operations chip communications go through the security chip, and follow its security models and policies, much like a network white list. “All of this gives security a place to run,” adds Schrecker. “Then you can carry out more sophisticated security management, reactively and proactively update devices as needed, and pull security data including metrics and KPIs for better security monitoring and analytics.” For instance, Emerson Automation Solutions ( launched its Secure First Mile program on Oct. 25 for securely connecting operations with IT and cloud-based services by using architectural approaches and designs, security services, and flexible servers, gateways and data diodes, which make sure operations technology (OT) systems can be securely connected to Internet-based applications. “Secure First Mile is located close to where process data is generated, and converts sensor and other production-level information into secure data for the Internet and cloud level,” says Claudio Fayad, technology vice president of Process Systems and Solutions at Emerson. “Secure First Mile uses the data diode method to simplify protection of inbound communication. Data diode uses two transceivers with a standard RJ45 cable and bidirectional input on the field gateway/OT protocol side, and a fiber or RJ45 cable and bidirectional input on the edge gateway/IoT protocol side. The data diode model provides extra security because it creates a unidirectional

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network that only lets data out, but has no physical connection for letting data in. This enables production data to go the edge gateway for conversion, so it can be used by IoT protocols and made available in the cloud, but disables the inbound path and creates an air gap that prevents any communications from the outside.” Likewise, FDT Group ( has released an annex to the FDT standard for OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA, that will enable sensorto-cloud, enterprise-wide connectivity with on-the-wire security in industrial control systems. FDT/OPC UA annex will allow automation suppliers with FDT Frame Applications (FDT/ Frames) embedded in their DCS, asset management system, PLC or other system to include an OPC UA server in an application that’s accessible from any OPC UA client application.

Share and spread awareness Following deployment of available security fixes, internal policies and training, Pfizer’s Labonty stresses that manufacturers, system integrators, suppliers and contractors must keep on sharing their cybersecurity know-how with related parties, so they can all present a unified response to intrusions and attacks. “Awareness by everyone is the key because we’re only as secure as our weakest link,” said Labonty. “Our older networks just had one firewall between IT and the production levels below, but behind this castle-and-drawbridge, there was a freefor-all of data going everywhere. So, we’ve added another layer with secure zones and cells divided by protecting each business asset from the others. These secure areas are divided by purpose-built firewall gateways, such as Rockwell Automation’s recently released Stratix 5950. We also segmented older equipment away from our newer systems and devices.” Similar to physical networks, Labonty concludes that cybersecurity also requires users to establish clear demarcation lines between their site automation teams and their IT counterparts. “It’s good for security to establish clear roles and responsibilities, and it also helps when different players need to talk to each other,” added Labonty. “This demarcation is also important because Pfizer outsources a lot of IT, and they’re not familiar with our individual sites. So, we definitely don’t want them trying to manage any production because they don’t know the ramifications of their actions.” Finally, personnel and organizational issues like these are the most important cybersecurity issues for process control and automation users and suppliers to solve, according to Labonty. “The easiest and most popular ingress for cyber-attacks is spear phishing, which tricks people into opening emails and clicking on attachments that download malware,” he said. “So educating workforces on policies and procedures to protect against it and other threats is also crucial, too.” Jim Montague is Control’s executive editor

32 D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6

FEDS WEIGH IN ON CYBERSECURITY Cybersecurity threats are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication and severity. However, despite recent cyber-attacks by nation-states against private-sector targets, Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team ( instead envisions an ongoing series of low- to moderate-level cyber-attacks that will impose costs on U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, according to Neal Hirschfield, deputy director of ICSCERT, which is part of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. “Inherent vulnerabilities in control system environments are coupled with interconnectivity to business networks,” explains Hirschfield. “There’s also been a shift from isolated systems to open protocols, including access to remote sites through the use of modems, wireless and private and public networks. Of course, the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) means even more systems connecting to the Internet.” Hirschfield reports that, while there were 39 cyber-incidents involving industrial control system (ICS) in 2010, there have been 290 incidents in 2016. “In 2010, there were few ICS intrusions and most were identified infections that were usually inadvertent. Plus, there was little evidence of focused R&D programs by sophisticated threat actors to develop ICS exploitation capabilities,” adds Hirschfield. “In 2016, there were 41 confirmed and reported ICS intrusions in fiscal year (FY) 2014, and 23 confirmed ICS intrusions in FY 2015. There have also been multiple, sophisticated, ICS-focused campaigns since 2001, including BlackEnergy and Havex. As a result, there’s been vast commercial research into ICS discovery, vulnerabilities and exploits.” One of the most egregious recent cyber-attacks caused power outages to Ukraine’s electrical grid on Dec. 23, 2015. Analysis revealed that the attackers used spear phishing— tricking victims into opening spurious emails and downloading malware—to steal credentials and connect to the local electric utility’s virtual private network (VPN), and remote desktop software to manipulate human machine interface (HMI) controls. “Power was restored in four to six hours by switching to manual control, and the affected electric companies were still in manual mode as of February 2016,” says Hirschfield. “This attack demonstrated extensive preparation and coordination, but limited technical sophistication. Meanwhile, U.S. infrastructure is vulnerable to similar attacks across multiple sectors, and these systems might not be able to switch to manual as easily. We also learned the importance of multi-factor authentication in the Ukraine incident. Some organizations have legitimate operational needs for remote access and/or monitoring, but if remote access is granted without adequate isolation and boundary protection, they’ll be susceptible to compromise by campaigns like these.”


WIRELESS HITS THE OPEN ROAD As it gains mainstream acceptance and better tools, users are expanding wireless networks to exchange data with more remote applications. by Jim Montague


nce you get free, it’s only natural to want to explore a little—and then a little more. Well, the same is true for wireless technologies in process control, which have evolved in recent years from cable-saving novelties to regularly specified solutions for bringing in signals that couldn’t be captured before. This move to the mainstream has also affected its users, and many are building on earlier wireless gains to extend their capabilities even further. Such is the case with Hunt Refining Co. (, which adopted a pre-standard wireless solution for maintenance about six years ago in conjunction with a plant expansion, and came to appreciate and adopt wireless in its monitoring, reliability, optimization and safety applications. Hunt’s refinery in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the largest supplier of paving and industrial asphalt in Alabama, much of which is used by nearby roofing shingle manufacturers. The three-year, $1-billion expansion project was undertaken in 2010 to increase capacity at its 50-square-acre site from 52,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 72,000 bpd. As part of the expansion, Hunt built a hydrocracker, hydrogen plant, continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) facility and dimethyl sulfate plant, and expanded its coker. Alan Weldon, PE, technical services and safety director at Hunt, reports it began using wireless shortly after Emerson Automation Solutions ( introduced its initial systems in 2007 because the refinery needed to monitor tank temperatures in a remote location. “Our initial resistance was due to concerns about network reliability, security and integration into the existing DCS. However, acceptance grew as the wireless network was expanded to include sensing applications that

address safety, environmental, reliability and process needs across the refinery,” says Weldon. “Potential savings also helped overcome resistance, and we installed three Rosemount 648 wireless temperature transmitters along with a 900-MHz 1420 Gateway and four additional 648s as repeaters. But we also had some bumps in the road.” Wireless temperature monitors were added to more tanks at the Tuscaloosa facility the next year, but some power modules had to be replaced after less than a year of service. Weldon adds his staff and colleagues from Emerson determined that the existing, 900-MHz wireless network was experiencing choke points with too much data trying to pass through one wireless device on its path back to the gateway. Later, their journey into wireless continued when battery life issues delayed installation of more wireless temperature monitoring.

