I recently sat down with an automation manager responsible for a subsection of a large manufacturing business. His company is embarking on an effort to standardize the use of process control narratives for all automation projects. To my surprise, the concept of process narratives was new to him. He didn't understand their purpose. But he was intrigued and asked many good questions I was happy to answer.
When you see a talk about safety, your first expectation is probably something on proper PPE, procedures or other aspects of safety that are typical fodder for safety “toolbox talks.” What I’d like to discuss in this post, at least in a very general way, is how to design safety into your process control system.
For many process plants, there are three distinct tasks with respect to their control, instrumentation and information systems—otherwise known as the automation system.
When I’m asked the question, “Where should I get started with improvements on the shop floor?” there is not necessarily an easy answer. There are lots of places to start and it can be very complicated.
Within the field of manufacturing automation, we face hurdles unique to the ways industrial control systems communicate. This often leads to piecemeal approaches to communication architecture development and installation. With a careful approach, legacy communication systems can be converted to higher performing systems, capable of providing connectivity without sacrificing security.