WIB-NL Annual Seminar, The Hague

Netherlands process automation users meet. Royal DSM, ‘put the basics before big data.’ Shell on the meter parameter ‘explosion,’ on inconsistent naming and avoiding ‘unexpected behavior.'

The 2016 annual seminar of the Netherlands-based WIB process automation users’ association was held earlier this year in The Hague. In a keynote address, Alex van Delft (Royal DSM) and Rene Rademakers (Sabic) warned that while ‘big data,’ ‘internet of things,’ ‘Industrie 4.0’ and other buzzwords make the headlines, there is also room for a focus on ‘the basics.’ Without the basics, neither big data, analytics, advanced control or remote operations will work.

Basic control loops need to be properly designed and tuned with the right sensors, the right actuators all functioning in the correct locations. Van Delft believes that a change in culture, from ‘hobbyist to professional’ is required to achieve sustainable results.

Surveys conducted among the WIB members have shown that a) 77% of controllers are not properly tuned, b) that 50% of control loops perform poorly due to control valve problems and c) trial and error is the most popular (but least effective) tuning method. Matters are complicated by the fact that new sensors may have hundreds parameters to set.

The ‘explosion’ of meter setting parameters was also addressed by Shell’s Peter Mooi. Setup with a handheld configurator is practically impossible and requires a proper instrument asset management system. For smart instruments, knowledge of all device parameters is required to enable proactive maintenance and to avoid unexpected behavior. Matters are complicated by the fact that there is little consistency between vendors in parameter naming. Nor even between device revisions of one vendor. On the plus side there is ‘slow adaption’ of the Namur NE107 standard for self-monitoring and diagnosis of field devices. Shell deploys a template methodology to achieve consistent parameter settings.

Read the WIB presentations here.

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