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Forecasting the future

Yes, there was the usual assortment of product and technology launches, and wireless, security, and safety took center stage, but there was also an air of concern. Worries about energy and the economy were always a part of the conversation.

But in the end, that shows one of the true strengths behind ISA (1) (Instruction Set Architecture) See instruction set.

(2) (Interactive Services Association) See Internet Alliance.

(3) (Internet Security and Acceleration) See .NET.
 EXPO; it is an event where the industry can go and figure out the next move.

Energy and how to get the most out of it has been puzzling industry leaders for a while now, and that was the topic of discussion throughout the Houston event. Solar-power exhibitors said the oil and gas industry are using wind and solar power for a number of remote and other applications.

"We provide solar power for a lot of remote instrumentation-such as gas flowmeters and pipeline corrosion monitoring devices, which are far from the power grid," said Jeff Roberts, account executive with Ameresco Solar, Tombali, Tex. Solar energy solar energy, any form of energy radiated by the sun, including light, radio waves, and X rays, although the term usually refers to the visible light of the sun.  also can power SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) A process control application that collects data from sensors and machines on the shop floor or in remote locations and sends them to a central computer for management and control.  for process control and for controlling equipment and conditions in power plants, as well as in oil and gas refining, transportation, and water and waste control, Roberts said.

One Ameresco customer, for example, is Pemex Refinancion in Mexico. As part of a modernization project, Pemex wanted autonomous solar power systems to supply power to new and refurbished refinery storage tank telemetering and level gauging equipment. The area was classified as Class 1 Division 2 hazardous.

Ameresco Solar designed 21 systems to withstand hurricane force winds and tropical rain events. The structures now operate autonomously even under the most severe weather conditions, Roberts said.

ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil Marathon Oil Corporation NYSE: MRO, based in Houston, Texas, is a worldwide oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Principal exploration activities are in the United States, Norway, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Canada.  Corp., among others, are customers, he said. Applications include flow metering, valve actuation, seismic and air quality monitoring, tank gauging, cathodic (corrosion) protection, and chemical injection, he said.

Another exhibitor, Alpha Energy, Mead, Colo., has been in the solar business since 1971 and now does $300 million in revenue a year from customers on six continents Six Continents is a large retail PLC in UK which split into Six Continents Retail known as Mitchells and Butlers plc. The hotels and soft drinks business of Six Continents PLC is now known as InterContinental Hotels Group PLC. , said Steve Strobel, Alpha's Midwestern regional sales manager sales manager ngerente m/f de ventas

sales manager ndirecteur commercial

sales manager sale n

Alpha's solar panels range from 10 Watts (W) to 224W, he said. The company is featuring a 267 kilowatt (kW) municipal complex in Loma Linda Loma Linda may refer to:
  • Loma Linda, California, a city in San Bernardino County, United States
  • Loma Linda Academy, a K-12 college preparatory WASC-accredited school run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church
, Calif. Where Alpha's solar panels "make the (grid electric) meter run backwards," Strobel said.

Just one week before the show, Alpha completed a 14kW solar power system on a 9,600-foot-high mountain near Durango, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Noun 1. Department of Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
Homeland Security

executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States
. Its purpose is to help assure there is power for communications if the national electric grid was knocked out by terrorists or a natural disaster.

Strobel said the economic bailout package passed by Congress included an "earmark earmark

taking a piece out of the edge or center of the ear with a punch as an identification mark. The shape of the mark may be registerable under local legislation.
" that renewed a 30% tax credit for renewable energy Renewable energy utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation.  investments. For example, a $30,000 investment in solar or wind energy would enable the purchasing company or individual to receive a $10,000 tax credit.

"It's good for the next eight years and should help kick- start our industry," which now has "an extreme shortage of panels because of high demand," the Alpha Energy executive said.

But it is not all about solar power; other companies are looking to learn how to conserve fuel costs.

"Making a refinery run more efficiently enhances the ability to produce a more efficient plant operation," said George Balogh, chief executive of Spec- traSensors. Baloghs company is also working on a sensor that will be able to measure the moisture in the air for air- planes. That sensor will enable real-time reporting on moisture and allow for precision routing for airlines.