More reliability = more acceptance Most end users, integrators and suppliers report that more reliable, higher-speed, easily installed wireless devices are driving its acceptance and expansion in the process industries. For example, where WiFi (IEEE 802.11a-n) or wireless Ethernet used to run at about 600 Mbps at 5 GHz in 2009, it sped up to 1 Gbps or higher at 5 GHz in 2013-14, and is up to almost 7 Gbps at 160 MHz at present. Higher speeds have been accompanied by ongoing improvements of the primary wireless standards, including WiFi, ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4), Bluetooth (802.15.1), Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) over low-power wireless personal area networks (6LoWPAN) and other variants based on their radio, cellular, microwave or satellite roots. Several of these have been aided by the multiple-input, multiD E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6



ple-output (MIMO) method for multiplying the capacity of radio links by employing multiple transmit and receive antennas to use multi-path propagation, which improves data throughput and distance. “We implement MIMO with four antennas, which allow multiple transfers of data in and out to enable very high reliability. We can send three streams and receive four, which make data packet losses much less likely,” says Divya Venkataraman, global product manager for wireless and network security at Rockwell Automation ( “In addition, the wireless standards are continuing to evolve. IEEE (, the WiFi Alliance ( and their partners are continuing to seek new ways to further eliminate data collisions and reduce network retries.”

GATHERING STRENGTH Figure 1: U.K.-based Robinson Brothers uses an ABB WirelessHART

Surveys and security essential Despite these technical gains, pretty much everyone agrees that individual site surveys, audits and assessments, including radio frequency (RF) analysis, are still essential for deciding the best way to deploy wireless in each application. “Audits can take into account distances, obstacles, noise, curvature of the earth and cellular coverage,” says Zechariah Hoffman, product marketing specialist for wireless at Phoenix Contact ( “Some wireless technologies are more robust and may not need an audit, such as 900 MHz frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) because they can typically handle harsh environments. Wireless technologies operating in this frequency band usually have 1-Watt transmit power, which is the highest allowed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), making them ideal for many industrial applications. Using a licensed wireless frequency is another way to avoid doing an audit, but it also requires buying an operating frequency from the FCC.” Hoffman adds that wireless is making similar gains on the security front. “Advanced encryption standard (AES) is a symmetric encryption algorithm on many devices, and there are various forms, such as 128-bit AES or WPA2-AES,” says Hoffman. “Frequency hopping on proprietary systems adds another form of security, which works because of the fast, constant changes to the frequency on which the radio is communicating. The pattern of frequency changes is different with each wireless network and manufacturer. Another security feature is Internet protocol (IP) or media access control (MAC) address filtering, allowing user access to only desired parts of the network.”

temperature sensor with Energy Harvester and onboard, micro-thermoelectric generator to measures the temperature of the chemical

Juice on arrival, data too

plant’s central heat distribution network, and transmit values without

Ironically, on either end of most wireless networks are transmitters or receivers with the usual wires for data and power, unless those devices are equipped with increasingly longer-lived batteries or the ability to draw power from their surroundings. For instance, to reduce cabling costs and secure remote temperature measurements without a power supply, Robinson Brothers Ltd. ( in Bromwich, U.K., recently began testing what ABB (www. reports is the world’s first self-powered, wireless temperature sensor on the steam main supplying its chemical manufacturing plant (Figure 1). The ABB WirelessHART temperature sensor with Energy Harvester requires no wiring, no external power supply, and ideally, no battery replacement. Its transmitter is powered by an onboard, micro-thermoelectric generator (micro-TEG), which is driven by the temperature difference between the steam pipe and the ambient surroundings. It measures the temperature of Robinson’s central heat distribution network at certain points, and transmits measurement values to its administrative building without needing added wiring inside its process building. Local system integrator ICA Ser-

added wiring to a remote wireless gateway, Ethernet network and data recorder. Source: Robinson Brothers and ABB

SAFETY WITHOUT CABLES Figure 2: Hunt Refining in Tuscaloosa, Ala., installed six Rosemount 708 acoustic transmitters on its Butane Bullet relief valves in 2013 to provide an additional layer of protection by notifying operators if a relief valve is beginning to relieve or leak. Source: Hunt Refining and Emerson

34 D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6


vices suggested the wireless sensor, and set up the transmitter to send data wirelessly to a remote wireless gateway, which feeds the signal into the company’s Ethernet network and then to an ABB SM500F data recorder. In practice, the WirelessHART temperature sensor with Energy Harvester was installed in November 2012, and has been powered permanently since then by the plant’s process temperature, which is high enough to give the sensor a 100% power supply from its TEG module. The sensor needs a minimum temperature difference of around 30 °C, which is easily achieved by Robinson’s steam main, where the steam flows at around 106 °C and the ambient air is typically 26 °C. The transmitter also has a built-in back-up battery that isn’t used during normal operations. “The transmitter has been operating for about three months, and it’s ticking all the boxes without drawing any power from its back-up battery,” says Tom Rutter, E&I manager at Robinson. “It looks like it could go on forever, provided there’s steam flowing through the line.” To give users more data about their wireless applications, ABB also offers its SuprOS network management software and system, which can provide data about network traffic,

signal strength, links to other components, device performance and damage. SuprOS works in conjunction with ABB’s TropOS self-healing, wireless mesh networking solution, and it can also perform remote configuration, maintenance updates and security patches. “Our core network is TropOS mesh, and we can add unlicensed TeleOS point-to-point (PTP) or point-to-multipoint (PTMP) radios, or add licensed ArcheOS licensed PTMP radios to it, depending on the needs of the application and environment,” says John Yelland, global marketing vice president at ABB Wireless. “Then, they’re all managed by SuprOS, including some PTP devices we support.” To get process data to cloud-based services and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) via wireless, Smart Sensors Inc. ( just launched its low-cost Cloud Wireless Sensor System, which includes customizable, real-time monitoring, alerts and analytics. Users place its matchbook-sized, plug-and-play wireless sensors wherever they’d like to capture data, and they transmit relevant data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or RF to a Swift Sensors Bridge, which is a small appliance that connects the sensors to the secure Swift Sensors Cloud using Wi-Fi, Ethernet and/or

