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March 2009
Who Says You Can’t
Take it With You?
Wireless plant networking unleashes
new era of worker productivity
Far From Quiet on the
Wireless Front…p8
Future-Proof Your Next
Capital Project…p12
plant Wireless and
the ‘IT’ factor…p14
Supplement to
Who Says You Can’t
Take it With You?
Plant-level wireless networks unleash new era of worker productivity, safety and security.
Over the past three years, wireless field networking technology has taken the process industries by
storm. Answering the need for fast and easy implementation relative to wired alternatives, hundreds
of wireless mesh networks and thousands of wireless
sensors have been successfully deployed and continue
to reliably, efficiently and economically broaden the
measurement landscape.
“The principal advantage we see around wireless is
the ability to accumulate and analyze a much greater
array of data than would otherwise be possible,” says
Michael Ingraham, technical manager at BP’s Cherry
Point refinery in the U.S. “Wireless enables us to get
more data more efficiently, more economically than
we ever have been able to in the past.” (For more ideas
on how leading process manufacturers are innovating
globally with wireless field networks, see the following
article, “Far From Quiet on the Wireless Front.”)
In addition to the new frontier of sensor data
afforded by the wireless field is a large and rapidly
growing class of wireless success stories: “plant-level”
applications that are boosting the productivity, safety
and security of plant personnel as well as easing the
connection of physically disparate digital systems into
an integrated whole.
To accommodate the disparate needs of wireless
field- and plant-level applications, Emerson Process
Management’s Smart Wireless architecture consists of
two layers that are seamlessly integrated with the company’s control and plant network offerings (Figure 1).
The plant-level wireless layer is based on Cisco’s Unified
Wireless Network architecture, and is managed through
the Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) platform.
ways to benefit from plant wireless
Having successfully implemented hundreds of wireless
The Smart Wireless architecture includes tiers for field- and plant-level applications that integrate seamlessly with the company’s traditional control- and plant-level offerings.
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
field network applications, Emerson has more recently
seen a dramatic up-tick of interest in plant-level wireless network applications. Topping the list of customer
requested wireless applications are: empowering mobile
workers, location tracking, safety mustering, integration of non-traditional signals such as video, and bridging remote or isolated control systems.
Mobile worker productivity. Perhaps most appealing of all
wireless plant network applications are those designed
to enhance the productivity of mobile workers. Indeed,
it’s here where perhaps the biggest wireless plant network
returns are to be made—incremental productivity
improvements that pay off repeatedly. “The dollars really
add up when you can save 10 minutes to an hour, over
and over again,” explains Neil Peterson, wireless services
marketing manager for Emerson Process Management.
The variety of wireless-enabled mobile devices now
available ranges from hardened, 13-in. tablet PCs to
½-VGA palm-sized devices to hand-held communicators. For example, the Panasonic U1 is a handheld
PC that includes built-in Wi-Fi and cellular communication capabilities and is able to run a full-featured
Emerson DeltaV operator interface client.
“The operator is no longer chained to his desk,”
Peterson says. “We finally have the devices and the networks that make this possible.” And instead of installing
a wireless plant infrastructure, users can even leverage
commercial mobile data networks where it makes sense.
“All you need is a connection back through the firewall,
a data plan, and away you go.”
Smart handheld devices, of course, have been around
for some time—streamlining data-gathering tasks during
operations and maintenance rounds. But with wireless
connectivity comes the ability to continuously synchronize
data as workers move from point to point. There’s no need
to dock the device at the end of the shift; information
moves and updates immediately.
Location tracking and safety mustering. Another and
often critical class of wireless plant network applications involves real-time location awareness. That is, the
ability to know where your people and your mobile
plant assets are located at any given time. In the case
of a safety incident, the ability to know immediately
where all your employees are facilitates safer and more
efficient mustering. The wireless application replaces
clipboard tracking, allowing for quick, automated rollcall during an emergency.
Tracking the location of high-value equipment can
be a boon to maintenance productivity. Further, when
paired with a growing range of mobile worker applications, location awareness could even be used to manage
A growing class of worker mobility applications are allowing
plant personnel to readily access the information they need,
wherever they are in the plant.
a particular operator’s permission levels relative to their
specific location in the plant.
Video. Because broadband plant wireless networks are
based on commercial IT networking technology, they
can readily handle a range of signals more common to
the telecom world, namely wireless video and voice.
Video applications include both process monitoring and
security applications – for the video monitoring of flares,
for example, or for complying with perimeter security
monitoring requirements.