"That one sensor could help save the airline industry $18 billion in fuel cost a year globally," Balogh said

"People today are looking to conserve energy anyway they can," said Dale Langham, vice president of sales and marketing at SpectraSensors. "Any energy savings just funds itself very easily."

National Instruments National Instruments, or NI (NASDAQ: NATI), is an American company with over 4,000 employees and direct operations in 41 countries founded in 1976 by Dr. James Truchard, Bill Nowlin and Jeff Kodosky.  has been talking about green engineering for a while now, and energy issues are top of mind.

"A solar wind solar wind, stream of ionized hydrogen—protons and electrons—with an 8% component of helium ions and trace amounts of heavier ions that radiates outward from the sun at high speeds.  turbine company wants to find a way to pull more energy from the wind. They get ideas, and they need a platform they can easily embed," said Todd Walter of National Instruments.

Technology first

When it comes to technology advances, wireless and safe and secure technologies top quite a few wish lists. Whatever technology an end user is demanding to improve business and become more competitive, security should always be part of the equation.

"Whether it's a legacy system or a new system being designed, we're trying to get the best possible security built-in," said Fred C. Cowart, DHS DHS Department of Homeland Security (USA)
DHS Department of Human Services
DHS Department of Health Services
DHS Demographic and Health Surveys
DHS Dirhams (Morocco national currency) 
 program manager, control systems, at Idaho National Laboratory's (INL INL Idaho National Laboratory
INL Inner Nuclear Layer
INL Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie
INL Integral Non-Linearity
INL International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau (US Department of State) 
) Security & Test Center, Idaho Falls, Idaho Idaho Falls is the county seat and largest city of Bonneville County, Idaho, United States.GR6 As of the 2000 Census the population of Idaho Falls was 50,730, with a metro population of 116,980. (2006 estimate: 52,786)[1]. . INL assists the DHS as a managing contractor testing control systems, including wireless systems, for security vulnerabilities.

While they are talking about securing wireless and security, safety is also coming into play. "We are seeing a convergence of the physical and cyber security worlds, and safety is a component of that," said Todd Nicholson, chief marketing officer at Industrial Defender.

Without a doubt, "wireless" was the buzzword A term that refers to the latest technology or a term that sounds catchy. If not a flash in the pan, new technologies become mainstream. For example, Java was a hot buzzword in the 1990s, but should remain a major topic for decades.  heard everywhere throughout ISA EXPO 2008-in conferences, on the exhibit floor, in panel discussions, in the hallways, and at social events. "Security" was not far behind.

Cowart said INL is currently testing about 20 vendor systems, including large legacy and newly designed vendor systems. It now also is testing wireless systems for potential security issues.

DHS is promoting its National Cyber Security Division The National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) is a division of the Office of Cyber Security & Communications, within the United States Department of Homeland Security's Directorate of National Protection and Programs. , whose goal "is to guide a cohesive effort between government and industry to reduce the risk to critical infrastructure control systems."

When it comes to wireless, there were plenty of solutions to go around. GE talked about its wireless condition monitoring Condition monitoring is the process of monitoring a parameter of condition in machinery, such that a significant change is indicative of a developing failure. It is a major component of predictive maintenance. . "We are excited about condition monitoring and wireless is helping along those lines," said John Burns This article covers the British politician. For other people with the same name see John Burns (disambiguation)

John Elliot Burns (20 October 1858 – 24 January 1943) was a prominent English trade unionist, anti-racist, socialist and politician of the late 19th and
, general manager North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.  Region Optimization and Control. "This technology is enabling us to get a system established to get information from instruments out in the field."

Burns and Sean Coyle, product manager Bently Nevada Bently Nevadais a name long associated with condition monitoring instrumentation and services, most notably sensors, systems, and diagnostic services for monitoring machinery vibration.  Asset Conditioning Monitoring Optimization and Control, said battery life for these wireless products is assisted by its energy harvester harvester, farm machine that mechanically harvests a crop. Small-grain harvesting has been mechanized to a certain extent since early times. In the modern period the first harvester to gain general acceptance was made by Cyrus McCormick in 1831 (see reaper). , which generates power from the vibration from motors.