Introducing an optical, microprocessor-based temperature transmitter as rugged as it is accurate The RTT15S microprocessor-based operation minimizes the effect of ambient temperatures and ensures accuracy and repeatability. Its temperature transmitter uses HART® communication protocol and can receive signals from thermocouples, RTDs, ohm, or millivolt sources, while its industrialgrade circuits and sealed electronics make it rugged and reliable in virtually any environment. Configurable for hazardous locations, the new units also feature: • Unique optical buttons allow operation through the glass of explosion-proof housing

• Configurable bar graph

• User-friendly interface with 5 lines of text or symbols in 7 languages

• Automatic self-calibration

• Temperature range from -40ºC to +85ºC (-40ºF to +185ºF) • Easy installation and mounting

• Optional LCD display with selectable, programmable backlight To learn more, call your Foxboro representative at Schneider Electric. Toll free: USA 1-866-746-6477, Global +1-508-549-2424, or visit online at:

D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6



cellular communications. Finally, administrators use a Swift Sensors web-based dashboard to configure the sensor system for data monitoring and analysis from any location. “Our solution costs pennies on the dollar compared to other wireless systems, and installing our half-dollar-sized sensors is quick and easy,” says Sam Cece, CEO of Swift Sensors. “For security, we use time stamps and a closed network with only one access point and dual firewalls. This lets us safely tie in to legacy system from which users are looking extract data they couldn’t get before.”

Stay on the trail Likewise, the more recent wireless hiccups at Hunt’s Tuscaloosa refinery began to be resolved in 2009 when Emerson’s Rosemount division adopted the WirelessHART protocol, and Hunt’s 900-MHz gateway was upgraded to a newer, 2.4GHz WirelessHART gateway. Emerson’s AMS and Wireless Snap-On functions were also added to the gateway to address

WIRELESS ADOPTION TO-DO LIST Each process application has its own unique characteristics and needs, but there remain some basic, common steps for getting wireless up and running in any facility or setting. They include: • Examine and add up each process application’s essential functional requirements, and let them be a guide to identify the most appropriate wireless technology and components; • Compare present hardwired networks and any existing wireless ones, and update the organization’s comprehensive communications strategy, including new processes, parameters and signals that might benefit from wireless monitoring; • Merge wired and wireless strategy and current networks with operational requirements defined in first step to assist in selecting new wireless equipment; • Perform a radio frequency (RF) evaluation and a complete wireless site survey on the process and facility environment, and identify potential interference sources, including metal barriers, masonry structures, longer-than-expected distances, hilly or wooded terrain and other obstacles; • Try out and pick best-performing antennas, and determine optimal locations for most reliable coverage for wireless signals; • Start by installing wireless in a non-essential, trial-run application to evaluate and identify any unusual site aspect or problems; • Be certain wireless components can be tweaked and relocated if and when needs of the application or facility are altered, expanded or decreased; • Deploy wireless devices and supporting network equipment to fulfill the process and facility’s current needs, and provide for larger information requirements and added infrastructure in the future; and • Teach facility personnel how to implement and maintain wireless devices and networking for greatest production benefits, and retrain as needed. 36 D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6

network stability and reliability concerns. “This made the upgrade easy and successful,” says Weldon. “The choke points and power module life issues were resolved, and that added to our confidence. As a result, when overfill protection was needed on a remote ethanol tank, we installed a Rosemount 702 Discrete Wireless Transmitter to a two-point float switch.” Likewise, to improve reliability in 2010, Hunt implemented Rosemount 648 temperature transmitters for monitoring heat exchangers. For environmental compliance, it added a Rosemount 3051CD differential pressure transmitter and 648 temperature transmitter to monitor water flow and temperature to the nearby Black Warrior River. In 2011, Hunt also added a Rosemount 775 The HART Universal Module (THUM) wireless adapter on a 3051 SMV transmitter to meet 40 CFR 98 reporting requirements for greenhouse gases. Following its success, Hunt added THUM to a MicroMotion Coriolis meter measuring asphalt to the coker to provide density and mass flow data. However, it also experienced intermittent communication issues, which delayed installation of more THUMs. “That added some angst,” adds Weldon. “But the difficulty was finally identified as a wiring issue, and it was repaired.” In 2013, Hunt installed six Rosemount 708 acoustic transmitters on its Butane Bullet relief valves (Figure 2). These devices provide an added protection layer that notifies operators if a relief valve is beginning to relieve or leak. In 2014, the refinery added three Rosemount 848 high-density temperature transmitters on its diesel hydrotreater and combined feed exchangers. “They’d been experiencing issues with corrosion due to dew point moving in the heat exchanger train,” explains Weldon. “So the added benefit here was performance monitoring for fouling.” In 2015, Hunt upgraded its wireless gateways to Version 4.0, which was required to install a PermaSense corrosion monitor and 20 sensors in the refinery’s coker and crude unit. Also, THUM was added to a Micro Motion meter on a crude feed tank to monitor flow, temperature and API gravity, and a CSi wireless vibration monitor 9420 was added to the coker jet pumps. “Finally, this year we added a Micro Motion high-capacity Elite Coriolis Meter with THUM to our oil movements area for custody transfer of asphalt,” concludes Weldon. “Smart meter verification diagnostic reporting is available wirelessly via AMS on the gateway. “Our initial resistance to wireless was overcome by its demonstrated network and transmitter reliability, as well as the improved diagnostics from AMS and Wireless Snap-on. Our acceptance resulted in non-traditional monitoring applications in environmental, reliability and safety. So far, we have a total of 77 Emerson wireless devices and 20 third-party devices installed. The takeaway is, when we look at an application now, we immediately ask if we can do it with wireless.” Jim Montague is Control’s executive editor

Alarm management

CHATTERING ALARM REDUCTION TECHNIQUES Use these carefully to avoid compromising operation or control. by Kevin Brown


here are times that an alarm can’t be removed or an alarm setpoint can’t be changed to resolve a noisy process signal causing a chattering alarm. When this occurs, there are techniques that can be applied to the process signal or alarm to reduce alarm chattering. It’s important to understand the effect each method will have on the alarm or process measurement prior to implementing it. This article discusses each technique and the results when applied.

