Identifying a clear scope, target to increase achievability

Sep 3, 2014 4:56:00 AM | Posted by MayAnn Stroup

After 24 years of implementing controls projects, I’m something of a control freak. I have this expectation that I’ll know what I’m required to do for a particular project. It’s not always a realistic expectation.

Some projects I’ve worked on have had the (unofficial) scope of, “We’re going to do stuff! And make the plant run better!” On one level, this is very appealing. It’s a scope that can almost certainly be met. Failure is unlikely, if not impossible.

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Enhancing piping, instrumentation diagrams to fit your needs

Aug 27, 2014 3:50:42 AM | Posted by MayAnn Stroup

Process overview documents don’t always include everything you may need for a project, so don’t be afraid to add your own grubby little sketches.

When I start work on a project, the first thing I do is get an understanding of the process that will be controlled. Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) are a useful resource, but they are multi-purpose documents. They may include piping codes, vessel specifications, and construction notes. A process usually covers multiple P&IDs.

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Enterprise batch records and enterprise manufacturing intelligence

Aug 20, 2014 4:59:39 AM | Posted by John Clemons

Enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) has its own benefits, but it’s most useful when used with the enterprise batch records, providing personnel with to access the data they need.

In past blog posts where I’ve talked about enterprise batch records, I’ve also mentioned the concept of enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) a couple of times. But, I noticed that I haven’t really spent that much time explaining EMI. So, I thought it would make sense to devote some time specifically to the idea of EMI.

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Program development: How to simplify a complex system

Aug 12, 2014 4:09:27 AM | Posted by Brad Ems

Control systems engineers work on processes that can be incredibly complex. The interactions of process, operator, environment, and control systems can produce at time a dizzying and bewildering array of outcomes.

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

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Converting control systems: Take the time to improve control strategy

Aug 5, 2014 10:24:05 AM | Posted by MayAnn Stroup

Consider investing the time to write a scope that includes control strategy improvement and open the door to taking advantage of the functionality provided by a new control system.

One of the most frustrating expressions I see in scope documents is, “Convert the existing control system as it is. We’ll make control strategy improvements later.” It’s painful to see. In my 24 years in systems integration, I’ve learned that later never comes.

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Operator training simulators can help meet plant-wide safety goals

Jul 30, 2014 7:59:50 AM | Posted by Matt Thibodaux

Consider thinking of operator training simulators as a long term investment, reducing maintenance costs and providing round-the-clock training for plant employees.

Operator training simulators (OTSs) can be a major asset to a large plant or refinery. However, many managers consider them more as an expense, a sink for valuable resources, without looking at their utility in sustaining plant safety and reducing costly shutdowns. I think it’s time to shed some light on the value that these simulators can contribute to a process.

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Enterprise batch records and supply chain traceability

Jul 23, 2014 5:10:23 AM | Posted by John Clemons

In addition to tracking a finished product from the receiving dock to the shipping dock, enterprise batch records can also connect upstream to suppliers and downstream to customers, taking traceability to the next level.

I’ve talked before a little bit about electronic batch records and enterprise batch records. Electronic batch records are all about keeping everything about a batch electronically instead of on lots of paper. That makes everything about the batch easier to manage and supports other things like batch historical analyses, batch-to-batch comparisons, and electronic certificates of analysis (COAs).

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MES project execution: 3 mistakes to avoid

Jul 16, 2014 5:08:02 AM | Posted by William Zupon

Here are a few basic guidelines to help ensure your next MES project is successful.

For those of you who have had the opportunity to work on a manufacturing execution system (MES) implementation project, you know they can be very large and complex. Consequently, there are many things that can go wrong if not properly executed.

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