Manufacturers and producers can improve safety, reliability and efficiency by applying additional sensors, analytics and experts. Difficulties in installation have held back these improvements, but the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies have significantly reduced these barriers.
One example of IIoT in action is featured in a Valve magazine article, Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet.
Emerson’s Jonas Berge opens the article:
Most valve end users are already using smart valve positioners on some control valves, but they may not have time to check the valve diagnostics software to notice if any valves are developing problems. Imagine instead simply getting a weekly report listing which valves need attention.
Jonas explains that the Industrial Internet of Things opens the ability to get these diagnostics into the right hands wherever the valve experts are located. These could be in-house valve experts, perhaps located remotely, or provided as a service by the valve supplier.
Jonas describes a step-by-step approach:
The first several steps do not connect to the internet, which means the instrumentation and controls (I&C) department can launch an initiative right away. The information technology (IT) department gets involved later, when access across the internet is implemented.
The first step is implement plant-wide digital field communications. If the control system supports digital fieldbus communications, then the intelligent valve positioners can provide the detailed valve diagnostics. If not:
By installing wireless adapters on smart valve positioners, the valve diagnostics also can be accessed across the wireless field network (while control still uses the real-time analog 4-20 mA signal).
Diagnostic data combined with data from the distributed control system (DCS), historian and condition monitoring software form the basis of the data used to analyze abnormal conditions.
The next step is to instrument the plant assets.
If a plant is using fieldbus, the valve positioners are already intelligent, and sensors for condition monitoring of other equipment can be added easily to the same fieldbus networks. If a plant is built on 4-20 mA and on-off signals, valve positioners may not be smart. A good step forward is to modernize all control valves with smart valve positioners, starting with the most critical valves…
Read the article for the next steps including the deployment of on-premise predictive analytics software, reviewing existing work processes, enabling the Internet and applying effective cyber-security measures, and enabling new business models by partnering with supplier experts.