Fieldbus has some pretty powerful lifecycle cost benefits. Significant cost reductions can be realized throughout the plant lifecycle, from engineering and design to operations and maintenance. More importantly, fieldbus is a great way to manage risk. At the Foundation we have numerous case studies of plant shutdowns and failures that have been avoided because of the diagnostic capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus and our ability to do control in the field device or actuator/positioner.
Our latest white paper explains some of the more advanced functions of FOUNDATION fieldbus and how they can translate to dollars for your business. As a way to illustrate how these benefits can be achieved we examine some of the more advanced application and service offerings from Yokogawa, which is one of the largest FOUNDATION fieldbus suppliers and supporters. Much of what we discuss, however, is available from a wide range of FOUNDATION fieldbus suppliers and all their registered hosts and products can be found on our web site.
Some of the topics we discuss include integrated plant asset management systems, device management applications, bulk downloading capabilities, how fieldbus engineering and design can actually save you money, and more.
Emerson Process Management has announced that it has tested and successfully integrated Softing’s Linking Device and Gateway FG-110-FF,with the Emerson AMS Suite predictive maintenance software application. This basically means that AMS can be added to any FOUNDATION fieldbus network regardless of host. You can read the entire press release here.
You may have noticed that ISA has launched a new standards committee, of which I have the privilege of being a member. The ISA108 Intelligent Device Management standards committee “will define standard templates of best practices and work processes for design, development, installation and use of diagnostic and other information provided by intelligent field devices in the process industries.”
Let me be clear that this is not a FOUNDATION fieldbus-centric standard. This standard applies to anyone who is using intelligent field devices on any network. In many cases, the promise of intelligent field devices in process plants remains unrealized. This is not so much a technology issue as a people or work process issue. Too many users are employing old maintenance work processes with new technology. The new devices and applications are installed, but the operators and technicians stick to their old way of doing things, their old preventative or routine maintenance practices, and never really take advantage of the huge amount of information that is available to them. It seems clear that the process industries would benefit from a standard set of work processes and best practices for intelligent device management. This would give end users an effective blueprint for achieving the significant economic lifecycle benefits associated with intelligent devices.
There is an article in the June issue of Plant Services that was written by John Rezabek, Herman Storey and myself on why we need a standard for Intelligent Device Management. The basic premise is that we have a lot of intelligent devices installed out there, but very few of the end users are actually availing themselves of the diagnostic capabilities of these devices, which can help them reduce maintenance costs and improve operations. Most intelligent devices, be they FOUNDATION fieldbus, HART, or Profibus, tend to be underachievers. Plant asset management workstations often sit collecting dust, in many cases because the end user did not implement the correct work processes to take advantage of the technology. Many end users also do not implement intelligent device management applications correctly. Implementing the intelligent device management strategy at the early phases of a project, for example, is key to your success.
Many of us in the industry that deal with fieldbus and intelligent devices thought that it would be good to have a standard that could outline some recommended work processes, a template if you will, for users to work from as they deploy their intelligent device management strategy and bring it through the operational and maintenance phases of the plant. Our standards proposal has been submitted to ISA and we are awaiting official approval. Meanwhile, you can get the whole story at this Plant Services Article!
With Fieldbus, it’s all about the tools. You need good plant asset management applications to take advantage of diagnostic data, and you need good device configuration applications to get everything working the way you want it. Yokogawa has recently announced that it will release version 2.05 of its FieldMate Device Management Wizard on August 6. The new version includes German, French, and Russian language support as well as a new tool that makes it easier to replace a sensor with one of a different model. A new verification tool for checking the integrity of Yokogawa AXF magnetic flowmeters is also included. You can read the entire release here.
Australian automation publication PACE Process Control & Engineering has a good article by Kevin Gomez on the investment in training and skills development that is required to support FOUNDATION fieldbus systems. The article quotes Rafael Koenig, head of the Process Control & Automation Division and PI Competence Centre at Tyco Flow Control. Koenig presented a white paper at the Ninth International Alumina Quality Workshop in Perth. Koenig highlights the need for better training in the process industries in general. To achieve the true operational and maintenance cost benefits of fieldbus, users must implement a predictive maintenance strategy.
From the article:
We at the Foundation couldn’t agree more. Without the investment in training and skilled people, users will have a difficult time getting the biggest benefits out of FOUNDATION fieldbus — the implementation of a true predictive and proactive maintenance strategy.
Here is an excellent presentation from Shell that I came across while doing some Googling for asset management and Fieldbus. It appears to be a few years old, but what I like about it is the detailed descriptions of just how much time is wasted during traditional maintenance activities. The crisis in maintenance has been well documented by people like my friend Joel Leonard over at SkillTV. FOUNDATION Technology can help address this crisis and provide a vehicle for true operational excellence in an environment of constrained resources.
azbil, also known as Yamatake Corporation, has announced a new field device management platform called Field Organizer. The new application promises to significantly shorten the time required for routine maintenance tasks such as loop checkout. Real time device status updates and integration with Yamatake’s Valstaff maintenance support system for control valves are some other features. Field Organization supports FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART, and FDT/DTM technologies.