Plant Engineering March 2014-PE : Page-55

Big Data deployment In the rush to deliver on the promise of “Big Data” in manufacturing, manufacturers need to be aware of the need to keep operators in mind as well. “Throwing more data at them isn’t the solution. You have to help them make the right decision,” said Grant Wilson, VP of research and development for Emerson Process Management. In bridging the gap between bridging quality and control in data management, Wilson cited three key ways to make it work: 1. Get operators involved from the start. “Have to give the operators the data for them to take action on it,” Wilson said. 2. The effective use of embedded technologies 3. Make use of data capture in the historian to understand what the best-case scenarios are. Wilson also cited five benefits to such a process: 1. Better process insights 2. Improved production performance 3. Enhanced operator effectiveness 4. Supports continuous improvement programs 5. Fostering process and business operation integration KEYWORD: DATA DECISIONS Understanding flash steam Flash steam is low-pressure steam created when hot water is released from a high pressure to a lower pressure within a steam system. For example, it can be released through a steam trap or from boiler blowdown. Steam tables show that when steam condenses, around 25% of its heat remains in the condensate. With the right flash steam recovery system, around half of this heat can be recovered as flash steam. There are three basic requirements for a site to be a viable candidate for effective flash steam recovery: 1. There must be sufficient high pressure condensate to release enough flash steam to make recovery economically effective. 2. There must be a suitable low pressure application for the recovered flash steam. 3. The application for the flash steam should be reasonably close to the high pressure condensate source. Piping for low-pressure steam is relatively large and can be costly to install in long runs. —Source: Spirax Sarco Steam News KEYWORD: FLASH STEAM Steam audit shows room for improvement Expansion can be a mixed bag. With the satisfaction of increased production and revenues often come the headaches of rate limiting process stages and capacity ceilings. Such was the case at a North Carolina dairy operation, where growth had served to highlight serious deficiencies in the facility’s steam operations. The dairy operated one 200-hp boiler, which could normally handle the load, yet was approaching capacity. An audit by Spirax Sarco showed excessive costs, especially boiler treatment chemicals, fuel and water. The first task was to reduce makeup water by returning condensate before looking at upsizing the boiler. Some heat exchangers (HEs) had traps that dumped straight to drain, not returning condensate back to the boiler. Other HEs had small float and thermostat (F&T) traps on the coil outlet, with a 10-ft head to discharge, making the HE operate inefficiently in a “stall” condition. The only condensate return pumps were small, vented cast iron electric pumps. With the large head, these pumps cavitated frequently, exhibiting short life-spans and causing maintenance burdens. KEYWORD: STEAM AUDIT www.plantengineering.com Growing the ‘Internet of Things’ The manufacturing sector has traditionally implemented a range of wired networks to automate plant floor operations. However, emerging machine-to-machine (M2M) systems such as short-range wireless and long-range cellular networks are evolving into choice solutions for factories of the future. M2M systems can supplement or replace wired networks to enable advanced robotics and enterprise mobility on the plant floor, enabling convenient connectivity in inaccessible areas, communication across barriers, and simplified installation based on wireless local area, wide area, and sensor networks. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, M2M Communication in Manufacturing, finds that telecommunication companies (telcos) will be an important stakeholder in the provision of M2M solutions and the growth of the Internet of Things in the manufacturing sector. “Telcos’ ability to offer enterprise-grade communication services integrated with plant-level communications is critical to reliable plant-level operations,” said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies research analyst Shuba Ramkumar. “Existing partner networks can also be leveraged to provide end-to-end services, including network implementation, provision of applications, and data analytics.” KEYWORD: M2M MANUFACTURING p lant e ngineering March 2014 • 55

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