Integration, prediction, 2020 control room

Think Again application summaries: Machine data integration saves time, predictive maintenance avoids unplanned downtime, and a control room designed for 2020 attracts young engineering prospects, among other benefits.

By Mark T. Hoske April 22, 2016

Smart applications of automation technologies save money, time, improve quality, decrease downtime, and, perhaps, in an unintended benefit, can attract younger engineers. These were among application presentations at the ARC Group Industry Forum, Feb. 8 to 11, in Orlando, Fla.

Shop-floor data network

Rocky Rowland, a Mazak production manager, talked about how a shop-floor data network in the Florence, Ky., Mazak manufacturing facility lead to an 8.5% increase in paint line utilization in 4 months. The plant makes 114 computer-numerical control (CNC) lathes and machine center models, more than 200 units per month, and recently completed a $30 million, 100,000 sq ft addition.

MTConnect networking technology provides a shop data network, using a royalty-free software, including Bluetooth communications for manufacturing. Measurements include overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), quality, availability, and downtime. A simple dashboard was created so the metrics could be easily viewed and improved upon. The program will expand, Rowland said, with hardware expected to be offered on Mazak machines for sale. Security is built in, and data is processed on the edge, sending a report, rather than a big-data stream.

Predictive maintenance

Keith Holliday is president and CEO of Global Drilling Support, a manufacturer of top drives, the large electric-motor that powers oil rig drill bits. The company also repairs and recertifies competitors’ drives, so Holliday understands the high cost of unplanned downtime for the 200 hp to 1,500 hp units. Equipment usually is taken apart after 5 years, but rebuilding based on actual wear rather than an average, saves resources. Embedded sensors help with warranty claims. The new system uses a field agent, subscription service, cloud-based server with analytical software.

"Customers now want data, but don’t know what to do with it." This opens more opportunities for service contracts and better future designs based on analysis, Holliday said.

Control room 2020

Michiel Tijsseling, Dow Chemical process automation leader, worked on a control room design for year 2020 for two units at Oyster Creek OC-1001 Hydrocarbons Command Center, Freeport, Texas. The result was a future-proof design for operations, since process control is a function of the operator.

"We use state-based control. If there’s a trip, the steps in-between are shown, along with what happens automatically, to help the operator do what’s needed," Tijsseling said. The new design creates a reliable interface to the process for control, and it is redundant in a smart way, so any one component of failure doesn’t create an outage, said Tijsseling. Within 30 seconds, an operator can know plant status. The design supports physical needs, lighting, noise, temperature, and workflow.

"What do I need to work here?" asked one student. An executive taking a tour brought additional co-workers the next day.

Don’t wait. To help quantify your next automation application, think again about the extended bottom-line benefits.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

ONLINE extra

MORE ADVICE: This online version links to three longer application stories with more details and 11 total images with more details, including, with the Dow Chemical application, "Three control room design tips" and "Five control room design challenges." To get there, click on the subheads above or the individual articles below. Also see the Control Engineering HMI webcast.

Original content can be found at Oil and Gas Engineering.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.