Bridging. The higher bandwidth of plant wireless networks is required in the bridging of two control system
areas into one network.
“A wireless segment is an effective means of integrating two remotely located control systems,” says Peterson.
The wireless bridging of two areas of control systems
may be essential when the systems are located across
bodies of water or are separated by terrain that is too difficult or expensive to trench for cable.
Field data back-haul. Similarly, wireless back-hauls are
used to integrate remote wireless field networks into the
existing plant-level control network: Wi-Fi is used to
overcome obstacles to physical network wiring such as
roads, rivers, railroads or just plain distance.
Wireless-enabled operations management
The promise of a wireless-enabled mobile worker is
special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
Evolving Your
Wireless Networks
A key differentiator of Emerson’s
Smart Wireless offering is that
both field- and plant-level networks are scalable, allowing users
to start anywhere and grow, with
full confidence that applications
can be added as the scope of your
wireless implementation expands.
A sample evolutionary path might
be as shown.
1) Start with a wireless field network;
use 802.11 Wi-Fi as the backhaul.
procedure, and then documents that the test was properly completed with all associated data and records.
even more potent when considered in the context of the
latest generation of real-time production management
applications such as Emerson’s new Syncade smart
operations management suite offering. Itself a modular, scalable suite of software applications, Syncade is
designed to integrate real-time plant-floor data with
off-line and transactional plant business processes. Add
wireless mobility to the mix and you have a powerful
combination for improving productivity while avoiding
procedural and documentation errors.
Consider, for example, the following scenario: A
wireless pressure transducer alarms because of excessive
pressure drop across a filter. The alarm is seamlessly
transmitted to the control room operator who, suspecting a plugged filter, locks out the associated pump and
kicks off a maintenance request.
A maintenance tech receives the request on her
wireless-enabled mobile device and, because she can
directly access the pump and filter specifications from
her handheld, arrives in the field with requisite spare
parts in hand. She then accesses the control system to
verify that the pump is indeed locked out, accesses the
work processes library for the proper filter replacement
procedure, scans the barcodes on the filter and pump
to track and ensure the proper filter is being used, and
replaces the filter. Then, she updates the equipment
maintenance log electronically to sign off and places
the pump back in available status. All from the convenience of her wireless handheld device.
Regulatory compliance can also be enhanced by a
combination of a plant wireless network with real-time
production management tools. Imagine that a technician is sent to confirm that Unit 1’s safety system
is working. Syncade suite, communicating with the
worker’s mobile device, verifies that the tech’s safety
training is current, verifies that the test procedure being
utilized is current, collects data as the tech executes the
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
2) A
dd a small-scale wireless
mobile worker application.
plant and field: A natural union
Wireless plant networks have requirements that are
unique and different from wireless field networks.
Wireless field networks, including those described by
the WirelessHART standard, are single-purpose and
low in bandwidth and power consumption. Wireless
plant networks, on the other hand, are based on IEEE
wireless network standards common to the broader IT
world, including the 802.11-2007 Wi-Fi series of wireless protocols. These higher bandwidth plant networks
are designed to accommodate multiple simultaneous
applications. “The plant network completes the union
of a seamless wireless plant architecture, bringing the
higher capacity that spurs full integration of the likes of
Enabled by wireless, Emerson’s Syncade suite of operations
management tools integrates real-time plant-floor data with
transactional plant-floor work processes.
Access Point Coverage
Smart Wireless Gateway
Mobile HMI
Wireless Video Camera
RFID Tag Reader
3) Expand the plant wireless
network coverage, add RFID
and wireless video.
4) Add more devices and continue to
expand wireless network coverage.
Wireless Discrete Transmitter
Wireless Pressure Transmitter
Wireless Vibration Transmitter
cameras and bar code gear with the process infrastructure of intelligent information-bearing field devices,”
explains Jane Lansing, Emerson Process Management
vice president. “It’s a marriage of networks for a sustainable future of advantages.”
“The wireless plant network is a shared resource,”
adds Emerson’s Neil Peterson. “You can have multiple
virtual networks within one physical plant network.”
These virtual local area networks are configured with
quality of service guarantees; to ensure that control
signals, for example, have the proper transmission
priority relative to other, less critical signals such as
video monitoring. “You can use one physical installation of wireless mesh network hardware for multiple
and different applications such as video and personnel
tracking,” Peterson explains.
start anywhere. start today
It’s important to note that a key differentiator of
the Emerson Smart Wireless network offering is its
scalability. Users don’t have to install both field- and
plant-level wireless networks at the same time. Users
can start small, with either a field- or plant-level network and evolve from there.
