I’ve attended a number of seminars this week, many of them quite good. There were three that really stood out, though, and I’d like to tell you a little about them.
First was the story of what it is like to be an early adopter. In 2004 and 2005, Dow Chemical’s Angus Chemical subsidiary decided to re-instrument their boiler house, using the new ABB System 800xA. Almost immediately, they found that they couldn’t get there from here. ABB’s SIS system wasn’t yet approved, there were products that were promised and not quite deliverable yet, and so forth. They finally decided to go with a Triconex SIS. This, of course, made things difficult, because Triconex does not easily talk to ABB. With typical Dow elan, however, they forged ahead (I don’t know if anybody told them you can’t do these things) and installed a Matrikon OPC Server to pass data back and forth between the System 800 and the Triconex SIS. It worked so well with the first boiler that they quickly did the other two. I hope to bring this story to the pages of Control as part of the Dow Learnings series we are running (Part 2 appears in this month’s [May] issue).
Then there was the case history from Port St. Lucie, Florida’s Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant. Air entrainment, or something else unknown, was making the keyed-DC field magnetic flow meter on the total permeate line (the fresh water output of the RO system) behave badly. They determined that the use of an AC-field magnetic flowmeter would solve the problem, but only if coupled with a significant statistical process control system in the magmeter converter. Works great, will last a long time.
Third was the talk on the SIS Grandfather clause by Angela Summers. Dr. Summers is one of the leading SIS gurus, and is in fact the director of the SP84 Safety Instrumented Systems committee at ISA. She kept a lot of people rapt at a talk that began at 4:30 on an already hectic afternoon. Nice talk.