Wireless instrumentation is very robust and reliable across industries
‘Wireless instrumentation is very robust and reliable across industries’ Suhas Bhide, Director – Wireless, Emerson Process Management.
What are changes in selection and deployment of process instrumentation in IIoT era?
Process instrumentation in earlier years was largely focused on three aspects: Interface to Process (mechanical connections, material compatibility), Instrument Performance (range, accuracies, and response time) and Safety Certifications (ATEX, FM. PESO, etc). In IIoT era in addition to these three aspects which are now kind of considered as given, discussions are around:
- New sensor technologies: Sensors which did not exist few years ago such as wireless acoustics transmitters, corrosion sensors, non-intrusive temperature sensors, Location Awareness sensors’ Linkage less Valve positioners. These sensors are very easy to install and provide vital information regarding health of the plant assets.
- Digital protocols: How data from instruments can be evacuated more effectively using Digital protocols such as WirelessHART based on IEC62591.
- Data Security: As IT and OT domains are converging it has become critical for us security of data and layers of protection of each hardware and software component getting selected as part of Digital Architecture.
- What do you do with the data: Once data is available outside battery limits, it can then be analysed by Analytics software which provide users with vital information regarding Energy Efficiency, Health of important assets/people, Emissions and help drive attention of the user where needed. It’s very imperative that reliable inputs are given to the intelligent and intuitive analytics to achieve the best performance outcomes, which enables quicker decision making.
How effective are the new cloud based tools with the entire focus on optimisation?
New cloud based tools are very effective not only on process optimisation but also in monitoring Energy Efficiency, Health of important Assets/People and Emissions. There are two major advantages of cloud based tools. They eliminate necessity of having expert present at site and also eliminate need of having to deploy dedicated person to monitor software screens! Many of the cloud based tools offer ‘Outcome based services’ where user gets alerted when pre-defined plant condition happen and also work on subscription model where users get periodic reports at subscribed interval.
Cloud based tools also eliminate need for user to invest in own expensive IT infrastructure.
How are Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning impacting Instrumentation & Controls?
Artificial intelligence is getting embedded from Sensors to Analytics software. Such systems have ability to go in ‘Learning’ mode, where system gathers large amount of data and creates learning based on AI. Slowly such AI based systems are acting as great aid to experts and are able to handle first level diagnostics. Majority of the Predictive Maintenance tasks are taken care by Rule based software and 1st Principles based analytics; whatever gaps still persist, Machine learning fills it along with its prescriptive analytics capability.
Is wireless instrumentation robust and reliable across industries?
Yes, wireless instrumentation is very robust and reliable across industries. Few harsh applications where wireless has been deployed include Rotating kilns, measurement in high gauss environment in metal industry, on-shore oil wells in countries with sub-zero temperatures, Sewerage and Effluent Treatment Plants. wirelessHART has been in industries for almost 12+ years and the accelerated adoption with 45K+ wireless networks globally with 16 Bn operating hours.
From products to solutions, are vendors now in better equipped to help?
Certainly yes. Users are becoming more inclined now to buy complete solution which covers products, data infrastructure, analytics software, cloud hosting and outcome based services.
Suhas Bhide has 30+ years of experience in Instrumentation & Controls, and 25+ years with Emerson as Branch Manager, Regional Leader, PSS Marketing, PSS Sales, RMT Project pursuit, Wireless BD, Solutions and Marketing Leader. He has spent 6 years in the Middle East & Africa and is a domain expert in Measurement, DeltaV, SIS, FF, Wireless, Terminal Automation, IIoT. Suhas was Vice Chairman, Foundation Fieldbus India Council. He loves to be in nature, and engages himself with running, cycling, trekking, yoga and meditation.