At the field level, users can start with a gateway
and a handful of measurement points and, as long as
a few simple rules of thumb are followed, have confidence that the mesh network will come to life with
little fuss. No exhaustive site survey is necessary, and
an initial field network can be readily expanded—in
fact becoming more reliable as more measurement
points are added.
At the plant level too, users need not start with
an extensive wireless infrastructure. Indeed, two of
the most common wireless plant network applications – the bridging of two control system networks
and the back-haul of field network data – are relatively
straightforward to get up and running, requiring no
extensive infrastructure plan (and no site survey if it is
less than five miles and there is a clear line-of-sight).
Of course, deploying an asset tracking application over a wide area would require a bit more planning, engineering and a site survey—but fortunately
there’s help available for that, too.
So you’re ready to scale…
You may have started with a wireless field network in
a tank farm. Then added a localized mobile worker
application. But at some point you may be ready for a
full-blown wireless infrastructure project—and you’ll
be glad you started with Emerson.
One key aspect of Emerson Process Management’s approach to wireless plant-level networks is its
relationship with networking leader Cisco Systems.
Cisco’s industry-leading Wireless Control System
(WCS) for wireless network planning, configuration
and management provides a cohesive communications platform across the physical as well as the
functional areas of plant operations so that a shared
wireless plant network can readily grow into and
support a variety of applications.
Emerson itself offers a comprehensive services portfolio to help customers design and deploy wireless plant
networks. With three global service centers located in
North America, Europe and Asia, users can be assured
of consistent support on a global basis. Included in the
project services portfolio are capabilities for site surveys,
network planning and design, network installation and
commissioning, application implementation, network
support and management, as well as project management. And even after your wireless network is up and
running, Emerson’s after-project support is available to
help you continue to get the most from your wireless
plant network investment.
special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
Far From Quiet on the
Wireless Front
From power-gen to petrochem, fiber production to gas distribution,
wireless field networks continue to prove their process automation mettle
Despite the economic downturn of recent months,
the global application of wireless field networks continues
apace. Indeed, today’s economic realities are in many ways
a perfect fit for wireless: With capital at a premium, process
manufacturers are looking for quick investments that cost
little and save even more. Or, for cost-of-doing-business
applications such as for satisfying regulatory requirements,
they’re looking for solutions that will help them toe the line
as quickly, easily and cost-effectively as possible.
In the course of this article, we’ll visit seven industrial sites around the world – all of which have turned
to Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless field
networks to cost-effectively enable compliance, boost
productivity, improve safety or increase reliability (and
sometimes a combination of all of the above!).
“Our plant is more than thirty years old,” explains
Jerome Uszes, electricity control & regulation maintenance manager for Total Petrochemicals. “With the
rising cost of copper and the ageing of existing wiring—
from corrosion, infiltration, armature degradation—it’s
essential to find alternative methods to carry data
throughout the plant. We believe in wireless technologies and Emerson is a pioneer that is on the right track to
offer a solution that meets our needs.”
“Installation was quick and
easy; we just switched them
on and they all worked.”
Predictive monitoring enabled at Total
— Simon Lark, E.ON UK
Our first stop takes us to Total Petrochemicals in
Carling, France, where Rosemount Smart Wireless
temperature transmitters provide the information needed to infer changes in boiler wall thickness. The boiler
provides steam for the plant’s cracker, and monitoring
wall thickness enables personnel to anticipate when the
boiler might need replacement.
By going wireless, Total Petrochemicals avoided the
need for a kilometer of new wiring, while reducing the
need for personnel to move into and around at-risk areas.
This non-critical monitoring of the boiler walls
presented Total Petrochemicals with the perfect
opportunity to evaluate Emerson’s Smart Wireless
technology on a large scale and in a real industrial
environment. The application would also enable the
company to determine the current limits of the wireless devices and to direct future developments made
by Emerson’s research and development department.
For Total Petrochemicals in Carling, France, wireless mesh network technology has proved itself an essential alternative to running new
wiring or relying on ageing infrastructure.
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
The remote tank is 40 feet high and has four different
beds of gases used to react with certain process chemicals. Even though this is not classified as a hazardous
area, the tank layout and distance involved made
running wires to the tank and mounting instruments
both difficult and expensive.
“Hard wiring this installation would have been
very challenging due to the location of the vessel,”
according to Brian Wood, DCS specialist at the NuWest plant. “The self-organizing architecture was the
clincher since less than perfect line-of-sight to each
device is not a concern with this system. We already
have plans to add more devices to the network.”
