Last updateMon, 12 Nov 2018 5pm



Cybersecurity for Process Control

Security for any process plant has always been an issue. Before there was connectivity, there were threats of physical damage, and then the security of data from physical attacks. However, there had to be actual physical access to a device or hard copy of information.

Now, hackers can remotely access one device and take over an entire eco-system. According to Sean Peasley of Deloitte in a presentation at VMA’s 2018 Market Outlook Workshop, this is partly due to the fact that the internet was not built with security in mind; it was built for speed and availability.

Peasley noted that one-third of enterprises report using the Internet of Things (IoT), with another third planning to do so, primarily to enable predictive maintenance and to track asset condition and operating performance. Close to 50% of manufacturers use mobile apps to do this, and 75% of manufacturers use Wi-Fi networks to transmit data to/from connected products. Many companies even use sensor-equipped wearables to ensure worker safety and improve labor efficiency and utilization.

Carbon Capture and Storage: Why and How?

Carbon (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) is a series of processes targeted at reducing CO2 emissions from industrial processes, thereby preventing large amounts of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. The CCS chain in recent years has been expanded to carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS). This has given large industry emitters the benefit of possible utilization of CO2 to positively influence their cash flow.

Some of the large industrial sources of CO2 emission are highlighted below and include crude oil production and refining, natural gas production and processing, combustion process plants like power plants, and manufacturing industries including, but not limited to, iron and steel production, aluminium production, chemical industry stone and clay industry (which includes cement and the pulp and paper industry). CO2 emissions can come from both their process/technology unit and heat generation units.

Can Valves Mitigate Flooding from Severe Weather Events

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have certainly been a test for infrastructure, and while flooding seems inevitable under such extreme conditions, there are valuable lessons to be learned from these two storms.


The biggest concern for people outside the affected area following Hurricane Harvey’s assault on the Houston area was the disruption in supply of gasoline and resulting high prices. Approximately one-sixth of total pipeline mileage in the U.S. is in Texas. Many of those pipelines start or end on the Gulf Coast, where about 35 major refineries are located.

Machine Learning: A Brave New World

Whether you embrace it as a way to more safely and accurately control processes, or fear it as a threat to human employment, machine learning (ML) is one of the hottest topics in computer programming today. It is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software applications to become more accurate in predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed.

Data is the fuel that feeds machine learning. The basic premise is that computers learn by building algorithms that can receive input data and use statistical analysis to predict outcome.

Remote Monitoring of Cooling Towers and Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

Advances in wireless technology have made remote monitoring of process equipment and systems much easier and less expensive than previously thought possible. As a result, many segments in process plants, power stations and production fields are monitored continuously, reducing shutdowns and the possibility for accidents while increasing efficiency and production. However, not all systems are monitored equally.

This article, based in part on a presentation by Mark Murphy of Fluor and Melissa Toten and Ed Sanders from Emerson at the 2016 Emerson Exchange*, relates how cooling towers and air-cooled heat exchangers can benefit from remote monitoring, which reduces life cycle cost and increases safety.

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