Business partnerships inked

When developing standards and products, partnerships among different manufacturers have become almost an "automatic" in the wireless world.

And that trend continued at EXPO as two more partnership agreements were forged-one between Honeywell and Cypress Envirosystems and another between Freescale and Nivis.

Cypress Envirosystems, a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Cypress Semiconductor is a semiconductor design and manufacturing company. It began operations in 1982 and listed publicly in 1986. Two years later, the company shifted over to the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol, (NYSE: CY).  Corp., said it partnered wim Honeywell to create a OneWireless version of Cypress Envirosystems' Wireless Gauge Reader. Based on technology from Cypress Semiconductor Corp., me patent-pending technology will be manufactured by Cypress Envirosystems to Honeywell's specifications.

Harry Sim, chief executive of Cypress Envirosystems, noted all process industry plants have hundreds or mousands of dial gauges measuring pressure, temperature, flow, or other parameters mat must be manually read by operators or technicians.

Cypress's Wireless Gauge Reader clips on to the front face of an existing gauge and, in minutes, enables me data to integrate wim the plant distributed control system A distributed control system (DCS) refers to a control system usually of a manufacturing system, process or any kind of dynamic system, in which the controller elements are not central in location (like the brain) but are distributed throughout the system with each component  for equipment health monitoring, inventory management, and other applications, he said. It does not require removing old gauges, breaking pressure seals, performing leak checks, running wires, or interrupting the underlying process.

Meanwhile, Freescale Semiconductor Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is an American semiconductor manufacturer. It was created by the divestiture of the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola in 2004. Freescale focuses their integrated circuit products on the automotive, embedded and communications markets.  and Nivis LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.

LLC - Logical Link Control
, a developer and integrator of wireless network technologies, disclosed plans to combine meir respective technologies to provide a wired-to-wireless platform for commercial and industrial sensor mesh networks.

Marius Chilom, chief executive of Nivis, said the combined hardware/ software platform solution includes sensor interface, radio module, router/ gateway, security manager, and advanced network manager capabilities for emerging wireless standards in the industrial and commercial sector.

The Freescale and Nivis development platform can provide developers with a rapid, cost-effective way to evaluate ISA100.11a, WirelessHART, and 6LoWPAN stacks on Freescale microcontrollers (MCUs) and embedded processors.

With business deals focused on wireless, the technology is becoming more of a reality on the plant floor, and with that in mind, attendees got a chance to get up close and personal with real life demonstrations.

Cliff Whitehead, manager of strategic application at Rockwell Automation, lead the tour sponsored by the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance
For the radio station in Charlotteville, Virginia, see WINA (AM).
The Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA) is a coalition of industrial end-user companies, technology suppliers, industry organizations, software developers, system integrators,
 (WINA WINA Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance
WINA WAP Interim Naming Authority (mobile networks)
WINA Whitetail Institute of North America
WINA Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (Glen Cove, New York) 
), which featured presentations by WINA Vice President David Kaufman, director of business development at Honeywell, and WINA President Ian McPherson, vice president of solutions architecture at Apprion. They explained the basics of the ISAlOO industrial wireless standard as well as several other wireless applications at various booths.

"Were using techniques like frequency hopping to make sure radios can coexist," Kaufman said. "The radio goes to sleep, either time-based (100 milliseconds) or event-based to preserve the battery life."

Quan Wang, a lecturer at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications (重庆邮电大学) is a public university located in Chongqing, China.

 in Nan'an, Chongqing. RR. China, gave a rundown during the tour of how instruments from different vendors actually use the standard using a demo he constructed as part of a research project.

Wireless exchange

During a Wireless and Networking Technology Exchange morning session, David Lafferty, a technology specialist at BR said if you want to use wireless, start small, but make sure you start. "If you're now initiating wireless in your plant, I recommend you start small, start on the ground, and stay away from critical applications. But get busy and get started," he said.

Lafferty and Greg LaFramboise, technology lead at Chevron Energy, said the state of wireless and networking in the process industries now is at the point where one can buy a wireless instrument or device from a reputable vendor, and it will be able to transmit a mile, and the battery will last five years.