Transmissions from the remote tank at Nu-West
are received by a Smart Wireless Gateway and channeled via the PlantWeb digital plant architecture to
the DeltaV automation system where the AMS Suite
predictive maintenance software recognizes readings
that are out of the norm, enabling operators to take
action to control the reactions in the tank.
“We were very pleased with Emerson’s responsiveness. Delivery, installation and a successful
startup was completed within just ten days of our
order,” says Uszes.
Water usage monitored at E.ON
Across the channel at the E.ON Kingsnorth power station, a 1940-MW unit located on the Medway Estuary
in Kent, U.K., Smart Wireless technology is helping to
accurately monitor and measure treated water usage.
“E.ON is keen to adopt the very latest technology
to help improve productivity, efficiency and availability,
and wireless technology provides the ideal networking solution to access the flow measurement data from
the turbine building without having to install new
cabling,” says Chet Mistry, E.ON UK team leader.
Having initially undertaken extensive trials of
Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, E.ON selected
the Emerson solution because it offered high levels of
reliability and long transmitting distance, as well as the
ability to add additional devices to the network without
the need for additional infrastructure.
“We have great confidence in the technology. The
self-organising network provides redundant routes
for the data to pass back to the gateway. The resulting
wireless mesh network delivers high reliability, “says
Simon Lark, C&I engineer, E.ON UK.
“We were initially a little skeptical of the claims
made for wireless, especially considering the environment we would be placing it in. But installation was
quick and easy and we just switched them on and they
all worked,” continues Lark. “The gateway is situated in
a windowless room within the main building. Despite
being totally surrounded by brick walls, when switched
on the wireless transmitters were all clearly visible and
immediately connected to the gateway.”
“This initial installation of wireless is providing us
with valuable experience,” adds Mistry. “We are now
hoping to be able to use this experience to apply the
technology to a range of applications including accessing valve diagnostic information.”
At Nu-West Industries in Soda Spring, Idaho, a series of wireless temperature and pressure transmitters enable more precise
process control by measuring process conditions at various points
in this vertical reactor.
Remote reactions tracked at Nu-West
At Nu-West Industries’ phosphate-based fertilizer
plant in Soda Springs, Idaho, U.S., a self-organizing
Smart Wireless system is tracking 16 pressure and
temperature points on a reaction tank located about
250 feet from the central control room.
Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology was selected
by Nu-West, a subsidiary of Agrium US, because it
proved to be the easiest to install, most secure, and
most reliable solution to the problem of retrieving essential operating information at an extended distance.
7 special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
Chevron estimates that having the correct steaming
measurements has saved the company 14 days of production four times each year, worth more than $100,000
annually. Smart Wireless also saved $60,000 in installations costs relative to hard wiring.
“The new wireless system is reliable and has passed
our rigorous IT security review,” adds Mohammad
Heidari, Chevron automation engineer. “Installation was
easy and we haven’t had any problems.”
Safety and production improved at Chevron
At Chevron’s San Ardo, Calif., U.S., oil field, the
company boosted personnel safety, has reduced wastewater discharge, and improved time and strategy for
production by utilizing two Smart Wireless networks
to monitor its steam injection process and measure
down-hole well pressures.
Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters are
installed at eight stations and on multiple steam lines
leading to out-of-service wells undergoing steam
injection at the company’s operations in the San
Joaquin Valley. Chevron switched to wireless monitoring after a Smart Wireless demonstration on one
well confirmed an operator’s suspicion that steam
usage was actually much higher than what had been
previously recorded.
“The Smart Wireless transmitter in the demo
uncovered that we were injecting four times as much
steam as needed into this particular well,” says Paul
Kinne, Chevron head operator. The over-steaming
created more wastewater, which had to be pumped
Environmental compliance
enabled at Lenzing
At the Lenzing Fibers mill in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, a
Smart Wireless network is enabling the company to meet
local government regulations related to the temperature
of water discharged into rivers and watercourses.
“The Emerson technology was both easy to install
and integrate and has been extremely reliable in terms of
data transfer,” says Wolfgang Gotzi, head of automation
and maintenance. “When all the transmitters were in
place the network offered us a communications reliability of 100%, which is very impressive.”
Lenzing Fibers, a winner of the European Business Awards for the Environment, is the world’s largest
producer of Tencel fibers. The Heiligenkreuz fibers
plant uses water drawn from a local river for cooling
purposes. Local environmental regulations require that
the water returned to the river must not be more than
3 degrees Celsius higher than the water extracted. The
regulations also stipulate that the company must maintain a constant check and record of the water temperature at both inlet and outlet points.
