When wireless technology for instrumentation really took off 10-plus years ago with the introduction of WirelessHART, the ease of deploying new field devices and acquiring data got ahead of the back end of the process, turning the new data in to actionable information. In most cases, those new wireless devices were brought into the DCS or other automation system just like a wired device. But the picture is changing rapidly as more wireless devices are being used for equipment condition monitoring rather than process control.
Emerson’s Marcio Donnangelo looks at this evolution in an article that ran on page 12 in the AFPM Annual Meeting Conference Daily in March 2018 titled Industrial Apps Simplify Data Analytics. His contention is that these devices don’t need all the overhead of their wired and wireless counterparts doing process monitoring and control.
Different from real-time control, monitoring requires a new approach in terms of response time, data collection hardware, databases, analytics and actions. These needs, coupled with cost and time pressures, often make wired instrumentation infeasible for new asset monitoring applications. This is driving a need for different, suitable technologies, and this is where WirelessHART® rises to the top.
The cost of wireless instrumentation has always been lower than wired counterparts, but even greater saving comes when the overhead of changing DCS control code and creating new custom HMIs can be eliminated. That’s what’s happening today as industrial users build on lessons learned from consumer electronics.
Next-generation software applications, or industrial “apps,” collect raw data from these wireless and existing wired instruments, and then perform analytics to determine the condition of plant equipment and assets. This provides users with greater visibility into operations, enabling improved reliability and energy efficiency. As with apps for smartphones and tablets, these types of industrial apps are becoming a common way for vendors to supply software to end users, supplanting more traditional software products. These industrial software apps are also lightweight and require very little in the way of corporate IT support.
So, the need for calling in system integrators and creating special software to establish asset management programs may no longer be necessary. Just as you don’t have to write your own software to put an app on your smartphone, you can set up an asset management program the same way using simple pre-configured software.
Emerson’s PlantwebTM Insight apps utilize pre-built analytics with embedded domain expertise to diagnose the health of plant assets. The resulting information and insights can be accessed and visualized on a web-user interface running on PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones. Dashboards and charts simplify navigation and interpretation of information, so minimal training is required. The apps include features to ensure security, including role-based access.
Marcio discusses how Plantweb Insight apps can handle assets such as steam traps, pressure-relief devices, pumps, heat exchangers and more. It’s impressive to see how WirelessHART technology combined with new software can improve the way companies maintain and optimize their assets.
You can find more information like this and meet with other people looking at the same kinds of situations in the Emerson Exchange365 community. It’s a place where you can communicate and exchange information with experts and peers in all sorts of industries around the world. Look for the WirelessHART and IIoT Groups and other specialty areas for suggestions and answers.
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