Understand the issue These techniques should never be applied blindly because they’ll likely not have the positive impact that was desired and could cause measurement issues or mask an alarm or delay a response by the operator. Before considering which method to apply, the reason(s) for false positive alarms must be determined for all states of the operation (startup, trip, normal, etc.). Solving the alarm issue for one operating condition may mask an alarm that’s real in another condition. Once the issues have been defined, then consider which technique will solve most of the false alarms. A frequent mistake is increasing the masking effect because the applied technique did not resolve most of the false positive alarms. An example of this would be to increase the delay time from five seconds to five minutes. This will reduce more false positive alarms, but can lead to masking real alarms by delaying activation of the alarm until the five-minute delay has expired. The correct solution may be to apply a different technique or ap-

ply more than one technique to get the desired result of reduced false-positive alarms and minimized masking of real alarms.

Filtering smoothes measurement Normally, filtering is applied to reduce control action on a noisy process signal to improve the control of the process. Filtering can also have a positive impact on reducing false alarms. Filtering minimizes a noisy process signal by smoothing the measurement, which reduces the false positive alarms. Applied directly to the measurement, filtering will affect control action on a closed-loop point, which must be considered before adding it. Figure 1 shows that the filtered signal (output) doesn’t exceed the high alarm setpoint, while the unfiltered signal (input) does exceed the high alarm limit. On the first incident, the unfiltered and filtered signals cross the low alarm setpoint, but later, the filtered signal doesn’t cross the low alarm setpoint when the unfiltered signal does cross. Advantages of filtering are: • Reduces false positive alarms • A larm delay activation is minimized on fast changing process • Reduces alarms when noisy process is operating close to the alarm setpoint Disadvantages of filtering are: • Delays alarm activation on slow moving process • Can hide an alarm when the process is operating around the alarm setpoint D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6


Alarm management

• Has minimal effect on very noisy processes • Can negatively impact control performance

Deadband adds alarm hysteresis Alarm deadband is the change required in the process signal to either activate the alarm or return the alarm to normal (Figure 2). Some computer control systems allow deadband to be applied to either the activation or return of the alarm, while others allow it only on the return of the alarm. Deadband is typically applied by entering a percentage of the measurement, which can lead to latching of the alarm when the measurement range is large. For example, if the flow range is 100,000 and a 2% deadband is applied, the alarm will not clear until the measurement is 2,000 below the alarm limit. Using these numbers for an example where the pro-

cess normally runs at 68,000 and the alarm limit is set to 69,000, once the alarm is activated, it will not return to normal until the process goes below 67,000, which is below the operating setpoint and the process measurement. In this example, the alarm will never clear and the operator will never get another alarm when the process rises above the alarm limit. Here, if the computer control system allows, it would be best to set an absolute value for the deadband. Deadband advantages are: • Reduces false positive alarms • Immediate activation of the alarm when deadband is only applied to the return to normal • Typically the easiest to apply or configure in a computer control system Deadband disadvantages are: • Percentage applied deadband could apply a setting too large, latching the alarm on or off • False positive alarm activation






0 1 18 35 52 69 86 103 120 137 154 171 188 205 222 239 256 273 290 307 324 341 358 375 392 409

Data point Input


High alarm setpoint

Low alarm setpoint

FILTERING SHAVES PEAKS Figure 1: The filtered signal (output) does not exceed the high alarm setpoint, while the unfiltered signal (input) does exceed the high alarm limit. While unfiltered and filtered signals both cross the first low alarm setpoint, later, the filtered signal does not.

38 D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

holds the alarm high, which could cause an operator to miss a real alarm if the deadband level isn’t cleared before the next activation of the alarm • Slow operator response on a real alarm when the deadband is applied to activation of the alarm, and not on the return to normal

Time delays A time delay can be applied to delay when the alarm is activated (on-delay) or when the alarm has cleared (off-delay). The on-delay is used to avoid unnecessary alarms when a signal temporarily overshoots its limit, thus preventing the alarm from being activated until the signal remains in the alarm state continuously for the specified length of time of the delay. The off-delay is used to reduce chattering alarms by holding the alarm active the specific length of time of the delay after the process has dropped below the alarm limit. The on-delay will delay activation of the alarm by the amount of time entered. If the process returns below the alarm limit prior to the alarm being activated, the timer will be reset. Care must be taken when using a time delay on since a real alarm activation will be delayed by the time delay setting. Time on-delay should be used sparingly and for slow moving processes. Figure 3 shows an oscillating process (blue) that would give 11 alarms (orange) where the time delay on (purple) indicates only one alarm. In this demonstration, the on-delay would reduce the false positive alarms by 10. Advantage of on-delay: • Reduces false positive alarms when the process is changing quickly Disadvantages of on-delay: • Delays activation of a real alarm to the operator, which delays the operator’s response time to the alarm • Masks real alarms when the process is noisy and operating at the alarm limit

The off-delay will delay clearing the alarm once the measurement has returned to normal by the delay time entered. When the process exceeds the alarm limit, the alarm will be activated, but will not clear until the process stays below or above the alarm limit by the amount of the delay time setting. This will not resolve the activation of a false alarm, but will reduce the number of alarm activations for a noisy measurement. The advantage of an off-delay is immediate notification of a real alarm to the operator. Figure 4 shows an oscillating process (blue) that would give 11 alarms (orange) where the time delay off (green) indicates only one alarm. In this demonstration, the off-delay would reduce the false positive alarms by 10, but create a standing alarm during false

High alarm setpoint



Low alarm setpoint

Alarm state

DEADBAND SLOWS RESPONSE Figure 2: Used properly, deadband can reduce frequency of alarms without slowing activation, but it can hide a real alarm if the deadband level is not cleared before the next activation.


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Alarm management

1 0.75 0.5 0.25 0 -0.25 -0.5 -0.75 -1 0


50 Process



Alarm limit


Time delay on

ON-DELAY IGNORES SHORT EXCURSIONS Figure 3: If the process returns below the alarm limit before the alarm is activated, the timer resets. Using it on this oscillating process (blue) would reduce 11 alarms (orange) to one.