“Because of the distance of the River Lafnitz from
the control room and the fact people are free to walk
by the river, we would have had to dig a trench for the
cabling and this would have been very expensive,” said
Gotzi. “The cost of installing wireless is much lower
and has made this project possible.”
Prior to the regulation being introduced, Lenzing
was already monitoring the water temperatures manually
involving daily visits to the river. However to meet the
environmental regulation there was a need to improve
the reliability of the results and for these measurements
to be easily stored and be made readily available for inspection. By implementing a solution that enabled online
measurements, Lenzing Fibers reduced operations costs
and streamlined reporting.
“Going wireless eliminated
the need for drilling through
concrete decks, installing
conduit and cable trays,
and pulling wires. Instead,
we have an easily installed,
cost-effective and reliable
wireless network.”
— Joe Murach, PPL Generation
from the well and treated before being discharged into
wetlands draining into the Salinas River. The oversteaming also meant the company used more natural
gas than necessary to produce the steam.
Operator safety has been improved and maintenance and travel costs reduced at the oil field because
of the wireless technology. Personnel no longer need to
visit the injection wells to collect data from traditional
chart recorders or to check instruments for proper
operation. The robust, self-organizing wireless network
includes a Smart Wireless gateway, which communicates reliable data to the oil field’s control room via an
Ethernet network connection.
“In addition, operators no longer need to make and
break high pressure and temperature connections, so
their safety is improved,” says Kinne.
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
Pipeline upgrade streamlined at Bord Gáis
Emerson Smart Wireless technology is being used to
help monitor an expansive natural gas pipeline distribution system as part of an upgrade to Bord Gáis’ Above
Ground Installations (AGIs) in Ireland. New Rosemount wireless devices have replaced aging hard-wired
At Middleton, Rosemount wireless transmitters
included five measuring pressure, one differential pressure, and one temperature. All have been successfully
installed and are sending measurements back to the
control room via the RTU. The devices are placed in
enclosures, standard practice for all instrumentation
used at Bord Gáis AGIs, and the Smart Wireless Gateway is positioned within the instrumentation kiosk,
which is effectively a “walk in” enclosure.
“We found that the enclosures do not interfere with
the signals at all. We tested a few devices that were positioned furthest away from the gateway and these worked
without any problems so we proceeded to install the rest of
the transmitters,“ explained Brid Sheehan, Communication & Instrumentation Engineer, Bord Gáis. “Reliability
of the wireless signal has not been an issue. We trend the
wireless transmissions from the control room so we can see
if there are any problems, but so far there hasn’t been any.“
Reliability improved at PPL Generation
For Lenzing Fibers in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, a Smart Wireless
network has proven a cost-effective means to continuously monitor
the temperature rise of cooling water drawn from and returned to
the local river.
devices as part of a trial to decide the future ‘specification’ of such sites going forward and for other sites that
are due upgrades. Existing AGIs reaching the end of
their lifespan are being upgraded with the latest instrumentation. One such site was at Middleton, near Cork,
where a number of instruments needed to be upgraded
with the latest temperature and pressure transmitters.
“Having adopted GPRS (General Packet Radio
Service) as a “back up” communications technology for our RTUs we were very comfortable with
wireless,” says Frank Smiddy, communication &
instrumentation engineer, Bord Gáis. “We like to
think that we are very forward thinking and open to
new ideas and we are always looking to improve our
service using the latest technology.”
For the upgrade at Middleton, wireless promised to
be lower cost, offered faster installation and start-up, as
well as easy integration into the existing RTUs using
Modbus serial communications. Although there is minimal traffic on the road dividing the Middleton facility,
Bord Gáis could not use a line-of-sight wireless solution
as the signal may be interrupted by passing cars affecting
the reliability of the communications.
At PPL Generation power plants in Pennsylvania, Smart
Wireless technology has proved to be “extremely costeffective and reliable.” For example, in providing continuous performance data on critical boiler feed pumps
at the Montour power stations as well as feedwater and
air heaters at the Brunner Island Unit 1. “The additional
information provided by the wireless instruments allows us to more effectively monitor the mechanical and
thermal performance of these valuable assets,” says Joe
Murach, supervisor of equipment reliability.
Key temperature and pressure measurements were
not available previously to populate software designed
to analyze thermal performance and determine preventive maintenance schedules. Company officials had
long wanted to obtain this information, but the high
cost of installing wiring was a roadblock they could not
overcome. Wireless was the only option for obtaining the
needed data, Murach says.
