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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Enterprise batch records: Data collection

Jul 9, 2014 5:53:11 AM | Posted by John Clemons

A commonly asked question about enterprise batch records is how do you get data into them? Many devices can be recruited for this, and once they are set up the benefits reap themselves.

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Project delays: Identify the issue and keep the customer happy

Jul 1, 2014 5:01:20 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

Every person working on a project should be able to answer these five questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

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Cyber security: Trusting your source for drivers, software tools

Jun 24, 2014 8:53:23 AM | Posted by Bruce Billedeaux

Some of the most published cyber security events have been traced back to malicious content embedded on a trusted user's laptop through an e-mail or downloaded document. Is your process control network safe?

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The value of field engineers

Jun 18, 2014 10:39:29 AM | Posted by Mike Robb

A good field engineer can help improve the process controls based on knowledge and experience, potentially saving money by being able to quickly diagnose problems.

Have you ever worked on a process that was designed based on a computer simulation model? The model can be a very effective design tool to predict how mechanical systems will react with one another. These predications can then be used to help with the design process to allow you to make control philosophy changes and correct problem areas within the control scheme. The models are typically used to assist in the feasibility of large scale process control changes to validate a new control philosophy but can be an expensive investment. There are also limitations—the model can only account for the variables that you know, and the more variables that are present the longer the model will take to solve.

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