AMS Suite / Asset Reliability Roadmap

At Emerson Exchange I attended the asset reliability roadmap which covered the portables for device configuration, the AMS Suite, the vibration testers, and machinery monitors. New and improved products solve old plant problems that did not have a solution in the past. Here are some of the highlights, I cannot capture them all.

Several useful new and future enhancements to AMS Intelligent Device Manager were presented

Device manufacturers keep adding more diagnostics and other features to their devices. Therefore, an endless parade of new types and versions of 4-20 mA/HART, FOUNDATION fieldbus, PROFIBUS-DP, and WirelessHART devices are coming into the plant as part of natural replacement, upgrades, and expansions. The intelligent device management software is kept up to date with new devices by loading the corresponding EDDL file ( In the past this process was manual, and there was often a last minute scramble to get the DD file when a device was replaced, sometimes resulting in commissioning delays. AMS Intelligent Device Manager can now be integrated with the Guardian services to automatically download the latest DD files as and when they become available. This makes device replacement easier as the system is always ready for new devices.

4-20 mA/HART, FOUNDATION fieldbus, PROFIBUS-DP, and WirelessHART devices may have as many as one hundred or more parameters each that can be set to adjust them to the specific application. Most applications only require a few of them to be set. Many should not be changed from their factory setting. Managing the configuration of hundreds or thousands of devices of a few dozen types is a challenge. Version 12.5 supports configuration templates and automatic bulk configuration for FOUNDATION fieldbus devices which reduce configuration ‘clicks’,  errors and associated troubleshooting dramatically and together with automatic commissioning streamlining the overall device commissioning ensuring correct operation reducing time by a factor of 5 or faster.

Plant-wide modernized with a second layer of automation using WirelessHART transmitters for pervasive sensing of missing measurements beyond the P&ID result in multiple WirelessHART gateways and transmitters that number in the hundreds. These networks have to be kept operational. The power modules (batteries) in the devices are not allowed to run flat. The wireless SNAP-ON for version 12.5 simplifies the network management task by monitoring network health and power module status providing both a power module report and a communication report which can be used to plan run & maintain tasks.

The 475 handheld field communicator is a very popular tool among instrument technicians. However, those responsible for the intelligent device management software have been concerned that there is no traceability of who made changes using a handheld. Similarly, there was a concern anybody could perform any tasks with a handheld. Lastly, there was a concern the database in the intelligent device management software and DCS would no longer match the device configuration if changes are made using a handheld. Changes made with the handheld are now transferred to AMS intelligent device manager and tracked ensuring traceability between handhelds and software, and that the device manager and DCS database are synchronized with the device. It is also possible to authorize only certain people to perform certain tasks in certain areas with handhelds.

Multivariable transmitters as well as multi-channel transmitters like 8-input fieldbus temperature transmitters are becoming increasingly common thanks to the large savings made possible with these transmitters. Calibration management software in the past only supported a single measurement per device. AMS intelligent device manager now supports multiple sensors per transmitter and thus supporting calibration management for all kinds of transmitters without difficulty.

The USB fieldbus interface is used for configuration/setup and diagnostics of FOUNDATION fieldbus devices from a laptop in the field, much the same way as a USB HART interface is used for 4-20 mA devices. The USB fieldbus interface also comes with a software utility that can be used for device commissioning. Increasingly tablet computers are becoming an alternative to laptops. However, tablets have smaller screens than laptops, making some text harder to read. Moreover, tablets use touch rather than mouse and keyboard. The USB fieldbus interface software utility now support Windows 8 Pro for tablets, and the utility has been redesigned with larger fonts to be legible on smaller screens, making it easy to use.

Reliability technicians carry their portable vibration testers around for a whole day. Depending on the make it may have a small dim display, small membrane keyboard, non-intuitive menu system, multiple unwieldy wires for sensors, headsets, and data transfer, as well as be hard to grip or hold, and having a battery that runs flat before the day is done. The new CSI 2140 portable machinery health analyzer was designed with powerful 4-channel analysis for faster data collection, a large bright screen, easy touch screen navigation, wireless sensors, headset and data upload as well as ergonomic design, and a battery that lasts a full shift. This males CSI 2140 an easy companion to work with the whole day.

1 Reply

  • Clarification: the change traceability, data synchronization, and authorization to perform tasks with the handheld I mentioned above are future capabilities on the roadmap but they are not here yet.