“The Emerson technology is able to handle the power
plant environment,” Murach says. “The transmitters
communicate with the gateway without a problem even
across several floors and through walls. Going wireless
eliminated the need for drilling through concrete decks,
installing conduit and cable trays, and pulling wires.
Instead, we have an easily installed, cost-effective and
reliable wireless network.”
“We are now able to more closely monitor the condition of our valuable assets like the feedwater pumps and
determine the thermal efficiency of critical equipment,”
adds Murach. “The newly available information allows
us to optimize boiler efficiency and detect problems at
their onset. This enables our maintenance personnel to
make repairs at the most opportune time rather than
waiting until something fails unexpectedly.”
special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
Future-Proof Your Next
Capital Project
Wireless earns its keep in capital project savings, while laying a
flexible foundation for change
By now, the case for considering wireless field networks
has been well made—at least when you’re faced with adding a few new measurement points to an existing facility.
If you can avoid the need to run new conduit or armored
cable to the field; if you can avoid the need to add new
cabinet space; if you can avoid the need to expand I/O
capacity—you can slash installed cost per incremental
measurement point by as much as an order of magnitude.
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
But for a capital project—a new greenfield unit or
a significant brownfield expansion—the answer may
not be quite so clear. No one today would argue that all
measurement points in a new plant could or should be
wireless. So, some traditional wire still needs to be run.
That being a given, does it make economic sense to do
wireless, too, on a new project?
The answer emerging from two recent engineering
studies is an unqualified “yes” – but perhaps not for the
reasons you might think.
also showed that installed cost savings with wireless
technology approach those seen with Foundation
fieldbus technology. Further, wireless was less expensive to implement than hardwired regardless of the
wiring distances involved.
In the final analysis, however, it wasn’t installed
costs that carried the day for wireless in each of the
study’s conclusions. Rather, it was the forward-looking
“Wireless is part of a new
best practice….It delivers savings, flexibility and
speed of implementation.”
Wireless + Fieldbus = new best practice
Emerson Process Management recently unveiled
the results of two independent analyses of the use
of wireless field networks in real-world, greenfield
projects. In one case, JDI Contracts applied Emerson
Smart Wireless technology to applications in a new
process plant design for a major U.S. chemical manufacturer (see sidebar, p12). In the other, Emerson
modeled the application of wireless to an aromatics
plant capital project (see second sidebar, p12).
Each of the studies considered the use of wireless
against a baseline case of 100% hard-wired, 4-20mA
HART instrumentation, as well as wireless in combination with Foundation fieldbus and other devicelevel bus network protocols.
Key installed cost savings for wireless accrued to
labor savings associated with not running conduit or
making wiring terminations for the points deemed
suitable for wireless (25% of total measurements in the
JDI study; 44% in the Emerson analysis). The Emerson
study only considered monitoring points eligible for
wireless; the JDI study included slow response control points as well. “The largest differential costs were
conduit and associated labor between the field junction
boxes and each field device, followed by labor for all
terminations,” says Dan Daugherty, field architecture
consultant, Emerson Process Management.
At the bottom line, today’s wireless technology
presented a significant installed cost savings over
traditional 4-20mA instrumentation. The studies
–Roger Hoyum, JDI Contracts
flexibility of wireless that earned it a place in the capital
projects toolkit. Indeed, wireless is only the latest enabler of smarter and simpler engineering and construction, more flexible start-up, faster deployment and project completion, and the ability to better accommodate
changing automation needs, both studies concluded.
“It’s part of a new best practice,” says Roger
Hoyum, JCI Contracts principal engineer and author of one of the studies. “Our PePC/MAC design
approach includes HART and Foundation fieldbus
in the communications toolkit–and now wireless is
an important new tool. It delivers savings, flexibility
and speed of implementation.”
Wireless ‘delivers a better plant’
“Our recommendations regarding best practices are
firmly centered around procedures and technology
required to meet owner objectives and deliver expected
project outcomes to our clients, including scope, schedule, budget and less tangible outcomes such as maintainability and ease of use,” continues Hoyum. “With
wireless technology, we can deliver a better plant.”
11 special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
The Case for Wireless: A Greenfield Chemical Plant
JDI Contracts worked with a major
EPC and end user to study the
project impact of wireless. They
compared engineering, construction, startup and overhead costs for
approaches using wired HART, wired
bus technologies, WirelessHART,
and combinations of each. Wireless
was used for non-safety, low speed
control and monitoring, amounting
to about 25% of the total points.
