Cloud-based tools will make people more productive, plants more efficient
‘Cloud-based tools will make people more productive, plants more efficient’ Shyam Warialani, Managing Director, Baumer Technologies India Pvt Ltd
What are the changes in selection and deployment of Process Instrumentation in IIoT era?
Process measurement and control are critical enablers for manufacturing plants. At the same time, the industrial sector is facing severe competition, shortage of experienced and knowledgeable engineers. Hence companies are continuously looking for innovative methods to improve efficiency, increase reliability, and reduce risk and cost.
Conventionally, device commissioning is a tedious part for any automation project. First you require Validation, Specification and Pre-configuration activities to perform as part of engineering work for deployment of instruments. After the field devices arrive, they need to be installed and connect them to the control system. Then, they must verify proper connection to the Distributed Control System (DCS) before putting the device on process.
Today, the method for selecting and deploying process instrumentation is changing. Industrial organisations use techniques of productivity tools for selection of products up to the commissioning.
These tools are based on the user experience and help young workers to speed up. Process industries are more focused on optimising operations through deployment of enhanced, smart, wireless field devices. The data from these devices are circulated among all stakeholders.
Plants also need strong and correct diagnostics to obtain advance and possible warnings of plants and equipment failures as well as online applications to root cause and possibly avert the failures or set right instruments through remote diagnostic and upkeep devices.
The devices have to be simply plug and start as there is demand to reduce time, money and mistakes associated in installation, start up and commissioning the plants.
How effective are the new cloud based tools with the entire focus on optimisation?
In the era of IIoT and the digital world, cloud based selection tools are available to install, plug and start smart devices. One can commission field devices automatically and also can generate testing and documentation control. This will help companies select right and accurate process instrument technology and deploy field devices using a proper and consistent work flow.
Plants can utilise cloud based applications and tools for validation to help select right product, right technology and proper configuration and then the factory can ship pre-engineered products. These products can then be used out of the box for trouble free installation, plug and play.
Ultimately, cloud-based engineering tools will make people more productive and plants more efficient. They enable error-free up-front engineering, reducing engineering hours; and simplify and eliminate commissioning steps, shortening device-commissioning time. These solutions also streamline usability, improving safety through an enhanced user experience; and help optimise troubleshooting and repair with new methodologies, significantly reducing maintenance budgets.
These cloud based tools help in generating correct datasheets, documentation, approvals, and help automated installation. They help mistake fool proofing. These measures help young and inexperienced engineers to perform several activities of project execution.
How are Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning impacting Instrumentation Control.?
Robotics, cars and wheelchairs are among artificial intelligence beneficiaries, making control loops smarter, adaptive, and able to change behaviour. AI assumes that at least some of something like human intelligence can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.
We are turning to powerful new control technologies so that now our machines are exceeding human performance in more tasks, as we combine our brain power with computer capacity to deliberate, analyse, deduce, communicate and invent; probably in future the pace of technological change will be so fast and far reaching that our lives will be irreversibly altered.
Machine intelligence does combine a wide variety of advanced technologies to give machines an ability to learn, adapt make decisions, and display new behaviours.
Instrumentation control in future is going to be much AI driven and connected through Internet to perform several intelligent tasks that a human otherwise had to perform in much bigger time frame and at very high cost of man, machine and methods. The control systems will become more decision making systems using large data, AI, and internet.
Is wireless instrumentation robust and reliable across industries?
Wireless instrumentation is a merger of wireless sensor network technologies with industrial field instrumentation. This is becoming increasingly popular in the process industries since the recent ratification of Wireless Hart and ISA 100.11a specifications. The wireless communications provide reliable, self-healing, and self-configuring communication between the devices and control system and also to human beings. They provide cost effective alternative to traditional wired field devices.
The field devices could be categorised as monitoring, control and safety. They can be used for close loops or open loops. Through extensive study, research and field trials, it has become apparent that wireless instrumentation is ready for adoption at scale in non-critical monitoring applications. For control and safety system however the currently available solutions are few and limited and there are not many risk takers. Today thousands of devices have been deployed and used for wireless instrumentation at many process industry plants, facilities and sites worldwide.
From products to solutions are vendors now in better equipped to help?
The availability and adaptability are two different aspects. Though many products and solutions of smart wireless devices are available with many manufacturers, however not all solutions are adaptable due to risk of safety, mall function in control loops and lack of experience and trust.
With so much threat of use of technology by terrorists, fear of hacking and manipulation possibilities, not all users are ready to adapt. The severe competition among vendors making them each to adopt technology to suit them best makes it riskier to be adapted freely, with trust and safety by users.
Shyam Warialani, Managing Director, Baumer Technologies India Pvt Ltd. This Baumer Group company was erstwhile Waaree Instruments Ltd, engaged in the process instruments business, acquired by Baumer Group.