Honeywell’s wireless future

HONEYWELL, with the release of its OneWireless Adapter, says manufacturers will be able to improve plant efficiency by converting HART field devices into devices that can transmit data over an ISA100.11a-compliant wireless network.

Honeywell claims that by improving the flow of information, plant operators can be equipped with the data they need to make the right decisions at the right time.

The OneWireless Adapter also ensures all the required important data can be harvested from equipment, boosting adherence to protocols, procedures and workplace safety.

PACE Today talked to Rohit Wariyar, Honeywell Process Solutions’ Asia Pacific Director of Strategy & Business Development about the OneWireless Adapter.

According to Wariyar, the OneWireless Adapter is notable for the ISA100.11a compliance, which, he says, was driven by customer requests.

“The OneWireless Adapter communicates over the ISA 100.11a compliant network, and communicates directly back to the OneWireless network,” said Wariyar. “This effectively turns any hardwired devices into a OneWireless wireless device.”

This move by Honeywell jells with the overall trend within the process industry toward wireless.

“[With wireless], we can put in devices where wired devices cannot go, whether because of cabling costs or because the site is just too difficult to put a wired device in,” Wariyar said.

“A number of different benefits from having the wireless devices out there always go back to cost savings from the wired side and the labour side, especially in Australia where you have high resource costs.”

Of course, equipment upgrades always  involve a degree of initial investment. According to Wariyar, Honeywell’s commitment to wireless means once a facility is wireless-enabled, further interoperability and optimisations become possible.

“[Wireless will enable] work force mobility solutions, where you can have an operator walk around the plant with the tablet PC, getting all the information on the floor instead of being at the control room,” Wariyar told PACE Today.

But wireless is not just a fancy upgrade on wired communications for Honeywell.

“We are focusing on how to create a solutions environment, rather than just using wireless as a replacement for transmitters,” Wariyar explained. “At Honeywell we see the future being wireless enabling the plant or site to do things that wired communications cannot do.”

But are wireless solutions ready for the big-time game of control within plants?

Wariyar acknowledges wireless faces a perception problem in regard to its robustness. The control capabilities are there within the ISA100.11a specification, but Honeywell is making progress in demonstrating to the mature markets like Australia, Korea, Japan and Singapore that wireless devices are as robust as any of the old wired devices.

For now, though, wireless is seeing an increased uptake in upcoming projects, and its improved data gathering capabilities are used during upgrades of oil and gas brown field sites to pull necessary data back into the system to make the plant run more efficiently, allow for better resource utilisation, and boost safety.

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