1 0.75 0.5 0.25 0 -0.25 -0.5 -0.75 -1



50 Process

Alarm limit

75 Alarm


Time delay off

OFF-DELAY CALMS EFFECTS OF NOISY SIGNALS Like the on-delay in Figure 3, using off-delay reduces the number of alarms, but with the advantage of eliminating the on-delay and at the risk of hiding an alarm or creating a standing alarm.

alarm conditions, and may not be reacted to when the process does enter a real alarm condition. Advantages of off-delay: • Immediate activation of alarm • Reduces false positive alarms on a noisy signal Disadvantages of off-delay: • Initial false alarm may hide a real alarm because the alarm has not returned to normal after the false alarm • Can create a standing alarm issue because the alarm never resets

Select carefully It’s important to first determine what the cause of the chattering alarm is and try to solve it without applying 40 D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

one of these reduction techniques. The first choice is always solving the issue at the source (e.g., repair the instrument, adjust the alarm setpoint, adjust the process setpoint, etc). When fixing the problem at the source isn’t possible, then determine which technique will minimize the risk of missing a real alarm, but reduce the number of false positive alarms in all operating conditions. Keep in mind that the solution may require the use of more than one of these techniques (e.g., filtering and on-delay, deadband and off-delay) to minimize masking of real alarms and reduce false positive alarms. Kevin Brown is a voting member of the ISA-18.2 commit tee and co-chair of ISA18.2 TR 1 (Alarm Philosophy) and API-1167 (Pipeline Alarm Management) second edition review.


Oil slick sensors for drones?


Regarding your recent article on oil film detection, I’m exploring methods of putting such an instrument on a drone platform. In this way, a vehicle could quickly assay and map the surface of petrochemical leaks from point sources. However, there are weight and size constraints for such a project. What are your thoughts? Which method do you think might lend itself to such a project, and how might I start to construct such a mobile instrument? We have the drone design, building and flight operations expertise. We also have the software coding, data analysis and mapping technologies. We have some hardware and electronics expertise, so what we need is a laser and photodetector in a lightweight configuration to detect oil/water interfaces. I’m presently developing “Sunflowers,” which are stationary, fixed-base, solar-powered, sensing stations that a drone could fly by and collect data from—like a bee gathering pollen. But I haven’t cracked the method of sensors that could go onboard. An optical approach would be best, one that I could drop and dip into the water, or an optical fiber that I can dip into an ocean or lake. The methane sensor is easy, but it’s the water sensor that I’m having difficulty with. I live near water with local refineries (San Francisco Bay), and there would be good opportunities to try this out with some interested stakeholders (industry and government).



Your application idea is a logical one and such drones are already in limited use as their size and weight problems have largely been solved. Lately, I’ve also been recomending the use of drone fleets in locating people, other floating objects or underwater derbis in cases of ocean accidents, and particularly for rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean Sea. Recently, I’ve also been looking at the sensors that serve computer vision applications in controling self-driving cars. There are many similarities between those and the drone applica-

VISIBLE LIGHT HAS LIMITATIONS Figure 1: Infrared, laser fluorescence, laser radar and other techniques may offer more information than visible light.

THERMAL GIVES MORE INFO Figure 2: Thermal imaging can be used to detect the thickest portion of an oil slick.

tions. We can use drones for petrochemical leak detection, oil pipeline inspection, flarestack and gas emission monitoring, and in many other cases. When detecting ocean spills, these measurements can provide information on the rate and direction of oil movement. They can also assist in guiding cleanup and control efforts with drift prediction modeling. Underwater remote sensing instruments and technologies are also being developed based on acoustics, fluorescence polarization, in-situ fluorometry, non-dispersive infrared, and in-situ mass spectrometry for deployment with remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) applications.

This column is moderated by Béla Lipták (, automation and safety consultant and editor of the Instrument and Automation Engineers’ Handbook (IAEH). If you have an automationrelated question for this column, write to

D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6


Ask the Experts




Visible (0.4-0.7 μm) cameras

Inexpensive; readily available

Thin oil is not visible, thick is. OK in good weather during daytime only

LWIR (long-wave IR, thermal, 8-12 μm) or MWIR (midwave IR, 3-5 μm) cameras

LWIR (thermal) cameras preferred

Can detect “relative” thickness (determine if the oil slick is thick or not?)

UV (10-400 nm) laser cameras

Oil UV reflectability is high; good for mapping overall slick

Suited for daytime operation only; interference by sun, wind, bioganic materials

Laser fluorosensor (UV excitation causes visible flurescence)

Day and night operation; distinguishes light, medium and heavy oils


Radar (1 mm to 1 m, detects reduction in radar backscatter caused by oil)

Suited for day or night; for high-altitude operation; fast; can detect larger slicks

Expensive, suited only for 2-7 m/s surface speeds

Table I: Some of the features, capabilities and limitations of a selection of sensors that show promise for drone-based oil slick detection and assessment applications.

For hydrocarbon detection, we can use a variety of optical sensors, thermal infrared imaging, airborne laser fluourosensors, laser radar devices, etc. The families of sensors that are suited for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications can be combined into all-in-one cameras and integrated area sensor (IAS) units that have 360° motion field views, and can be provided with Google’s Android platforms. One could write a book about this new field of automation, and who knows, I might do it one day. Laser fluorosensor mearurement operates by emitting radiation at a particular wavelength that’s absorbed by oil, and in response, the oil emits another wavelength of radiation that is then detected by a laser sensor. This fluorescence allows measuring both the spectra and the the decay rate of the fluorescence given off. As a result, light, heavy and other oils can be separately identified. Thermal imaging (long-wave infrared, Figure 2) detects the thickest portion on the oil slick. As such, it can measure the size of the oil slick and the thickest portion of the slick when planning the clean-up effort. Radar-based detector systems can identify the position of the spill and can track its drift to direct the recovery vessel to the location where most of the oil is. Their main advantage is that they can operate all day, under almost all visibility conditions. It seems to me that our aim should be to integrate several of the optical and microwave sensors, while continuing to reduce sensor size, complexity and cost. We also need laser-based sensors that are less expensive and more energy-efficient, and we need further advances in the area of solid-state laser technology On the software end, we need true real-time processing. I’ve summarized in Table I some of the features, capabilities and limitations of some sensors that are suited for drone-based oil slick detection applications. In my “Lessons 42 D e c e m ber / 2 0 1 6

Learned” column in January, I’ll discuss them in more detail in connection with their smart car applications. A good summary of the teams doing research and development work in this fields can be found at site-page/remote-sensing-and-surveillance. BÉL A LIPTÁK


I’ve been following the deployment of UAV and the regulations around the world for their use. Australian CASA has the most liberal drone regulations in the world, and that’s helping the entrepreneurs. GE, ExxonMobil and Maersk are some of the oil companies that have already developed and deployed UAVs in the oil industry. Some of the reading material cited below might be useful to you: • • -10 -18/drones-technology-modified-near-perfect-accuracy/7942602 • • • • • You might also try contacting Polaris ( They seem to have an eTherm camera. R A J BINNE Y


Forced heat Temperature and pressure tools are gaining new capabilities, form factors and protections for securing and delivering their essential signals and data. BENCHTOP DIGITAL PANEL METER


