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Cybersecurity Attacks and Defenses

As analytics continues to turn the vast and growing sea of digital data into useful information, the need for strong cybersecurity also grows. In a CIO Applications article, Addressing the Complex Cyber Security Needs of Digital Manufacturing, Emerson’s Bob Karschnia highlights the collaboration between suppliers and end users to maintain an effective defensive cybersecurity strategy.

CIO Applications: Addressing the Complex Cyber Security Needs of Digital ManufacturingBob opens noting points of vulnerability where industrial wireless networks connect into wired systems. Security considerations must include an end-to-end holistic view of these data handoff points. He explains that security may be applied differently by different suppliers and ultimate responsibility:

…falls to the network managers to review specifications and practices carefully as they implement digital manufacturing projects.

He highlights the common cybersecurity attack vectors:

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Digital Transformation in Personnel Safety

Wireless instrumentation for industrial use has been with us for more than a decade. The extra sensing devices are being used to improve performance in reliability, efficiency and overall production. But how about personnel safety?

It’s critical to know the location of plant personnel in times of abnormal situations or even in normal situations, such as being properly trained for the current location.

The Plantweb digital ecosystem includes a scalable range of technologies, applications and services. One of these solutions, Location Awareness provides real-time, safety-focused monitoring of plant personnel.

In this quick, 1:40 video, Enabling Safer Facilities and Safeguarding Personnel with Location Awareness Technology, Emerson’s Amanda Alexander describes how this new location solution uses WirelessHART anchors and tags to digitally transform personnel safety initiatives in industrial facilities.

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Cybersecurity Considerations in Safety Instrumented System Architectures

Safety instrumented systems (SIS), which are designed to take the process to a safe state in trip conditions, come in several architectures with the basic process control system (BPCS). The SIS and BPCS can be totally separate, interfaced or integrated, yet separate. While the debate on which approach is best has been going on for a long time, what are they cybersecurity considerations of these architecture choices?

Control Engineering: Sustainable cybersecurity architecture for safety instrumented systemsIn a Control Engineering article, Sustainable cybersecurity architecture for safety instrumented systems, Emerson’s Sergio Diaz and Alexandre Peixoto explore these considerations.

They open noting that all architectures can be made more cyber-secure.

It is possible to deliver successful, hardened systems using an interfaced or integrated SIS architecture within the constraints of international cybersecurity standards such as International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) 62443 (ANSI/ISA 62443 family of standards) and/or local recommendations, such as the User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR) guidelines.

They describe 3 zones—Core SIS, Extended SIS, Peripherals (control system architecture)—in the NAMUR guidelines. These are similar guidelines to the ISA 62443 standard.

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Automation Innovations for Arctic Oil and Gas Producers

As we approach the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, it is around-the-clock daylight for oil and gas producers in Alaska’s Arctic region. This situation flips to months of darkness around the winter solstice. These conditions and others pose challenges for these producers.

In an Alaska Business magazine article, New Methods of Tackling Old Problems, Emerson’s Chris Amstutz joins other suppliers in describing how advancing automation technology can help address these challenges.

Chris notes:

“New small- to mid-cap operators are more proactive in their usage of new technology and their desire to try new ways of tackling the [Arctic] region’s challenges… The more entrenched players are also adopting new technologies, but they’re forced to deal with aging facilities and infrastructure and the cost structures associated with older assets.”

He describes an example of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based sensors and cloud-based applications improve performance. Continue Reading

Improving Refining Agility, Reliability and Collaboration

Petroleum Review: Future-proofing refiningProduction agility is an increasing objective among refiners and petrochemical producers. Changing characteristics of feedstocks and demand for produced products is forcing these companies to look for solutions to increase operational flexibility.

In a Petroleum Review article, Future-proofing refining (membership required for access), Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo shares his insights on how transformative digital technologies improve agility and overall business performance.

In the article’s opening, Marcelo is quoted:

The smart refinery offers better collaboration between different groups in the refinery [which previously operated in silos] and third parties, for optimisation of production planning, operations, maintenance and quality management…

He describes three operational and business goals commonly shared by refiners and petrochemical producers—agility, reliability, and shared intelligence and collaboration.

Agility is defined in terms of switching production mixes between produced fuels to respond to market demands and opportunities. Marcelo explains:

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