Emerson Automation Experts - Connecting with the People behind the Technologies and Expertise - Emerson Automation Experts

Hardening Supply Chain Cybersecurity

The SANS Institute provides information security training and security certification for security professionals. They hold an ICS (Industrial Control System) Security Summit each year.

At the 2019 ICS Security Summit, Emerson’s David Foose presented Practical Solutions to Supply Chain Attacks. The focus of his talk was on the supply chain in terms of software and networks.

David explored various attacks on supply chains in industrial control systems and other industries that have occurred over the last few years and how Emerson and other suppliers can work with end users.

David shares several examples of supply chain attacks in the recent years. One is where cyber attackers broke into a supplier’s website editor and replaced download files and their associated security hashes with files that compromised programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Having the hash as a security measure to verify that the file had not been tampered with, didn’t work because hashes were also created for the compromised files. Continue Reading

Helping Hands for Your Valves

Imagine you have been tweaking and tuning one of your control loops and have the perfect PID [proportional-integral-derivative] settings. Everything is working great for several months until it isn’t. Chances are that it’s the part of that loop doing all the manual work to keep the process running smoothly—the control valve. A poorly performing control loop can cause increased variability, increased probabilities for unplanned shutdowns/slowdowns, decreased quality—driving down overall operational performance.

Technology has advanced to help you avoid these valve issues leading to lower performance. But unless someone is paying attention to what the monitoring applications are finding, early problem-solving opportunities may be missed.

In an earlier post, Adding Experts in Valve Condition Monitoring, I highlighted an article by Emerson’s Fabrice Hoenig on supplementing the valve condition monitoring technology with experts. These remote experts could make sure these valve problems are spotted, recommendations communicated, and addressed locally on-site before it affects the process.

As one of the elements in the Plantweb digital ecosystem, Valve Condition Monitoring connects a global network of Emerson certified valve analysts to gather, analyze, and interpret data from your valves, and other assets. The valves, equipped with advanced technology such as Fisher FIELDVUE DVC6200 digital valve controllers, and operational analytics tools such as ValveLink software, are turned into data-driven, actionable recommendations by the analysts. Continue Reading

Production Accounting and Mass Balance Performance Management

Reliable, accurate flow measurements are at the heart of excellence in production accounting and mass balances for chemical and hydrocarbon processing facilities. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are only as good as the data that feeds them.

Next Tuesday, February 18 at 2pm CST (UTC -6), Emerson’s Julie Valentine will join Pimsoft’s Sigmafine meter performance management webinar to discuss Emerson’s and Pimsoft’s best practices and solutions for reducing uncertainties and improving data reconciliation and mass balance measurement systems. Register here.

For producers in the downstream industries, critical measurement systems include custody transfer, blending, process unit yields and process heater performance. Improving the performance of these critical measurements helps to reduce losses, improve cost control, increase productivity & yields, and enable predictive, condition-based maintenance for the meters. Continue Reading

Biopharmaceutical Product and Process Knowledge Management

The American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), a world-leading authority in knowledge management (KM), defines KM:

The application of a structured process to help information and knowledge flow to the right people at the right time so they can act more efficiently and effectively to find, understand, share, and use knowledge to create value.

For biopharmaceutical producers, creating value from the knowledge capture and dissemination is paramount. At the upcoming February 23-26 IFPAC [International Foundation Process Analytical Chemistry] conference, Emerson’s Michalle Adkins will present on the impact of KM in product and process development for biopharmaceutical manufacturers.

She will discuss some of the large barriers in successfully executing KM practices. These include traditional organizational silos, massive quantities of data, manual handoffs & workflows, disparate systems and more.

Technology is advancing to offer some capabilities to address these barriers. One example Michalle will discuss is how digital blueprinting of the lifecycle can be used for KM and regulatory compliance. Other technology advancements are in the areas of analytical insights/process analytic technology (PAT), greater recipe flexibility, recipe transfer across product development lifecycle, and easily added plug-and-play sensors and analyzers.

Common KM tools include communities & networks, content management, effective taxonomies, lessons learned, expertise location, and knowledge transfer & retention through knowledge mapping. Knowledge mapping is a method to measure the flow of knowledge within a process and helps identify what is tacit versus explicit knowledge. Continue Reading

ISASecure Family of Certifications Builds Foundation for Automation Cybersecurity

Authors: Emerson’s Alexandre Peixoto, International Society of Automation (ISA)’s Andre Ristaino

Selecting, engineering, implementing, and operating a control system is a significant, long-term investment. Applying a defense-in-depth strategy to protect the process from cybersecurity risks is another significant, long-term investment that can be made more complicated if the inherent security features of the control system are not strong.

Emerging cybersecurity standards can help project personnel recognize process control systems that are cybersecure-ready. Working with automation suppliers and their customers, the International Society of Automation (ISA) developed the ANSI/ISA 62443 family of standards (the International Electrotechnical Commission standardized them internationally as IEC 62443 standards) to guide end users (or asset owners) in the best-practice application of cybersecurity principles and in choosing the control system possessing the features and functionality that help make it ready to be defendable against cyberattacks.

ISA has also established a cybersecurity conformity assessment program under the ISASecure brand that certifies commercial off the shelf (COTS) product security capabilities to the ISA/IEC 62443 standards. Continue Reading