Overall plant engineering,
construction and startup savings
were about 10% of considered costs
Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
Case 4
4-20mA HART
Fieldbus/ DeviceNet
Total Points
Soft I/O
Total Cost ($M)
Installation Savings
as compared with wired HART; for
the bus installation, wireless savings
were on par with wired busing. Although not quantified, other considerations of flexibility and schedule
impact were deemed very important
in each approach:
Case 4, an integrated approach
to using wireless together with
Foundation fieldbus, DeviceNet,
and 4-20mA hardwired HART was
deemed optimal.
“By implementing wireless
with other technologies, we found
we could deliver a smarter plant
at the same or lower cost,” says
Roger Hoyum, principal engineer,
JDI Contracts.
According to Hoyum, wireless
benefits accrued to nearly every
aspect of the project:
• Engineering: Reduced complexity
and simplified application.
• Construction: Reduced scope,
simplified installation.
• Startup: Highly flexible, responsive
to changing needs.
• Overheads: Schedule savings translate to significant costs savings.
The Case for Wireless: A Greenfield Aromatics Plant
Emerson Process Management, using real data from a
greenfield aromatics project, found that wireless could
conservatively be applied to 44% of all measurement
points. Similar to the JDI study (above), Smart Wireless
showed significant savings of 36% in installation costs
as compared with a hardwired, 4-20mA HART solution;
Foundation fieldbus offered higher installation savings
than WirelessHART, in part due to the current availability
of higher density temperature measurement devices (four
multiplexed sensors per transmitter with current wireless
technology compared with eight for Foundation fieldbus).
The Foundation fieldbus design actually delivered the
lowest installed-cost scenario relative to a 100% hard-wired
approach. But many of the ongoing benefits of using wireless are not adequately accounted for in this analysis, the
study noted. These include the ability to accommodate
difficult or remote installations; simplified training and engineering; reduced need/cost for spare I/O capacity; ability
to accommodate late changes and temporary installations;
and the ease of adding future wireless points.
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4-20mA HART
Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
Total Points
Monitoring Points
Monitoring Costs ($M)
Installation Savings
“Once detailed engineering
is done, every greenfield
project becomes a
brownfield plant.”
© Royal Dutch Shell
–Peter Zornio, Emerson Process Management
Because of its persistent flexibility and ongoing productivity
gains, expect a wireless field- and plant-level network infrastructure to be included in a growing number of grassroots
projects right from the start.
“It’s also important to remember that once detailed
engineering is done, every greenfield project becomes a
brownfield plant,” adds Peter Zornio, Emerson Process
Management chief strategic officer. “Our takeaway
from these studies is that all three technologies—
HART, fieldbus and wireless—should be in the design
toolbox for capital projects.”
“The studies confirm that fieldbus continues to offer
the lowest cost installation for process control points.
For monitoring points, both fieldbus and wireless offer
good alternatives and similar installation savings,”
Zornio adds. “However, over the plant lifecycle, wireless adds significant benefits with simplified training,
greater flexibility and allows very easy and lowest cost
incremental expansion.”
So in the end, if installation savings are comparable with fieldbus (and very significant when compared to hardwired HART), the decision regarding
whether to include wireless in your next capital
project may not be why, but why not?
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The ‘IT’ Factor
Process manufacturing wireless networks may encroach on your IT department’s
standards space. Here’s how to make sure it all works together.
In the past, process automation and office automation networks had little in common. As a result, process
operations often functioned independently of information technology (IT) departments, and IT policies
didn’t encroach on the plant floor.
All that changed as process automation began to
use more technologies that originated in the IT world–
from Ethernet to Microsoft Windows–and as process
networks were linked to IT-controlled business networks
and even the Internet.
Introducing wireless technology for process applications can raise concerns in your IT department.
They may simply be unfamiliar with how it will work
in the plant environment or have specific concerns
about technology, security and support. On the other
hand, IT may also have valuable experience and resources to help you plan a wireless network, get it up
and running, and keep it that way.
Although wireless networks are becoming more
common in office environments, your IT group may
not be as familiar with them as with wired networks–
especially when it comes to wireless technologies
designed for industrial applications.
They’re also likely to be concerned about anything
that may represent a risk to the security of assets they
have been charged with protecting, including both information and infrastructure.
And they may be concerned about how a wirelessnetworking project will affect their workload–especially
when it comes to ongoing maintenance and support.
An effective field- or plant-level wireless deployment will likely benefit from early-and-often collaboration with your IT department.
