Friday, December 7, 2007

Your Wish List

I was told by some very smart folks to try and update my blog at least twice a week – boy have I blown that! Funny how project work and the holidays can get you off track.

So speaking of holidays, I thought I’d turn the tables and ask the process control community, especially the DeltaV users out there, what enhancement presents they’d like to see under the tree?

We’ve been generating a lot of validation support documents lately, so I’m hoping Santa brings me some new tools inside DeltaV Explorer that would help drastically reduce the effort.

What enhancements would you like? Forget the letters to the North Pole – just post a reply here and I’ll make sure Santa gets the message.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Technology Forum in RTP

On October 3rd and 4th, we hosted our first Carolinas Life Science Technology Forum at the Sheraton Imperial in RTP.

We had a great turnout and even hosted an open house at the RE Mason RTP office Wednesday evening. Over 20 workshops were held and one of the highlights was a talk from Joydeep Ganguly of Biogen Idec entitled “PAT from a Users Perspective”.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mobile PantWeb Hits the Road

Check out the pics below – this new tool to help demonstrate Emerson’s Plant Web functionality is being put through its paces at REM Services, Inc. The Plant Web Mobile Demo was constructed in St. Louis by FabCon and rides in a specially modified panel truck. The unit will be used to train Emerson and Emerson Local Business Partner personnel in the Southeast region of the US. A limited number of customer demonstrations and shows will be scheduled over the next few months so watch the highways and byways of the Carolinas to catch a glimpse of this beauty.

All devices are installed and configured to demonstrate Plant Web Alert functionality using a DeltaV Scalable Process System and AMS Intelligent Device manager.

Larry Wolfe of REM Services gave me a tour inside and out, along with a test drive – this thing is way cool.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Massive ARRAY Storage In DeltaV

OK, I'll admit I'm old school, but I sure did like global registers back in my PROVOX days. And I've longed for them in DeltaV for a while. In fact, I did something about it.

While the ARRAY parameter type is OK in DeltaV, it really lacks the size offered by PROVOX global registers (rows x columns <= 255 and rows <= 127). So I’ve created something I call the Enhanced Array Parameter composite or EAP. With the EAP, you get 10,000 floating point addressable storage locations in a single, easy to interface linked composite you can drop into any DeltaV module.

Right now, it’s more of a flat file storage option (like the global registers), but I’m wanting to turn it into a 100 x 100 array – who knows, maybe I can even build in some matrix math.

The EAP is available now from REM Services as a licensable product – drop me a note if you’re interested. I’d also be interested in any opinions on matrices and matrix math in a DeltaV module – is it worth the effort or a waste of time?

Monday, September 17, 2007

PCA and DeltaV

Emerson just held their annual Global User Exchange in Dallas, TX. The event is getting bigger every year, which means, unfortunately, it’s getting harder to find the gems of take-away information.

One of the outstanding presentations was a joint workshop between Emerson and Lubrizol on their work with Principle Components Analysis (PCA) in batch processes entitled “Coupling Process Control Systems and Process Analytics to Improve Batch Operations”.

Robert Wojewodka of Lubrizol gave the best non-technical analogy of PCA I’ve ever seen. If you were in attendance, be sure and take a look at the PowerPoint supplied at the conference. If you didn’t make it, find someone who did and get a copy.

The results will be presented next year on trials they have planned for this winter in France, so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Always Know Your Datalink Counts

Here's an interesting tidbit I got from Scott Thompson of REM Services - to make sure you always get the Datalink count dialog box when you save changes to a graphic display in DeltaV Operate configure mode:

  • Go to frsVariables -> misc_glb -> gb_AlwaysShowDatalinkCount parameter
  • Right-click on the parameter and select Property Window
  • Edit the Current and InitialValue fields to be True
  • Save the frsvariables by doing a right-click on frsvariables and selecting Save

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Customizing DeltaV Overview Display Selection

Brian Church, of REM Services, dug around compiling how-to's for having a different overview screen for each DeltaV Operator station.

Turns out it's version specific -

In versions 7.x and before, you need VB code in the user settings file similar to this:

if frsVariables.gs_wsName.currentvalue = "WS1" then
frsVariables.gs_overview_main.currentvalue = "OVW1"
if frsVariables.gs_wsName.currentvalue = "WS2" then
frsVariables.gs_overview_main.currentvalue = "OVW2"
frsVariables.gs_overview_main.currentvalue = "OVW3"
end if
end if

In versions 8.x and above, you can have different user settings files for each workstation, so all that VB code is unnecessary.

Thanks, Brian!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Class Based Modules and Expression References

Here's an important safety tip - when you're creating a class-based control module and you include a function block that uses structured text (CALC, CND, ACTION) and you check the box labeled "Allow instance expression to be configured", all parameter references have to be external.

For example, if you've got a CALC and you'd like to tie the OUT1 to IN1 for an instance of a module class:

You'll get this error message when you try and save your expression:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Archiving Misbehavinig Batches

Well, here's something I just learned - if you're having a hard time archiving some of your batches in your DeltaV Batch Historian, it could be because the deactive time and endtime are still in the year 2035. Here's how to fix them:

While logged on to the Batch Historian App Station:

  1. Start -> Run -> type: cmd
  2. At the MS-DOS prompt, go to C:\DeltaV\bin
  3. At the C:\DeltaV\bin> prompt, type: dvhadmin /fixbatch , where is the Batch ID in question
  4. You should get the following message: COMMANDS COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY!
  5. Open SQL Enterprise Manager, and check if the endtime and deactivate time of the batch have changed. NOTE: You may need to refresh SQL in order to update the values.
  6. Go to DeltaV Batch Historian Administration Interface, and you should now be able to archive the batch.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Great Quote

I wish I could say this was an original quote, but I'm happy to attribute it to Emil Churzak, contributing editor of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (pardon the paraphrasing). It's a profound statement, and it really hits home for me in both the way we go to market with control system solutions and our palette of goodies available for solving control issues.
"If the only tool in your tool belt is a hammer, all your problems resemble nails"

Welcome to my Blog!

I've wanted to do this for a while now, and technology has made this so easy, I've decided to give it a try.

I've spent 25 plus years in the process control industry, almost entirely focused on Batch Process Control. I've seen the transition from a 'free for all' methodology to the development of the S88 and S95 standards. Mainly focused in the Emerson PROVOX and DeltaV products, I've got plenty to say - so I hope you enjoy!