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N Denbow

Nick Denbow, Editor, Processing Talk, writes:
Last week saw three days of the Emerson sponsored Manufacturing Excellence Conference. In its sixth year it has matured into a balanced event, a real process industry forum for discussion and learning, with the presentations discussing experience of operational benefits from modern automation systems, rather than just presenting the potential and planned savings from new installations.
This came from active participation by co-sponsors Huntsman and BASF, plus several papers contributed by BP and HSE. By definition, reporting fully on a conference with 5 parallel streams is difficult for one person. many of the excellent presentations will be reported in the coming weeks on Processingtalk.
At Huntsman Petrochemicals the use of Curvaceous Software 16 dimensional mapping and data mining techniques, extracting data from the DeltaV controlled plant, enabled the process engineers to test out their theories of how the plant actually should be driven to get the best productivity. This led to some interesting results - and changed long-held theories about how to run the plant.
BASF presented some results on how a Utilities plant test installation of proactive maintenance using intelligent instruments to give maintenance alerts via Foundation Fieldbus and AMS software systems, which then triggers maintenance orders direct via the BASF SAP system. After a year in operation it has proved itself effective, and this month sees the extension of the technique across other parts of their Seal Sands site.
Bowman Consulting continued the maintenance theme - describing an electronic/software package that automates 'Permits to work' on site at Huntsman Polyurethanes. A simple approach that appears to have been quickly accepted by the operational staff, and that has produced good results.
Hazards from maintenance laptops, upgrades and modem access were highlighted by PA Consulting, presenting to a packed audience eager to hear about 'Cyber attacks' on control systems. Now apparently a fashionable target, the audience were no doubt worried that they should be worried. It was an excellent review - and everyone left looking even more worried.
Many of the presentations were supported by Exhibition stands in the buffet area: the main hall. This had small companies, Universities, and several new ideas on offer. The mixing of people - Exhibitors, audience and presenters was enough to give everyone something positive to take away. The stories from ME will be presented on Processingtalk as they come through - so look out for them.
Meanwhile the format now established by ME continues at the Profibus International Conference this week, and at future ME events, planned for Ireland and Germany in the coming winter.

Press Story on this page in Processing Talk.
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Manufacturing Excellence is a collaborative venture between Huntsman International, Aker Kvaerner, Emerson Process Management, the IEE and BASF, supported by the ISA England section, to enable process engineers and plant managers to benefit from shared experience of modern automation techniques. Other invited speakers are from such companies as Astra Zeneca, BP Amoco Chemicals, Brunner Mond, INEOS Chlor, Associated Octel and Shell Global Solutions. The conference was held at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club in Warwickshire, near the NEC.

For the past six years Emerson Process Management and various companion companies have sponsored the Manufacturing Excellence conferences in Britain and Ireland. They have held them at various venues from Teeside in the north east of England to Cork in the deep south of Ireland. The formula has been so successful that it has been adapted and applied to mainland Europe and the United States, where it is called Emerson Exchange.

The next event in this series will be the Emerson Exchange in Dallas, Texas, US from 25th to 29th October. European conferences are scheduled for Germany (January 2005) and Ireland (2005) and another one in Britain also in 2005. Venues for the European events will be announced later.

Manufacturing Excellence 2004

Birmingham, England

15th - 17th June 2004

Process Industry Experience in Automation Discussed at Manufacturing Excellence Conference in June

Conference Report

The latest Manufacturing Excellence has just finished a successful convocation in the heart of the English countryside in rural Warwickshire. This "essential conference for operations, engineering and maintenance managers in their process industries" was a joint venture with Emerson,, Huntsmannn, Aker Kverner, BASF and the IEE.

As always the event started with a series seven one day intensive training sessions on the Tuesday. These courses ranged from the basic "Introduction to process control" to the topic "A day in the life of the Plant-Asset Opitimisation." These courses were very well attended.

The main conference started on the Wednesday with a keynote talk on "Working together - Collaboration and Innovation," where Paul Sharratt of UMIST talked about something that is sometimes missing in modern companies, the culture of sharing. Especially in this age of mergers and acquisition the existance of corporate amnesia is unfortunately very common. Companies often repeat mistakes.

It was impossible to attend all the interesting talks so we won't attempt to do so but merely give a brief flavour of some of the talks.

Clive Timms of Asset Integrity Management talked the pain and gain of the safety standards IEC 61508 & 61511. There are many misconceptions about what the costs and implications in a plant are but these may not be as frightening as first envisaged and profits can be added to by compliance.

Traditionally the three areas of Acquisition Systems, Control Systems and Safety Systems have largely occupied three quite separate markets. However in more recent times developments have tended to bring them closer together. So that the modern integrated system ought to be open, distributed and encompassing acquisition, control and safety. This was the topic addressed by industry innovator Prof George Turnbull of Open Automation & Control.

In the first of two talks, Harvey Deardon {Time Domain Solutions (TDS)} asked "Who's afraid of IEC 61508?" In the course of this talk he pointed out that recasting of established good practice will largle address IEC 61508 issues. "No need tp rip it out and start all over again."

"What should the vendors do next?" was the provocative question from Rob Lewis of BP Amoco Chemicals. He maintained that the ability of I&C vendors to invent new functionality probably exceeds the appetite of the end user community to adopt them.

Wayne Barnacal (A great surname for somebody addressing a conference on Bloomsday!) from Huntsman Tioxide spoke about the engineer as saviour of the world. Everything that we do has some input from the engineer yet they are often overlooked in favour of the more fashionable accountants and bureaucrats.

A small (?) number of delegates opted for viewing a recording of the 1963 heavyweight boxing match between Cassius Clay and Henry Cooper in which the British legend knocked down the "greatest". What this had to do with manufacturing excellence is difficult to work out but it certainly prepared us for the dinner and networking that night which was addressed by Sir Henry Cooper and at which a sizeable collection was taken up for cancer research.

The second day started with a keynote speech from Erik Britton of Oxford Economic Forcasting when he discussd the economic situation in the UK in comparison with that of the rest of Europe and the world, reasons for its good performance and what its weaknesses perceived and actual. This was a very interesting and unusual contribution to such a conference.

The second talk from Harvey Deardon of TDS told us how to look like a hero in our process plant. Here he looked somewhat whimsically at the project rules to be followed and the pitfalls to be avoided.

One of the most pressing hazards facing modern industry is the question of cyber security. We were particularly interested in this - see our CyberSafe page - and Justin Lowe of the PA Consulting Group did not disappoint. He pointed how process control systems are at risk from cyber atteck and outlined a generic approach to managing these security risks. This approach has been proven recently in a major global energy company. He suggested that we look at their web pages on this topic. (

Clive Wilby, of BASF IT Servicesdiscussed the costs and issues resulting from poor document and records management, making the case for electronic document management and configuration management as a means of maintaining the document asset up-to-date. (See also our 21 CFR Part 11 page).

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