"If you head out onto the event floor and walk among the exhibitions, I'd say that every other one will be offering a wireless device or solution of some kind," LaFramboise said.

BP sees "digitation digitation /dig·i·ta·tion/ (-ta´shun)
1. a finger-like process.

2. surgical creation of a functioning digit by making a cleft between two adjacent metacarpal bones, after amputation of some or all of the fingers.
" as a key to being competitive, and wireless drives down that cost. Wireless makes the process of taking measurements less costly. As well, it is a valuable component of BP's physical plant security via the use of wireless transmission of camera images, say for example, from the fence line of refinery.

Wireless is also valuable in the collection of real-time data that one would not normally collect were it a hardwired application. This includes remote monitoring of data and employee locations.

Lafferty sees many key challenges to instituting wireless. Leading off, is the high cost of entry into the technology at a plant. The first application is typically the most expensive because it has to pay for the backbone, which of course later applications can piggyback piggyback

1. A broker trading in his or her personal account after trading in the same security for a customer. The broker may believe the customer has access to privileged information that will cause the transaction to be profitable.

 on, but recall that is not how budgets in plants work.

Applications can happen on case-bycase or departmental basis, and that is how budgets shake out as well. This also leads to silos as department and apps build just enough of an infrastructure for their own needs.

Another challenge, in turn, is often there is no uniform implementation and the inability to leverage the scale of the overall operation and company size. It is difficult to replicate success.

The business side of the company sees the installation of wireless as an infrastructure addition neglecting that wireless is a business improvement too. So one must sell the technology to one's own people; this can be distracting, and for sure it is more work.

Chevron's LaFramboise sees the wireless surge quite simply, "Radios have changed, and batteries are better. Standards have arrived too ... or they're close enough."

Other challenges are "the systems need to be plug-and-play" Nobody-no technician, no plant person-wants to diddle 1. diddle - To work with or modify in a not particularly serious manner. "I diddled a copy of ADVENT so it didn't double-space all the time." "Let's diddle this piece of code and see if the problem goes away."

See tweak and twiddle.
 around with a device that takes extensive installation practice or expertise. "We've been playing around with wireless instruments for a long time, and our graveyard is huge. It's got to work right away and with ease," LaFramboise said.

And then there are the standards. They are a boon to the advancement and acceptance of wireless. "WirelessHART 7.1 is one important standard," said LaFramboise, "and products are going out the door now that use that standard. The other important standard is ISAlOO11a, which I have been helping work on for some years now. It's almost ready and should be out this year or early next.

"We're trying to make these standards work as one but there may end up being two standards, I'm just not sure."

Meanwhile, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA unveiled an agreement to facilitate the implementation of wireless backhaul transport networks. This technology initiative sits on shared interests in serving the needs of end users and suppliers of wireless systems in industrial automation.

Even keynoters got involved in the wireless discussion at EXPO.

Dr. Kris Pister, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States).  Berkeley had a wild academic idea that turned into a commercially relevant technology. Pister moved from academics to chief executive and now chief technical officer of his own company, Dust Networks.

"I've had a passion for the past 20 years to make micro -robots," he said. "The MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) Tiny mechanical devices that are built onto semiconductor chips and are measured in micrometers. In the research labs since the 1980s, MEMS devices began to materialize as commercial products in the mid-1990s.  in micro-robots led to a workshop on the future of size, power, and costs going down, following an exponential curve." Step one was trying to get it to work.

"In 1999, we built sensor platforms. We were also working on a miniaturization min·i·a·tur·ize  
tr.v. min·i·a·tur·ized, min·i·a·tur·iz·ing, min·i·a·tur·iz·es
To plan or make on a greatly reduced scale.

 path. In 2001, we built the smallest wireless sensor node to date," he said. "We put a lot of effort from graduate students into system integration and miniaturization."

What Pister learned was his technological innovation had no commercial relevance, "but it also forced us to start minking of issues surrounding doing ultra-low power of system integration," he said. "At the same time of miniaturization, we continued with the off-theshelf approach. We used radios-cheap, easy, off-the-shelf radio frequency (RF) systems. There was a big interest in cheap, easy, RF with research centers and industry."

