Archive | InTech


Plant Historians Deliver Insight and Improve Operations

Plant historians became popular in process plants in the 1980s. More recently they are being used broadly throughout industry to improve operations, identify problems, and find opportunities for enhancement. An early forerunner of historians were electromechanical pen-and-paper chart recorders. They produced a graph of one or more measured values over a period of time for […]

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Remotely Managed Industrial Automation Cybersecurity

Epic Turla, Regin, and BlackEnergy are the names of just a few in a series of recent malware discoveries that target industrial automation control systems (IACS). The increasing volume and sophistication of these types of threats has driven the topic of operational technology security all the way up to the corporate boardroom. Unfortunately, the attack […]

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successful outsourcing depends on understanding your culture

Successful Outsourcing Depends on Understanding Your Culture

Most companies outsource some portion of their project or engineering service needs, because fewer and fewer are fully self-sufficient. Invariably a manufacturer has to decide which elements of the business are critical enough to require internal execution, against those either generic enough to pass to someone else or specialized to a degree that require outside […]

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The Automation Professional as Change Agent

To create the greatest value for their employers, automation professionals need to be change agents. In my experience a change agent is a person with specialized knowledge and know-how who facilitates positive change to improve operations efficiency. Industry today is in great need of automation change agents skilled and knowledgeable in a wide range of technologies. Today […]

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automation engineer mentors new worker

How to Achieve Success in Your Automation Career

From primary education through graduate learning, workforce development is vital to our growth as a profession. ISA has formed a partnership with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and the Automation Federation has developed the Automation Competency Model and is working with various learning institutions to develop automation-specific curriculum. With all of […]

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ChemScan nitrite analysis during startup

Taking Denitrification to the Next Level

In 2006, one of the largest water reclamation facilities in northern Virginia needed to expand the facility from 18 to 24 million gallons per day (mgd) to support future growth in Prince William County, Va. At the same time, new regulations necessitated an upgrade to improve the nutrient removal capabilities of the plant. The new […]

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Bottoms level-to-flow cascade strategy

The Basics of Distillation Column Loop Tuning

Controlling distillation columns is a tough assignment due to the interacting nature of the process and the upstream/downstream effects of loop tuning. In this example, the column bottoms level control had stability problems (cycling), causing manual operation and the operators’ constant attention. The bottoms level needed to be controlled to a set point that minimized […]

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Figure 2. Many procedures are not well documented, and different operators may practice them differently. Part of automating such procedures is determining the best practices and incorporating those approaches, so they will be followed consistently.

Batch Process Automation Can Make Continuous Processes Run Better

I have many years of experience in process control engineering, starting with continuous processes and later with automating batch processes. I find batch automation to be largely about sequential operations and states. To a lesser extent, sequential operations and changing states exist in many continuous processes as well. Extending the lessons learned in automating batch […]

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The Importance of Auditing the Alarm Management System

Alarm management practices have been in place in the process industries for many decades. With the ongoing developments in the various international standards, such as ANSI/ISA-18.2-2009, and recommended practices such as American Petroleum Institute (API) RP 1167, alarm management has gained greater importance. The alarm management process life cycle consists of the alarm philosophy, design […]

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