Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Shift for Process Instrumentation: Solving Process Control Problems with Cloud-Based Solutions - Part 1

This two-part article delves into the recent trends in the use of cloud-based tools to help engineers improve their application validation, improve their diagnostic selection of instrumentation, and improve device commissioning.

In the industrial sector, capable engineers are retiring from the workforce and manufacturing companies are being forced to accomplish their work with fewer experienced employees. At the same time, as always, there continues to be the need to reduce maintenance costs and operating costs. Companies are looking for new answers and solutions to optimize project results – to track performance, monitoring, and reliability of process instrumentation.

Cloud-based application and validation tools are currently assisting in:
  • Confirming the correct technology fit.
  • Configuring the correct device so the manufacturer can deliver a pre-engineered and ready for installation product. 
Engineers and other factory personnel can input data via a smart phone, or a laptop computer so they can have their specific requirements recorded. In addition, collaboration with other team members is possible, through the cloud, to determine the optimum set up for the project devices to streamline engineering decisions (and to avoid expensive mistakes upfront in the project). Information in the cloud may also be equipped for instant duplication, so projects that have many identical device configurations can be rapidly repeated.

Using a cloud-based approach improves success in installing large numbers of new field instruments, which is common for unit expansion. Other benefits of adapting cloud-based services for prices control include:
  • A convenient way to share and collaborate in real-time. Multiple users can visualize the transmitter configuration though a link. This saves staff time and reduces travel time for support people. 
  • If a beginning user has an underdeveloped knowledge of the application, the cloud can provide readily accessible information such as compatibility charts, specification sheets, code requirements, etc … . 
  • Generation of a standard data sheet so engineers don't have to spend as much time on data entry. The data sheet can be stored to support the user's necessary documentation and audit trail. 
The paradigm for instrumentation setup is changing dramatically. Cloud-based solutions and engineering tools are helping to optimize manufacturing operations and carry out capital projects as cost effectively, efficiently, and as rapidly as possible.

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