With low-costs sensors, the application space can cover everything from home electronics and healthcare to industrial process control. When Pister coined the phrase smart dust, "I had no idea industrial process was where it would see its first commercial success.

"Companies were saying, 'If you build, it we will buy it.' Unfortunately, the marketing side took over more man the engineering side. Standards are coming out," he said, "and yet for some reason, it wasn't taking off. So I claimed wim proof that wireless could actually change everything." So why didn't it happen?

"Sensors and computations are riding these Moore' Law curves to zero power cost, reducing the cost over time," he said. The problem today is conduit, copper, and labor are going up every year, he said.

On the plus side though, people were excited, and with good reason. It was happening; it was just happening slower. Academics were building on a tiny system. We called them Berkeley motes. And mis got industry people interested.

Protocols in command

Wireless was not the only thing attendees wanted to talk about. A couple of protocols were also part of me discussion.

Electronic device description language (EDDL EDDL Electronic Device Description Language
EDDL Error Detection Delay Length
EDDL Aerodrome Duesseldorf, Germany
) technology tells device management software what command to send to the device, how to interpret the response, and how to display the information to the technician. It gives the technician the screen from which to calibrate To adjust or bring into balance. Scanners, CRTs and similar peripherals may require periodic adjustment. Unlike digital devices, the electronic components within these analog devices may change from their original specification. See color calibration and tweak. . They can configure the device, commission the device, and do diagnostics.

"This works with all kinds of process control devices," said Jonas Berge, director of PlantWeb consulting at Emerson in Singapore. "Here in the booth [Booth 1132], we're showing simple transmitters like temperature and pressure, but also sophisticated transmitters such as radar level transmitters."

EDDL is the technology embedded in HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and Profibus.

Meanwhile, the field device tool (FDT FDT - Formal Description Technique ) forces were also on display.

"FDT regulates the language that exists between the device and distributed control system," said Ahmad Zahedi, chair of the ISAl 03 standards committee and project director at Flowserve. "It's an interface standard. It embraces all the major protocols like HART, Foundation Fieldbus, Modbus, and Profibus."

Indeed, FDT technology does standardize the communication interface between field devices and systems. The key feature is its independence from the communication protocol and the software environment of either the device or the host system.

FDT allows any device to be accessible from any host through any protocol.

Education process

Business and technology definitely took center stage, but some fun learning also occurred as the ISA Certification Quiz & Conquer held its second contest. And the winner was Ouch, it Megahertz One million cycles per second. See MHz.

MegaHertz - (MHz) Millions of cycles per second. The unit of frequency used to measure the clock rate of modern digital logic, including microprocessors.
 in a close match of wits and automation knowledge.

Ouch, it Megahertz defeated The Over-Analyzers by the score of 80 to 60 in a spirited display of technical, plantautomation knowledge, and a speedy thumb on the buzzer.

The competition's master of ceremonies was Greg Lehmann, Certified Automation Professional (CAP), of Washington Group International in Denver.

Vernon Trevathan, CAR vice president of the ISA Professional Development Department, was on hand judging the questions and the accuracy of the answers.

The two teams were comprised of one certificate holder from each of ISA's certification programs, CAP and the Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST CCST California Council on Science and Technology
CCST Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training
CCST Certified Control Systems Technician
CCST Caribbean Council for Science and Technology
CCST Credit Counselling Services of Toronto

Ouch, it Megahertz team members were Rahul Bhojani, CAR Bayer Technical Services, and George Lister, CCST III, Texas State Technical College.

The Over-Analyzers were Hank Christiansen of CDI CDI compact disc interactive: a system for storing a mix of software, data, audio, and compressed video for interactive use under processor control  in Beaumont and Andrew Johnsen of SSSI SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest (British Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)
SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest (under Antarctic Treaty)
SSSI Skin and Skin Structure Infection
. Christiansen is a CAR and Johnsen filled the role of CCST, though he holds a CAP also.

Questions for the competition were multiple choice and came from various sources. They were similar to but not identical to questions that appear on the CAP and CCST exams.

Ellen Fussell Policastro, Nicholas Sheble and Jim Strothman contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2008 InTech
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Gregory Hale and Jim Strothman and Ellen Fussell Policastro and Nicholas Sheble
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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