Greetings from day two of the Rockwell Automation Fair. Perhaps predictably, due to this year's location (Houston, Texas), oil and gas is featuring heavily on the agenda. I attended an intuitive forum this morning that highlighted some of the applications that Rockwell have been involved with in this sector.
Firstly, Bob Cowan of National Oilwell Varco (NOV), discussed how Rockwell has helped the company face its core challenges of obsolete electrical components, new regulations and certification and SIL level to create a best in class solution in the oil and gas sector.
He went on to discuss how Rockwell completed a whole architecture change, a single mode FO solution and enhanced diagnostics to improve the company's capability and performance.
Later in the session Jeffery Linn of Shell presented a similar case study on a refinery in Whiting, Indiana. The sites key goals were the need to deliver greater energy efficiency, health, safety and security, reduce maintenance costs and improve reliability performance.
Following an energy reliability audit and the setting up of a field investigation team, the decision was taken to replace P12 and P30 turbines with electric motors and drives from Rockwell. This installation reduced costs, improved process control and eliminated the limitations of the company's control valves.
Payback on the project was just over a year and the company experienced a 33% increase in system availability over a three year average. The installation also reduced wear and tear on pumps and seals, and gave tighter control of pressure valves.
In a session on industrial IP advantage on the exhibition floor Rockwell's Paul Brooks discussed the internet of things (another key topic at this year's show), stating that many manufacturing end users have the opportunity, over the next ten years, to increase their profitability by a total of $3.88 trillion, with the internet of things
He also went on to highlight Rockwell's www.industrial-ip.org, which has been set up to help enhance industrial network connectivity. He said, "By setting up industrial IP advantage we can focus on all the networking devices used in manufacturing plants, and to start looking at the technologies that are going to be needed to ensure interoperability between those devices.
"Today the defining technology of digital communications on a global basis is IP - that's the one that's been designed to provide interoperability and coexistence through all the communications streams that are flowing through our enterprise networks. We believe that a commitment to internet protocol for manufacturing networks is going to allow our users to not just take advantage of all of the different data streams within a single network today, but more importantly to position themselves for the future."
He went on to state that the next decade will be the decade of the app, stressing how important it will be to make sure that the infrastructure that is being deployed in automation networks today is going to be ready for that app-centric future. He added, "Internet protocol is the only technology that is going to enable that future-proof network architecture, allowing convergence and allowing us to move to an app-centric experience for our users in the manufacturing space."
Another topic that is key at Automation Fair is of course energy, and later in the day I attended the Power and Energy Management Forum, where presentations looked at regulatory issues, fuel cell energy and Danny Hamilton from Tyson Foods discussed how the company rolled out a global energy reduction programme - looking at the entire process from the identification of the challenge through the development of the program and the execution of the plan via a pilot site.