MDS8PT is a universal unit that houses the company’s Platinum Series 1/8DIN digital panel meter. Its color-changing LED display is programmable at any setpoint or alarm. The unit can handle 10 types of thermocouples, thermistors, multiple RTDs, and several process (DC) voltage and current ranges. It also has universal input with dual alarm relays, optional RS232/RS485 Modbus and embedded Ethernet. Omega Engineering Inc. 888-826-6342;

Engineered for durability to combat corrosion and chemicals, DSF26 digital pressure gauge features stainless-steel, sapphire and FKM wetted parts. Suitable for remote monitoring, it offers a high-visibility display, standard analog output, and up to four SPDT switches, and can handle up to 5,800 psig. Setpoints and switch hysteresis are easily adjusted via the keypad. Kobold Instruments Inc. 412-788-2830;



TT233 series signal-conditioning I/O modules are designed to provide easier installation and setup, are only 12.5 mm wide for high-density mounting on DIN rails, and provide a convenient USB connection to a PC for simple, precise configuration using Windows software. They’re output loop-powered and support source or sink output wiring connections on the current loop with a 12-32 VDC supply. Acromag

Jofra CTC series compact temperature calibrators have full-color displays, improved navigation, auto-step with up to 12 preset temperatures, optimized switch test with automatic up and down test runs, assisted manual calibration, and store up to five calibration processes. They improve accuracy to ±0.2 °C, and offer three versions with an overall temperature range of -25 °C to 660 °C. Ametek Sensors, Test & Calibration +45 48 16 80 00;



SIL 3-capable STZ functional safety smart HART temperature transmitter is dependable and accurate in safety instrumented systems (SIS), and is certified by exida as conforming with IEC 61508:2010. STZ offers a dual-sensor input that reduces interruptions. Backup and fail-over protection allow sensors or inputs to be designated as primary measurement with the secondary input acting as backup. Moore Industries-International Inc. 800-999-2900;

An optional plug-in LCD indicator fits directly on the TTH300 temperature transmitter, provides convenient parameter reading on the device, and allows users to perform configuration or parameter adjustments on the spot without the need for additional equipment like a handheld device. ABB Inc. 800-435-7365; D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6






Rosemount Wireless Pressure Gauge uses field-proven piezoresistive sensor technology to deliver reliable pressure readings. It also provides up to 150x overpressure protection compared to traditional gauges; eliminates weak points of mechanical gauges; and provides up to a 10-year life. The large 4.5in. gauge face provides easy visibility. Emerson Automation Solutions

Cerabar PMP11, 21 and 23 pressure transducers measure up to 6,000 psi and are factory-spannable to specific requirements. They’re available with threaded or welded hygienic process connections, meet industry standards including FDA, FM, IEC and Ex, and provide 4-20 mA or 0-10 VDC output signals. Endress+Hauser 888-ENDRESS (363-7377);



ProSense SPTD25 pressure transmitter has a thin-film sensing element for fast response. It resists vibration, shock and EMI/RFI, and is accurate over a broad, compensated temperature range. SPTD25 has a 1/4-in. NPT male-threaded process connection, M12 electrical connection, and 4-20 mA output with 100-5,000 psig sensing range. AutomationDirect 800-633-0405;

Mini analog Pro family now includes universally configurable temperature limit value switch modules. Simple configuration is via dip switches, PC software, or a near-field communication (NFC) app. They have have a pluggable, 6.2-mm housing, so they’re easy to install in tight spaces. Their voltage range is 9.3 to 30 VDC and operating temperature range is -40 to 70 °C. Phoenix Contact 800-322-3225;



YTA610 is a mid-range temperature transmitter with the same dual-compartment housing for transmitter terminal block and electronics used by Yokogawa’s high-end models for environmental resistance. YTA610 supports HART7 and Foundation Fieldbus ITK 6, and complies with IEC 61508. Yokogawa Corp. of America 800-888-6400; field-instruments/temperature-transmitters

AD1 Transmitter is a wireless four-inone analog and discrete signal-monitoring solution for connecting up to three 0-5 VDC analog sensors, providing high-resolution, 24-bit analog to digital conversion (ADC). It delivers up to 9.5 VDC to each analog output source, and can calibrate zero and max points. Designed for use in Class I, Div. 1 (Zone 0) hazardous locations, AD1 is intrinsically safe. OleumTech 866-508-8586; D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6




“Next generation EcoStruxure” architecture and platform helps deliver IoT-enabled solutions by integrating the three core layers: connected products; edge control; and applications, analytics and services. Along with core connectivity, infrastructure and intelligence, EcoStruxure comes with established partners including Microsoft and Intel, and a new partner community to create or co-create customer solutions and applications. Schneider Electric

Type 8647 AirLine SP valve island works with Siemens Simatic ET 200SP I/O system to control up to 64 valve functions. The pneumatic valves are hot-swappable, pressure sensors, while an LCD provides status information such as cycles and valve positions, and the Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) with ring topology increases reliability. In addition, check valves in the exhaust duct prevent pressure peaks and eliminate the possibility of mixing media. Bürkert Fluid Control Systems



UNO-3283G and UNO3382/3384G fanless industrial computers include dual-front hot-swappable SSD/HDD bays with RAID 0/1 support. iDoor technology adds modular I/O port options, such as fieldbus, wireless and PoE. UNO-3283G’s new L-shaped cover gives access to PCI/PCIe sockets, iDoor modules, CFast slot and RTC battery. UNO3283G has an Intel 6th Generation Core i7 processor, is ruggedized, and supports power redundancy. Advantech 888-576-9668;

BACnet gateways, routers, and network explorers are now “IIoT-Empowered out-of-the-box” to securely register, access and manage field devices using the FieldPoP device cloud. By bridging BACnet to the cloud and using FieldPoP as a portal, facility managers and OEMs of devices such as sensors and controllers can remotely service, support and gain operational insights. FieldPoP also serves as a middleware layer to collect data for business and analytics applications. Sierra Monitor Corp.



