Automation: It's a good start

Judicious use of automation can help successful organizations achieve the growth associated with productivity and profitability.

04/17/2013


April 2013 Applied Automation Cover. Image courtesy: Emerson Process ManagementAutomation alone does not make a plant successful, productive, or profitable. However, judicious use of automation can help successful organizations achieve the growth associated with productivity and profitability. 

As I have written many times in this commentary, implementing automation solutions for the sake of automation is short-sighted. Automation should be implemented and/or improved upon for the right business and technical reasons. 

Managing the operation of your plant requires that you fully understand its infrastructure. Measuring key performance indicators and collecting data are important steps, but they are just the beginning of understanding what’s going on in your plant. Translating collected data into useful information requires analysis; proper analysis requires context. Managing data, information, and knowledge enables plants to understand where they are, where they are going, and how to get there. 

Automation has long been an enabler for manufacturing productivity and efficiency. Process automation keeps continuous operations flowing. However, for many years, plant operators have been plagued with how the alarms that are supposed to keep their processes safe are managed. In this issue’s cover story, the authors provide tips for starting a successful alarm management program. Their advice is based on ISA-18.2: Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries. This standard “helps to clear the confusion by providing clear definitions of the common terminology and helping to create a universal alarm management language.”

Automation also helps organizations manage and optimize how electrical power and other energy sources are distributed throughout their facilities. It also helps them control and optimize building environment and security. The other features in this issue focus on both power management and building environment control from an automation perspective.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
High-performance buildings; Building envelope and integration; Electrical, HVAC system integration; Smoke control systems; Using BAS for M&V
Pressure piping systems: Designing with ASME; Lab ventilation; Lighting controls; Reduce energy use with VFDs
Smoke control: Designing for proper ventilation; Smart Grid Standard 201P; Commissioning HVAC systems; Boilers and boiler systems
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
Integrating BAS, electrical systems; Electrical system flexibility; Hospital electrical distribution; Electrical system grounding
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.