Using FEED for a Successful Batch Implementation

Dec 23, 2016 9:50:01 AM | Posted by Robert Henderson

Batch implementation projects are much more likely to be successful when a thorough front end engineering design (FEED) is performed and if several questions are addressed during the implementation process.

A batch (ANSI/ISA-88) implementation is appropriate for many types of process and industries. If it is appropriate for your project, there are many different choices and decisions that need to be made during the planning stages that can dramatically alter the complexity, cost, and final implementation utility. As with many projects, batch projects are much more likely to be successful when a thorough front end engineering design (FEED) is performed. There are several key questions that FEED should address during the project.

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Timekeeping protocols for control systems: What time is it?

Jul 9, 2015 10:20:57 AM | Posted by Robert Henderson

Do we care what time it is?

Do you have a control system that only uses buttons and lights to interact with operators?  Is it missing real-time trending, alarm historian and regulatory reporting?  There are certainly control systems that don't have a need for accurate clocks, but they are few and far between.  Let us assume you do not have one of those systems and keeping time is vital to your operations.

It is always good to have accurate time, but it is more important to have synchronized time.  If every clock in the building is 10 minutes slow, then you can still tell which of two events happened first. You're going to have a big problem on your hands if your DCS has one time, your database server has another, a PLC has a third, and they all drift independently. Sequence of Events (SOE) operations, time stamped I/O and alarming, and synchronized motion are all applications that mandate synchronized clocks.

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Power fail-safe state: After the power outage

May 13, 2014 5:20:07 AM | Posted by Robert Henderson

Identifying a power outage – small or large – is only a fraction of the battle for your equipment.

After your power fails, the system is down and no energy was released in a way that endangered people or property. Good job. Now what? Blip! The power just came back.

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Network Architecture Of The Future: It’s Now

Oct 1, 2013 7:11:44 AM | Posted by Robert Henderson

Plan your process networks long before you need them.

We have all seen the situation: a new piece of equipment has to be connected to some network right now, because the facility manager has labeled it critical and it must appear on the monthly reports. So it gets tied into the nearest network, or perhaps an odd gateway is installed to connect it to an existing system, or maybe we have to install an extra communications module to let it talk over some other protocol. Next month, we go through a similar process when a new interlock between unconnected equipment needs to be installed, so we rig something up to get from A to B. Follow this process for a few years and the process control network diagrams begin to look like spaghetti.

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Just Who is the Customer and What Does He Really Want?

Oct 17, 2012 5:24:00 AM | Posted by Robert Henderson

The customer is the individual who pays the bills. The customer is the group that will use the product. The customer is the executive who judges how well the project meets the business needs of the company. We could add more examples to the list, but each of these customers looks at a project slightly differently and judges it in unique ways. As engineers, we must always try to understand these different viewpoints and be responsive to the needs of the various voices that speak for a collective customer. If we do not understand how different stakeholders offering input on a project might be in conflict with each other, we open ourselves up for some nasty surprises.

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