NS Series touchscreen HMIs offer built-in Ethernet communications; alarming, recipe and data logging; and live video input and display capabilities. By allowing direct resetting of faults, these HMIs save time and effort in troubleshooting, and quickly return lines to production. They offer flexible data access for a variety of devices, enabling operators to reach network devices. including special I/O units, intelligent devices and PLCs. Omega Engineering

Field Information Manager 1.1 Handheld Edition is an FDIbased device management tool for configuration, parameterization and diagnosis of HART instruments in the field, at the back of the panel or junction box, or in the instrumentation lab. Installed on any Windows tablet, laptop or computer, it eliminates the extra expense of proprietary hardware and significantly reduces lifecycle maintenance costs. Users can download all needed packages and files at any time. ABB

D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6






Multi-core C6015 industrial PC (IPC) at 82 x 82 x 40 mm is one-third the size and costs 25% less than previous comparable devices, so it can be used where PC-based control used to be impractical or motherboards were integrated as custom solutions. It features an Intel Atom CPU with up to four processor cores, an aluminum/ die-cast zinc housing, passive cooling, operation to 55 °C, high resistance to vibration and shock, and a range of equipment, interfaces and operating systems. Beckhoff Automation LLC 877-TwinCAT;

Integrated with the SureStart startup and commissioning solution, the eStart app keeps projects on track by allowing users to digitally gather data, create loop folders to house instrument data and checksheets, and keep data at technicians’ fingertips. The Near Me feature uses GPS to locate nearby instruments, identify their stage of commissioning, and make loop shooting more efficient. The app records when a step is completed, allowing real-time status updates. Maverick Technologies



WindLDR 8.2.2 PLC programming software provides IoT capability with custom web pages that can be created using simple dragand-drop functionality with no HTML programming. When used with the MicroSmart FC6A PLC, web pages are stored in the PLC, which functions as a web server. The web pages can be accessed via any browser, with email and text notification functionality that can be used with third-party email servers such as Gmail. IDEC

Foxboro RTT15S temperature transmitters feature large, backlit LCDs with optical buttons operable through the glass cover of the explosion-proof housing, so they can be configured and operated even in hazardous locations without shutdown. These HART units accept thermocouple, RTD, and ohm or millivolt sources. Automatic calibration continuously checks zero and full-scale outputs against factory calibration, and self-adjusts without interrupting output signals. Schneider Electric 508-549-2424



Hoffman Proline G2 line has a stronger frame that remains square under heavier loads, keeping side/rear covers aligned and eliminating door closing issues. Its EZ-Load mounting system allows subpanels to be loaded vertically from the front, rear and side, or horizontally from the front or rear. Access is eased by removable doors, sides, tops and bottom panels, and a new BV-M6 fastener (patent pending) combines a screw and nut in one unit to ease attaching items. Pentair Technical Solutions

Stainless-steel, IP66-rated VisuNet GXP touchscreen remote monitor is designed for indoor use in Zone 1/ 21 and 2/22 locations. The 21.5-inch GXP comes with RM Shell 4.1 thin client firmware, based on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and including advanced security features and plug-and-play start-up capabilities. Modular design allows easy installation and replacement of individual components, including the display, power supply and computing unit. Pepperl+Fuchs 330-486-0002; D E C E M B E R / 2 0 1 6


Chemistry: What you don’t know can hurt you Greg: Here we enjoy some war stories on material selection by Hunter Vegas, senior project manager at Wunderlich-Malec Engineering in Greensboro, N.C., a cofounder and key resource of the ISA Mentor Program ( blogs/controltalkblog/invitation-to-join-an-expanded-isa-mentor-program).

Hunter: Some automation engineers have the luxury of working with relatively simple or benign chemistry. Unfortunately, nearly all of my clients routinely work with “methyl ethyl death” or one of its many variants. I keep hoping for the dream automation retrofit job at a doughnut factory or an ice cream plant, but no luck so far.

Greg: What are some of the red flags? Hunter: After 30-plus years of automation projects, one develops an ability to spot red flag issues as they’re encountered. As soon as I recognize a red flag issue for what it is, I immediately begin asking for a lot of details. Many chemicals fall into my red flag zone, but some of the more common ones are anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, oxygen, peroxides/strong oxidizers, hydrogen cyanide, acids (hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, nitric, sulfuric, etc.), strong bases, carbon dioxide (with water), zinc/magnesium/sodium, hydrogen sulfide, and any chemical I don’t know. Each of these (and many others) can bite you in new and unexpected ways if you’re not diligent in your specifications.

Greg: I love old-fashioned doughnuts. We could get into our favorites, but we might have to change the name of this column to “Doughnut Talk.” Cartoons could feature the “Doughboy.” Hmm, maybe this is not a bad idea; we might pick up more readers.


Greg McMillan and Stan Weiner bring their wits and more than 66 years of process control experience to bear on your questions, comments and problems. Write to them at

Stan: Obviously, we can’t elaborate on all of the “gotchas” of each, but give us some quick examples, given that we need to allow time to go get some doughnuts.

Stan: Given that many plants have hazardous materials and many other substances that attack materials of construction, where are we in being safer?

Hunter: The art of instrumentation specification and material selection is rapidly being forgotten. Large companies are downsizing their engineering groups, and tossing instrumentation specification over the fence to the vendors. Unfortunately, the vendors rarely know the process or understand the chemistry involved. This can lead to mistakes in materials selection, and result in dangerous and even deadly consequences. Even when the right materials are specified, the wrong equipment can be shipped, often creating in an equally bad situation. The purpose of this discussion is to raise awareness of the issue, encourage controls engineers to evaluate their process, and choose instrumentation materials carefully.

Like materials, doughnuts must be used carefully around industrial facilities. For the Top 10 reasons why, visit chemistry-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you. D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6


C o n t r o l Ta l k

Hunter: Here are some particularly challenging chemicals

Hunter: Even when you’re aware of the dangers and specify

that come to mind:

the right materials, an error in the order process can occur. I once specified a pressure transmitter for high-pressure ammonia service and selected the proper non-Viton O-rings. The vendor used the correct O-rings inside the transmitter, but used the standard Viton O-rings for the manifold. We installed the transmitter, and I put it in service by opening the isolating valves. The transmitter starting reading, so I turned and had taken three steps toward the control room when I heard an increasingly angry hiss. I looked back and saw an ammonia vapor cloud enveloping the transmitter. Sometimes it isn’t the chemistry that bites you, but the unanticipated process conditions. An engineering firm specified a magmeter for a urea slurry application and the meter worked great—until Production steamed it out and blocked in the pipe. As the steam condensed, the meter was subjected to a full vacuum, which collapsed the liner and destroyed the meter. In other cases, a slight change in the process can have very unexpected results. One plant decided to replace the heating medium of a reactor feed exchanger with high-pressure steam condensate, rather than high-pressure steam, to increase heat transfer and raise plant rate. This worked wonderfully until we began running process safety vent (PSV) sizing calculations, and realized that if a tube failed and water reached the reactor, then the material inside would disassociate into very large amounts of carbon dioxide and ammonia. The PSVs could handle a tube failure with steam, but a tube failure with water would generate several times more vapor. Fortunately, the issue was corrected before a tube leak occurred.

