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Emerson ‘best in show’ at Brisbane user conference

Health, safety and environment were the hot topics at Emerson Process Management’s ‘Performance Without Compromise’ user conference in Brisbane in September. Equipment and machinery health, personnel safety and environmental impact are important issues for process plants today.

The event fused seminars, informa tion sessions and application displays at the event, held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Close to 200 existing and potential customers gathered to hear new product informa tion and company updates from repre sentatives such as vice president and general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Tom Diederich.

A key topic on Diederich’s agenda was Emerson Process Management’s research and development power. Making up 27 per cent of Emerson, Emerson Process Management is the largest of eight strategic business units which have either been acquired or have grown organically from Emerson’s existing stock.

“After 52 years of consecutive increasing dividends, Emerson has really established its position as a leading inno vator in the last five years. We put a lot of planning and effort in to new and existing products, investing US$750 million in innovation and development last year alone. Today, we have 8,500 people around the world working on developing new products,” he said.

Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific headquarters is based in Singapore, with a presence in all major Australian cities. The business’s product portfolio includes: measurement solutions; valves and regulators; and systems, solutions and services.

The firm’s process control offer ings are designed to fit in to the Emerson PlantWeb architecture which utilises intelligence embedded in field devices to maximise the performance of the plant. Emerson Process Management supports the WirelessHART communi cation standard and offers a range of wireless transmitters and field devices.

A new wireless product, the Smart Wireless THUM Adaptor, was launched officially at the conference. Designed to unlock the wireless potential of existing field devices, the THUM is a small wire less transmitter — about the size of an adult male’s thumb — that plugs in to HART devices and unlocks diagnostic and process information that is essen tially ‘trapped’ in the devices. The THUM Adaptor works on a ‘power- scavenging’ principle, meaning it doesn’t require an internal battery.

According to Emerson Process Management vice president Asia Pacific, Shaun Taylor, who also spoke at the conference, there are two key benefits of wireless process technology.

“Some people think wireless tech nology is just about saving wiring costs. This is a huge benefit of wireless devices, considering a single wireless gateway can replace tens of wired I/Os. But just as importantly, wireless technology allows you to keep your personnel from having to access areas of the plant that are harsh or too remote,” he said.

According to Taylor, BP has already used the THUM successfully to monitor its wellheads, allowing it to minimise delays and manual operation.

Another important issue arising from the conference was the topic of ‘human- centred design’, which Taylor said is a big focus for Emerson Process Management for the next few years.

“Products should be easy-to-learn, easy-to-use and require little or no atten tion at plant level. We have opened a Human Centred Design Centre of Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, which is currently acting as a research and testing centre for new Emerson Process Management products. The centre will work closely with many of our product development teams across the globe to ensure that the principles of Human Centred Design are followed.”

Emerson Process Management vice president marketing and services, Hakan Erdamar, covered the importance of the company’s Safety Instrumented System (SIS), which offers more system uptime, safety integrity and architectural flexi bility than traditional safety instru mented systems, he said.

“A system that is able to utilise device diagnostics in a shutdown decision is clearly going to provide higher avail ability while maintaining the required safety level,” he said.

Erdamar also explained how wireless technology can contribute towards personnel and asset safety in large plant complexes. “We can monitor machine health and personnel location using a combination of RFID tracking and wireless technology. We can also use these technologies to control the envi ronmental impact of the plant, by monitoring emissions and controlling waste.”

The event concluded with a trade- show style exhibition that brought together expert product managers and the entire range of Emerson Process Management solutions.

The Brisbane leg of Emerson Process Management’s ‘Performance Without Compromise’ seminar was the second last stop in the series of events which travelled through Asia and Australia throughout August and September.

Look out for the December issue of PACE magazine, which will feature an exclusive application story from Emerson Process Management customer, Neumann Petroleum. Neumann has recently installed a complete Emerson monitoring and safety system including a radar tank level measurement system and a WirelessHART safety and alarming solution.

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