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
IT is from Mars, automation from Venus
Key IT concerns likely revolve around technology,
security and support–and how to deal with them.
Your IT group may have concerns about technology
risk (whether the wireless solution will work, and keep
working) and compatibility (how it will work with
other technologies and existing IT infrastructure).
You can relieve those concerns by sticking to
solutions based on appropriate standards-based
technologies–and making sure IT understands that’s
what you’re doing.
Start by clarifying which wireless technology
you’re planning to use. For example, the primary technology for in-plant applications may be a self-organizing network based on the IEEE 802.15.4 physical
standard. (Field networks based on the wirelessHART
standard use this physical standard.) Your IT group
may be less familiar with this technology than the
802.11 Wi-Fi networks used in offices, but the fact
that it is based on an IEEE standard should reduce
their concerns about risk and compatibility.
Wi-Fi may be a component of some solutions–
for example, to provide a wireless link between a
gateway (which collects data from several wireless
devices) and the control room, or to provide mobile
workers access to the plant control network. If so,
you may be able to take advantage of existing IT
experience with this technology.
Compatibility concerns may focus on the gateway
itself, since it is the point where self-organizing networks
integrate with other plant networks. You can overcome
IT objections by selecting a gateway that will “play by
the rules”–for example, by supporting standard network
scanning, discovery, and vulnerability tools.
Security, support are common concerns
It’s a common misconception that wireless devices are
not as secure as wired networks. In fact, wired and
wireless networks can both be vulnerable – and a well
designed, properly implemented wireless network can
actually be more secure than a typical wired one.
Show your IT group that most of today’s wireless
solutions for industrial applications–unlike some
older office and automation networks–are designed
with security in mind. Encryption, authentication
and verification, key management, and anti-jamming measures all help prevent unauthorized access
to network data. In fact, such security capabilities
often are absent in older wired networks that rely
solely on physical isolation to provide a cursory level
of security. You can work with IT and your wireless
supplier to identify the techniques that make the
most sense in your application.
Adding a wireless component to your existing
plant environment may also prompt a more comprehensive review of plant information security in general
– from firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs)
to passwords and anti-virus software. That’s a good
thing! In fact, system audits and reviews of security
procedures and policies should be done on a periodic
basis, regardless of specific networking decisions.
Today’s wireless solutions
for industrial applications
– unlike older office and
automation networks –
are designed with security
in mind.
Just like the other parts of your plant, your wireless
system may need periodic maintenance, upgrades and
other support. Your IT group can be a great resource
for best practices on handling patches and upgrades,
as well as network troubleshooting if needed. They
may even be willing to do it for you. Regardless of
who does it, the work will be easier–and your IT
department will be less concerned–if your supplier has
a record of making reliable products and an efficient
system for managing patches and upgrades.
Do you really need their help?
Possibly not. If you are connecting a self-organizing
wireless network to an existing process automation network, especially through a wired gateway device, you
may not need to involve IT. The process and equipment
information collected from wireless instruments is the
same as that from wired devices, and it will be used in
the same way—all within the process control domain.
If you include IT in your planning, however, you
may benefit from their networking expertise, tools
and resources. For example, if you’re using Wi-Fi
for a plant-level wireless application, much of what
they’ve learned about applying this technology in office
environments will also be relevant in process related
applications. Their experience evaluating network suppliers and conducting IT-security audits can be useful
as you do the same for your wireless network. They can
be invaluable in determining the best way to make the
data available to other plant and business systems.
Finally, if you expect your IT group to provide ongoing maintenance for your network, it’s a very good idea
to get them in the loop early and make sure it’s implemented in a way they will support.
15 special advertising supplement ● MARCH 2009
Smart Wireless lets you start anywhere and go everywhere.
Whether you start with a handful of nodes or hundreds, Emerson Smart Wireless gives you the first truly scalable
wireless network that seamlessly integrates with your wired one. Thanks to open, interoperable WirelessHART™
and industrial Wi-Fi standards, Emerson Smart Wireless incorporates directly into your existing automation
architecture — without any need for upfront engineering, site surveys or special commissioning. And to your
operators and maintenance staff, each Smart Wireless device looks and behaves like a wired one, no matter
how many you install. So not only is it self-organizing, Emerson Smart Wireless plays well with others too.
Discover your plant’s limitless potential
The Emerson logo is a trademark and a service mark of Emerson Electric Co. © 2008 Emerson Electric Co.
HART® is a registered trademark of the HART Communication Foundation
MARCH 2009 ● special advertising supplement
D351574X012 / 20K / 03-09
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