Anhydrous ammonia—It’s explosive at high concentrations, dissolves Viton, reacts explosively with water, and will readily attack copper or any copper-bearing alloy. It can also create enormous water hammer if allowed to vaporize in a long pipe. Hydrogen cyanide (HCN)—It’s flammable and a deadly poison, but it also reacts explosively with almost everything. It will explosively polymerize with high-pH material and low-pH material, and can even explode if just left alone in a dead leg. It enters the pores of Teflon and polymerizes, puffing it up like popcorn, and will attack most other soft goods as well. It also polymerizes in nooks and crannies, freezing up control valves and any moving equipment. The number of explosive incidents involving this chemical is legion. One client had a small storage tank of HCN detonate. They did some testing to determine how big a PSV or rupture disk it would take to adequately protect the vessel, and the results indicated it would take a rupture disc bigger than the tank! They gave up and just eliminated the storage tank, feeding the chemical straight from the producer to the user with a small surge vessel between the plants. Sulfuric acid—This very common chemical poses a number of material selection challenges because it attacks different materials at different temperatures and concentrations. Carbon steel works great at high concentrations, but dissolves as the concentration falls. Similarly, fiberglass is great for dilute sulfuric acid, but is attacked if the concentration is too high. Concentrated sulfuric acid reacts violently with water and generates large amounts of heat. Many exotic alloys (and fiberglass) can easily handle dilute acid at low temperatures, but fail at higher temperatures. Sulfuric acid also liberates hydrogen gas as it reacts with metals, so tanks tend to gather hydrogen in the head space. Needless to say, sulfuric acid reacts explosively with bases. Many processes require dilution of sulfuric acid, but that’s very difficult to do given the heat and wide range of acid concentrations encountered. Oxygen—This gas is just looking for a chance to react with anything and the reaction is usually explosive. A little grease is all it takes to start the reaction, and the temperatures are so high that the oxygen will start burning the metal pipe walls around it.

Greg: Whether a material will fail depends on concentration, temperature, pressure and other process conditions including multiple phases. Velocity also accelerates corrosion and erosion.

Hunter: Control valve selection must consider cavitation, erosion, chemical attack, polymer buildup, etc. We had one valve taking a 1,500 psi drop of urea/carbamate solution. Between the chemical attack, incredible velocities, sound levels and flashing conditions, we couldn’t find a valve that would last a week. We ultimately ended up taking a solid block of Ferralium and machining a valve out of it. It cost $60,000 for a 2-in. x 6-in. valve.

Stan: What are some parting words of wisdom? Hunter: Automation engineers tend to focus on electrical and

Nitric acid—This acid violently reacts with many organics. One client learned that the hard way when a pump exploded and the impeller head was thrown through a cinder block wall. (Thankfully, nobody was hurt.)

Stan: Even if you think you’ve got the application covered, what can go wrong? 48 D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

software issues because they understand them. However, the enormous hazards associated with chemistry and material selection warrant our attention and diligence. If you’re working with unfamiliar chemicals, take the time to find the process engineer and ask a lot of questions. He’ll be thrilled to expound on his field and you’ll exit the conversation a much wiser (and safer) automation professional.

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Inertia, ignorance and initiative JIM MONTAGUE


Can Raspberry Pi and Arduino do process control? We’ll find out. 50


don’t know much physics, but I do know that Newton’s First Law says, “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” If that’s true, then moving from one state to the other takes plenty of effort. For instance, pizza that’s close at hand always appears more mouth-watering than if it’s out of reach and I have to get up off the couch to eat it. Just a little synergy between sins. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this rule and the effort it demands is true for many other situations, and may be the reason why I and most of my fellow humans seem to dislike change so intensely—even to the point where we’ll accept the threat of a more wrenching change later, so long as we don’t have to deal with even a minor, unwelcome change right now. And, big surprise, this situation gets worse as we get older because it takes more effort to handle changes when they show up. Pardon me, while I make some old-man noises, and go yell at the kids to get off my lawn. Little so-and-so’s with their joints that aren’t stiffened by age, too many carbohydrates and too much sitting! It’s supposed to be money that makes the world go round, but ironically, it’s inertia in the form of laziness that’s the true motivating factor. Money just buys the La-Z-Boy and house to put it in. Now, I’m not saying that we don’t need and deserve shelter and some rest, but I am saying don’t stay inert for too long because the cost goes up quickly. After years of writing about process application startups, overcoming stiction and partial stroke valve tests, I catch myself thinking about them when I try to shake off my personal cobwebs and rust. Sadly, inertia doesn’t just apply to planets and our physiology. As we can see, our psychology is soaked through with it, too. I don’t want to, and you can’t make me! I’ll shoot myself in the foot if I can be sure to kill that buzzing mosquito. Chalk it up to mental static friction. So what’s the solution? This is a tough one because there really is no immediate remedy. D e c e m b e r / 2 0 1 6

Personal conflicts from toilet training to international relations are often insoluble in the short term. Frankly, I’ve often been impressed with the many process engineers I’ve covered, and the fact that their efforts to draft standards for process safety, industrial networking, wireless and cybersecurity weren’t more contentious than so many other arguments I’ve covered, such as the long, time- and resource-wasting struggles over U.S. healthcare. Though it won’t work right away, if at all, the only possible solution is patience and faith, and not the organized, tacked-on, everything-isOK-when-it’s-obviously-not kind. For example, Control’s 2017 editorial calendar tells me I’m going to be covering all kinds of process density, do-it-yourself automation, and whether sensors and field instruments can skip PLCs and DCSs on their way to the cloud. Unfortunately, I have no idea how I’m going to research these topics or if I’ll find material I can turn into a real story. As usual, I’m relying on the people I run across to provide some useful answers to their community. This procedure is illogical and uncertain, but it’s never failed before, and so I think my faith is well placed. Can Raspberry Pi and Arduino do process control? We’ll find out. Beyond those editorial challenges, like many people in their mid-50s, my kids are almost all grown up and gone, my parents are getting uncomfortably close to dying, and my spouse is about to give me the heave ho, so I’m not even sure where I’ll be living in a few weeks. Am I worried? A little, but I’ve always been pretty flexible and adaptable. Once again, I think my belief in the future is justified. I’m not sure where my faith comes from. I do know that a one- or two-mile walk or a hot shower on a cold morning make me optimistic. I always find good people to interview, tasks and chores to do, and tasty pizza or crispy bacon. I enjoy the sun coming up and the hum of the world and people outside, and I want to get out in it and stay in motion.

My operators have poor visibility to potential issues. They need to view, process, and make informed decisions - clearly and quickly.

YOU CAN DO THAT Improve operations performance. Operator performance can impact plant safety and process availability. Emerson sets your operators up for success by using best-of-class technology, proven processes, and an understanding of human limitations and strengths. The DeltaV distributed control system can help reduce operator stress, limit human error, and provide intuitive data to run your plant more efficiently. Better visibility – better performance. Learn more at

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